Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Good Doctor

Today I participated (listened) in to a live audio presentation from a professor of medicine/hematologist/oncologist from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. The program was about stem cell transplants in the era of new drug therapies and was sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Without going into the details of the presentation, let me say that there was nothing that I hadn't already talked about with Dr. Rifkin. In fact, a number of the new drug combinations were referred as still being in trials, with results not yet known. I have already been through at least 2 of these trials (the revlimid/velcade/dex combo) and my current maintenance regime. Maintenance regimes are still considered quite novel. Not that I needed reminding but, my doctor is very very good. He is on top of the latest drug trials and has me on the cutting edge of new therapies.

I saw Rifkin on Monday, as a follow up to my pneumonia. The testing actually showed I had influenza 3 with pneumonia. I'm still hacking but definitely feel I'm on the mend. We decided I could handle the chemo this week, so they shot me up with velcade. Some might call it kicking a guy when he's down, but I'm handling it OK. Anyway, I asked Rifkin what was up with his partners who seemed intent on having a plan for me, most likely involving transplant. Rifkin was respectful, but let me know he doesn't think that way and that he has a number of patients who have been on drug therapy for years. His view being that as long as the numbers are holding there is no reason to subject the patient to the trauma of a transplant. He said we could discuss it further at our next visit in a couple of weeks. I am content with where we are and continue to be very grateful that I landed as one of Rifkin's patients. There is a bit of luck in much of what happens to us in this life, no doubt.

Susan returned from Paris tonight, having spent the last 12 days with our friends Sigun and Joe. She had a fabulous time and has become quite comfortable in the City of Light. Sigun and Joe have introduced her to a number of their friends and her annual visits now usually involve a grand dinner party with Sigun and Joe, and now her, Parisian friends. Ah, what a life. It is nice to have such good friends in such a beautiful part of the world. Susan is now back to the more mundane life on Garfield Street in Denver.

My best to all of you. Dare I say, "spring is here"?


Big Frank Dickinson said...

You do indeed have the good doctor. As for being in the right place and the right time and getting the right doctor with the right approach - as you have often said, in different words, when you are in the right place (metaphorically speaking), the right places often find you - is that a tautology?.

Glad that Susan is back, and that you are on the mend.



Ingrid said...

Dear Dan,
well, there is no doubt, that Rifkin seems to be the best, but for sure it is always nice to read a reconfirmation about it. We kind of need it also, don't we?
And so great to read that you feel a little better, so good to be on the next treatment
:-( What a contrast ?!?
With spring in Denver, do you take nice walks trough your most beautiful neighborhood?