Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Still In the Plateau

Apparently the deeper in me they go, the better I look. Even though the IGGs are on the rise, the bone marrow biopsy shows my cancer levels at 10% or less. For a few points of comparison, my last bone marrow biopsy in December 2005 showed my cancer levels at 39% --after transplant, and when I was first diagnosed in March 2005 they were are 67%! This month's skeletal survey also did not reveal any new lesions, only evidence of the old ones which Rifkin says it takes 10 years or more for the body to repair. So what does this mean, you ask? NO CHEMO! I must say that Susan and I were completely taken aback by the news, as the buildup over the last 2 months, with the IGGs rising, the tests increasing, the discussions focusing upon particular types of treatment (remember the 4 drug cocktail?), all lead us to believe the inevitable was upon us. Not so. Rifkin does not want to treat me until he is sure my myeloma is progressing, and at this point he believes I am still in the plateau. He is also quite enthusiastic about a new drug, HSP-90, a heat shock protein treatment, that is a nontoxic chemo treatment. He is involved in the phase III trials for this drug, and he says it holds much promise and would like to use it with me provided it moves through the approval process rapidly. So by the time I see him again in early August, I will be 11 months without treatment. Amazing, truly amazing.

The month to month nature of this life does take its toll, however. I went into somewhat of a depression this weekend in anticipation of the beginning of the chemo wars (rare for me). Susan spent a restless night Sunday night and prayed most of the night while lying in bed contemplating our next rounds of chemo. And in an instant the fears and concerns are erased, ableit temporarily. So while we are delighted with the news, we feel we continue to be in a holding pattern as Rifkin is quite clear treatment will resume at some point.

You bloggers may remember our friends Sigun and Joe Coyle, who often posted from Paris during the past few years. They are here visiting and Sigun prepared one of my favorite meals for Monday night, either to soothe or to celebrate. Well, we had a celebration last night, complete with champagne! We toasted our good fortune for having so many friends and family who have carried us through these rough waters, and to whom we give much credit for my continued existence "in the plateau". Here's to you!