Friday, April 29, 2011

Tough Sledding

Growing up in North Dakota my friends and I had plenty of time during the winter to enjoy our winter sports. Sledding was a favorite. We each had our Radio Flyers and would often race down the alleys or bulldog each other as we raced to the end of the alley, hoping to stop before sliding into the street. Bulldogging consisted of sliding up next to another sled and jumping off your sled on top of your friend who was riding his sled. The best bulldoggers could actually steal the sled by pushing the other person off and send him rolling into the snow and ice while riding the stolen sled to victory. It was some tough sledding, especially when competing with a big guy named Duke, who was an expert bulldogger and sled stealer.

I'm hoping those sledding times have toughened me for the latest rounds of treatment. The myeloma has reared its ugly head once again, filling my bone marrow and leaving little room for the good white and red cells. I'm undergoing my second round of high dose chemo (cytoxin) today, in the hospital in Denver. We'll check the progress in a couple of weeks, after I recover from the chemo and then make a plan for the future. No one is suggesting this high dose chemo is going to kill off all the myeloma. The hope is to make a dent so we can use some more traditional chemo that at the present time the docs don't think will work because of the high levels of disease. We are looking at the new drugs, carfilzomib and pomalidomide, but my eligibility for the clinical trials of those drugs is questionable given all the treatment I've had, particularly the allo transplant. There are a few other alternatives that we'll evaluate once I'm through this regime. I am limited to just 2 doses of cytoxin because of its toxicity, so regardless of its effectiveness, we'll have to find another drug soon.

We had a crowd of family for Easter: Susan's brother, my brother Tom, my sister and her family, Julia and Catherine along with a few other friends. Rifkin had carefully orchestrated my recovery from the first high dose chemo so I could participate, which was nice. Lots of love and laughter. All nurtured once again by a fabulous meal prepared by Susan.

The family is quite vigilant as I go through this treatment since the options are narrowing but we remain hopeful and are always grateful for your love and support.