Sunday, July 31, 2011


Unfortunately that title doesn't refer to bicycling. Rather, I'm going into my 3rd cycle of the new drug combo of vorinostat and velcade along with my every other day prednisone. We still don't know whether this regime is taking down the myeloma. But it has, at least, stabilized the IGGs just below 7000, where they've been hovering for more than a month. That's still way too high but at least they're not moving upward. This regime is a bit more challenging, mainly due to the increased fatigue. The drugs also hit my blood counts pretty hard, driving down the red cells and platelets. Those low counts have resulted in my needing four transfusions this past month and tomorrow I'll be getting my second one this month. Rifkin has decided not to subject me to another bone marrow biopsy, telling me that my marrow is packed with myeloma, which also causes the blood counts to go down.

So what do I do when I'm not at the clinic/hospital? Still riding the bike, although the heat wave is keeping me inside more often than I would like. I also manage to mediate a few cases each month, which I continue to enjoy. Lately we've been dealing with our flooded basement--the fourth time in five years; and we've had contractors in 3 times to fix it, which they're apparently not capable of doing. We welcome all recommendations.

I want to thank all of you who contributed to Catherine's triathlon run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She has raised $5000, almost twice her goal of $2600. Given Catherine's phenomenal fund raising, I've decided to participate in the Leukemia Society's Light the Night walk. It will take place in Denver at Washington Park, with the walk starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22. I am inviting all of you to participate in the walk. Large numbers of walkers bring awareness to the public of the numerous people afflicted with blood cancers. Darin and Liz Schanker have offered, once again, to host a prewalk party at their home on the east side of Washington Park. Darin's law firm, Bachus and Schanker, has been a strong supporter of the Leukemia Society in the past and want to continue their support. I will provide more details on the prewalk party schedule as we get closer to the walk. Also, if you missed the opportunity to contribute to Catherine's triathlon, your contribution to Light the Night would be greatly appreciated. The link to my web page is:

Rifkin has carefully scheduled my treatment and transfusions so I can make the trip to NYC to cheer Catherine on at the finish line in Central Park. Simply put, the plan is to load me up with blood and platelets just before we leave, discontinue any treatment, and then resume when we return. I think they call this blood doping.

That's all that's happening at our household. I hope you are all enjoying your summer. And wherever you live, the heat wave will pass. Yes it will.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Triathlete

No, that would not be me. That would be my daughter, Catherine, who is in training for her second NYC triathlon. This is again being run under the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training fund raising effort. Each participant pledges to raise $2650. While Catherine has been training she has not been fund raising and in fact hasn't gotten around to spreading the word. So, once again, for those generous souls out there, here is the link to her fund raising page:

Regardless of whether you intend to donate I encourage you to read the short intro on her page. It provides some insight into her experience over the past 6 years.

And for those who want to support the cause, the LLS is key to supporting blood cancers, such as myeloma. They provide significant funding for drug development, such as velcade, which keeps people like me alive. They also provide a lot of patient support services as well as financial assistance for those in need. LLS is a fabulous patient oriented, patient advocate organization which is committed to finding a cure for this nastiness. Any amount will help. The Team in Training is another of its fund raising activities, like the Light the Night walk I have supported over the years. Ultimately the funds all go to the same place to help blood cancer patients. Thank you in advance for your support of Catherine's triathlon.

I'm off chemo this week, start my second cycle next week, and should have some numbers in 2 weeks. The chemo was tolerable, but I'm glad for a week's break.