I am now two treatments into the four weekly injections of my second cycle on bortezomib (Velcade) and dexamethasone. So far, so good. The results have arrived from my blood work and it is promising news. My regular blood results are in the normal range (white blood count, red blood count, etc) and the free light chains (indicating the activity level of the multiple myeloma) have dropped from 310 at the beginning of the first cycle to 200 after completing the first cycle. My doctor would like to keep the number under 100 if possible. Still, 200 is much better than the 1600 that it was a year ago and the 700 that it was in January. The Velcade/Dexamethasone mix is, it seems, working. Yay!
The only apparent side effect I have noticed is
fatigue that has hit me on Saturday and carried through to Monday after
each Thursday treatment lately. I sleep soundly and yet find myself
feeling bleary with bags under my eyes. Apparently fatigue is one side effect felt in over thirty percent of those who are on these drugs. Or maybe I
have been fighting a bug. We'll see if it continues. If it does continue
fatigue is not nearly as problematic a side effect as the swings of manic energy and aching fatigue that I
experienced last summer from the high doses of dexamethasone nor the pneumenitis I had in reaction to lenalidomide (Revlimid) in March, so it is manageable. Nonetheless, if I
seem sleepy to you on the weekends you'll know why.
I am appreciating the information that is available online about the current state of treatment for myeloma. Last week there was a very informative video discussion between four doctors attending a myeloma conference in Amsterdam - two from Europe and two from the USA. It is lengthy and fairly detailed but you can always easily skip ahead to the sections that may interest you. It is archived online at the Myeloma.org website - Making Sense of Treatment. I am looking forward to attending an information session on myeloma next Wednesday. It is being sponsored by Myeloma Canada and will feature Dr. Kenneth Anderson who is an expert in the field and comes from Harvard. Keeping up on current treatments for this illness helps me to feel like an active, informed participant in my treatment. It also gives me compassion for my doctors as they try to find the best treatment for a very challenging disease. And it gives me encouragement as this is the first time in history that there have been a variety of drugs that work effectively to manage myeloma. Not to mention it is heartening to know there are new drugs on the verge of being approved for use in treating myeloma (and, by extension amyloidosis - the other disease that is along for the ride in my body).
much for your support and encouragement. I am glad to have good
news to report. Let's hope that this new treatment keeps working for an