This time last Friday following a phone call from the Cancer Centre, we thought we would be spending the day in Oxford on a tour of various hospital departments, organised by the Clinical Trials Unit so that Steve could have the various tests needed to see whether he is eligible for the VanSel1 drug trial.
Today, we weren't quite sure where we were going as the driver of the No 4 bus (which should have taken us to the hospital) lost the plot and went off route, much to the consternation of passengers...ourselves included! However, we did eventually get back on track and arrived at the hospital on time for Steve's appointment at the Clinical Trials Unit.
We had been told that Steve would be having a whole array of tests today, with the aim of starting the drug trial next week if all is well. However, it proved impossible to get a CT scan slot today. As a result, everything has been shunted back a week before we've even started - always assuming, of course, that Steve "passes" the tests.
However, it was a good opportunity to meet key members of the team who will be looking after Steve if/when he goes on trial: Julianne, the clinical trial nurse, and Dr Nick, one of the trial doctors. We had already met the other doctor, Dr Ioannis, when we picked up the information sheet last week.
We now know that if the tests are OK, Steve definitely has a place on the trial even though he would be starting a week later than originally planned.
He would be in a new group, Cohort 5B, which means the study has already established that the dosage level in earlier cohorts is well tolerated, without severe side effects. He will be in the first group to get a slightly larger dose of one of the two drugs involved in the trial (both of which have been tested and found safe on their own).
We discussed the side effects and pattern of hospital visits - more about that in a future blog, when we know for sure whether or not he will be taking part.
Appointments now in place for a scan at the end of this week and the rest of the tests next week. We ought to know the results by Friday 31 January and if all OK, the trial will start in early February.
After about an hour and a half of discussion, Steve signed on the dotted line. Consent given. Another small step forward on the next stage of the journey....