Friday, April 14, 2006

6 More Weeks of Velcade

Yes, the visit with Rifkin took place today at 4 p.m. The numbers report: IGGs at 2586, down from 2601. Not impressive; not even deemed responsive; but not upward. The multiple myeloma continues to be stable. The skeletal survey shows no change from 6 months ago, so that is good. Kidney and liver function are OK. I was more worried about the kidney function and a sore right hip. Rifkin attributes the hip pain to arthritis, although he is going to have the xray reexamined to make sure there is no change. No, it's not the bike riding as it started before I bought the bike. Because on the nonresponsiveness, however, I do not qualify for staying on the study for 4 more cycles.

Rifkin gave me the option of continuing with the velcade for 2 more cycles or going to Revlimid. Rifkin has presented papers at national conferences showing that 15% of the people on velcade don't show a response until 6 cycles. Feeling lucky, I chose 2 more cycles of velcade, which Rifkin said he was very comfortable with. Then I asked about using it in conjunction with dexamethasone (a steroid). He agreed that would be a good idea, and he could try the combination as I will no longer be in the study. My first treatment was thalidomide with dexamethasone,and I had a good response; although that combo ultimately put me in the hospital with a myriad of problems. So, the plan is 2 more cycles of velcade, with dexamethasone given IV with each shot of velcade. I felt that I had done my homework today, asked a number of questions, received good answers, and am pleased with the plan going forward. Susan and I both were relieved. Although we would certainly loved to have received news of a big drop in the IGGs, we have had doctor appointments with much worse news. Maybe stability in the numbers is OK after all.

Rifkin was also pleased to hear of my bike riding, saying that one of the goals of treatment is to give people some quality of life during treatment. He asked about work and I told him of my continuing struggles with back pain and memory issues, such that I was not comfortable taking on client's legal matters. (energy is also unpredictable) I taught a class at DU law school a few weeks ago. It was a good "trial run" as after one hour my back was killing me and I was exhausted. So much for that. I guess I'll stick with a leisurely bike ride!

If you didn't see the pictures from Australia, check out the prior posting. Those pictures are, again, compliments of John Sadwith, executive director of Colorado Trial Lawyers. He also provided the pictures from Africa and South America. Talk about being connected! Thank you John.

So, I start the velcade/dexamethasone on Monday and will finish in 6 weeks, likely with a bone marrow biopsy to check the cancer levels. I'll keep you posted if anything interesting happens on my bike rides.


Brett said...

Thanks for the update, Dan. I'm sorry the numbers are not any lower, but am also quite relieved to hear that there are no changes in the scan. And you get to ride your bike in this most amazing weather that we're having! It's the little things, sometimes, that get us through a day.

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,

Yes, me too, I am relieved by your news. As Brett said, the numbers aren't fabulous, but they are down, and that is the main thing. And I am also glad that you are continuing on Velcade, and giving it the full chance it deserves to help you.

We are having a quiet and soothing Easter week. We went to Joe's church last night, and on Maundy Thursday evening we spent two hours at the Cathedral; we had never been there on that day before. It was truly a moving experience. I have witnessed the washing of the feet just once before: the priest had lined up a group of people whose feet he washed; here, two chairs were put on either side of the altar with a small stool with a cushion in front of each chair. First our bishop washed the Dean's feet, then the Dean knelt on the cushion and washed the bishop's feet. And so it continued with whoever wanted to participate. The washing of the feet lasted for about half an hour; during that whole time, no sound, except for the slashing of the water and all of us very soflty singing "Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom" over and over and over again; it was totally mesmerizing. Joe explained to me that this is what one of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus whispered to him at the end. Tonight we are going to the Cathedral for the Easter vigil, and we will both say en extra big prayer for you.

Have a blessed Easter. I love you. Sigun.

Susan Radant said...

You don't know me, but I am Dick Radant's Ex, Susan. I have probably met you in some past function with the guys. I am so glad to see that all the guys could visit you over what sounds like a great weekend. What a powerful thing true friendship is. I told Richard (it's what we call him now) that it's great that men can truly show love and support to one another. He is a true survivor and a great guy. Any way, I will pray for you and continue to check to see how you are doing!!
I will also pray for Wheels that Debbie doesn't wrap any of his new clubs around his neck!!
Take care and get well
Susan Radant