After one cycle of revlimid (3 weeks), the IGGs have dropped from 4600 to 2700. This is tremendous. I also find this response most curious. The super BEAM plus chemo I received prior to transplant in Arkansas consisted of 9 drugs: Carmustine (BCNU), etoposide, Cytarabine, melphalan, thalidomide, velcade, dexamethasone, rapamycin (immunosuppressant) and one more drug, which escapes me; all given at maximum dosage over a 5 day period. The result was a drop in IGGs to 2500, which lasted a week or two at most and then they started climbing again, and a drop in white count to 00, which took me months to bring back. The Super BEAM plus was administered after I had already been given 5 days of 7 drugs, also in high dose, followed by 14 days of low dose chemo with only 3 drugs. So I invite all you more biologically/pharmacologically inclined readers to explain to me how a relatively low dose of revlimid, coupled with a moderate to heavy dose of prednisone can achieve results comparable to those 15 toxins I received in Arkansas.
So what does this all mean vis-a-vis future treatment? Assuming some continued response, which Rifkin seems to expect, my cancer levels are expected to go down to a level that will increase the likelihood of some success with the transplant from one of my brothers. I told Rifkin today I wanted to drive this myeloma into the basement with this revlimid therapy, before the transplant, in order to reduce the amount of disease the new cells would have to eradicate. The complicating factor is my white count. It dropped to 1900 (1.9) and my neutrophils (the really good white cells) are at 1000. I'm officially neutropenic (abnormally low white cell count). Rifkin wants to continue the revlimid therapy at the current dosage (15mg) in light of the good response, but warned me to stay away from crowds, wash hands, stay away from sick people, etc. etc. I think that's why I get sent to the hospital whenever something like pneumonia shows up. Counts will be checked in a week.
Other blood work looks good and the creatinine (indicates kidney function) is back to 1.3 (high end of normal).
Still no word on which brother's stem cells will be used, but momentum seems to be building for that cage fight. Trash talking between the bros has already started.
Best to all of you.