Monday, February 15, 2010

Still on Track

Good visit with Rifkin today. Everything is a go for Houston. He is very pleased with my recovery, and probably a bit surprised, as I was quite compromised when I first arrived back from Little Rock. The bone marrow still doesn't work quite right, but I'll leave that problem to Mike's cells. IGGs are at 1875 (normal being 600 to 1600). M spike is stable at 1.4. White count is a bit low at 2.2 but he is unconcerned about that. One more visit with him next Monday, then we're off to M.D. Anderson.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The past 2 weeks have presented yet a couple of more challenges. A cough/cold/wheeze lead to an early discontinuation of revlimid. Rifkin cancelled my last week of revlimid to allow my lungs to recover. The CT scan brought some relief, as it showed no pneumonia. But my immune system is ill equipped to deal with cold symptoms, etc. It just takes about twice as long to rid myself of the crud. During this fight with the crud (I get it every February), I got hit with the worst of the steroid withdrawal, including the shakes (DT's?). This has not been fun, but today it feels like I'm come through the worst. I've got one week left of low level steroids (10 mg. every other day). So, enough of my complaints. Everything is a go at M.D. Anderson. My brother has been through a couple of days of testing and they'll harvest his stem cells within a week to 10 days. Susan and Julia will depart in Susan's little Subaru on Feb. 26th and I'll follow by air the next day. Testing starts March 1.

Catherine will start training for the NYC triathalon in about a week. She is doing this to raise money for the Leukemia Society. Check out her web page:

I'll try to provide one more post before we start our sojourn to the south.

Love to all,


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

We Have a Date

I've begun the 2nd week of my last cycle of revlimid. I had a 2 week break due to low white count, which brought concern about whether the IGGs would start an upward trend. Fortunately, the steroids apparently held them in check. IGGs at 2021. M spike went up from 1.4 to 1.5. Rifkin says its time to go to Houston. We are tailing off on the steroids (decreasing the dosage by 10 mg. each week). Brother Mike will be in Houston this week for his first round of tests. Mainly blood work I think. Then back in 2 weeks for a fully week of shots and stem cell harvesting.

My testing begins March 1; admitted to the hospital March 10 and the three drug chemo is administered over the next couple of days. Mike's cells will be transplanted on March 15 and the metamorphosis begins. YIKES!!!! I thought human cloning was illegal. Or maybe this will qualify as identity theft. And the idea of two Mike Patterson's wandering around this earth is likely to cause some people to run for the hills. I told Mike I would appreciate receiving some of his hair cells, as I seem to have lost most of my hair. So there you have it.

Susan and Julia will once again be hitting the road in the days before March 1. I will once again be taking the easy road and catching a flight to Houston, all to meet at Susan's brother, Gary's house. And they complain that I never take them anywhere!

I sit in disbelief at our experience over the last 5 years (On March 23rd it will be 5 years since diagnosis) and have even greater difficulty believing this will be my 3rd stem cell transplant.
While I feel more tired going into this than ever before, I know I have a month to pull myself together, brace for the inevitable, and walk through the fire once again. Susan is in the same place as I am. Not a day has gone by, however, without our being deeply grateful for all the extraordinary people in our lives. We continue to feel your love and support and we know we will endure.
Onward and upward,