Monday, December 20, 2010

Amped Up

As Emeril would say, BAM! We're amping it up for the holidays. Velcade dose doubled, steroids quadrupled, and the treatment is now twice a week, as opposed to once a week. Rifkin and I made this decision today after first looking at my blood counts, all of which were "excellent" and considering that my IGGs and M protein were rising. Rifkin agreed with me that we want to try to decrease those myeloma numbers in advance of receiving my brother's white cells next month to give them the best chance of choking down this myeloma. I jokingly suggested that we first call my family to get their input as they're going to have to live with me during these next few weeks. I was on this dosage 4 years ago, but it was the first course of treatment following my first transplant. A whole lot of toxic waste has passed through these veins since then and I don't tolerate this stuff like I used to. But I was the one who initially suggested it, so I wasn't going to back down when Rifkin agreed. It should be an exciting Christmas at the Patterson household this year.
Joy and Peace to all,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tired of Viral Infections

A couple of years ago I met a man at the clinic who had had an allo transplant. He told me he was doing well, but tired of always battling some infection. I know what he means. This immunosuppression makes one vulnerable to all bugs. After recovering from the shingles, without any lasting side effects I immediately contracted RSV (respiratory synctial virus), a viral infection infants and young children often get.---oh yeh, and immuno suppressed people. I had this about four years ago and it took 2 weeks to get rid of. I'm about 10 days into this one. I've decided I need to curtail my encounters with larger groups of people. Not that I was a big socialite, but I have let down my guard and I think it's time to put the barriers back up.

The downside of these infections is that I can't stay on my maintenance regime. I've only had 2 weeks of velcade over the last 6 weeks. The result is that my IGGs have risen to 2800 and M protein is up to 2.0. These are not alarming numbers, but in the face of an allo transplant that is supposed to give me the chance to have the myeloma eradicated, we're moving in the wrong direction. Fortunately, I will be returning to MD Anderson soon for my DLI (Donor Leukocyte Infusion--an infusion of white cells) from my brother. I am scheduled to receive 3 infusions over the next couple of months. Mike has been to Houston so often in preparation for these infusions that I told him we should rent him an apartment there. He voices no complaints. I can't say he's a saint, but he's one hell of a brother.

We've got our tree up, Catherine will be here in a few days and we're planning a quiet family Christmas. We wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, or whatever you choose to celebrate.