Putting on the War Paint

Well, a lot has (and a lot hasn’t) happened since I last wrote. We met with the oncologist (he comes highly recommended), and got a clearer picture of what’s going on. Damned if I could tell you exactly what it is, though (but I’ll try). I guess we just went on Wednesday (which in no way whatsoever feels like only yesterday), but I’m already set to go for radiation to my eye (start that on Monday). Tomorrow I get to attend an hour long class about one of the other medications I’ll be on. I dabbled briefly in looking it up on the internet today. Oops. Don’t do that.

So, I guess, here’s the skinny, as best I know it at this point. I have Multiple Myeloma. It is a white blood cell cancer, that is a cousin of sorts of Leukemia. If you want more info on what it is, specifically, click on a link to the right, please.

I don’t have an “M-spike”, which is something that they use to measure the disease, but I do have other markers that are outside of the norm that indicate that the disease is present and advancing at the moment. I’ve got some Lambda Light Chain (I think) issues, and maybe one or two other that can be detected in blood/urine panels – and of course, the lesions/tumors (soft tissue and in the bone). All of this, for all intents and purposes, puts me at about Stage 3, according to my doctor. The staging thing, however, as best as I can tell from what I have read, has more to do with the medical team knowing what is most likely medically occurring with a patient, and therefor serves more as a treatment protocol or benchmark, than anything.

The plan. Initially, to stabilize me. That is, to stop the disease from progressing, and even knock it back a bit if possible, then aim for a measure that will hopefully as nearly eradicate it from my body as possible. The stabilization part involves radiation to the tumor in my eye, of which I will have 17 sessions starting Monday. The docs are pretty sure they can kill this bugger about as dead as you can get. There is some concern regarding the tear duct in my upper lid being damaged, but I guess that’s one of those things that you have to keep in mind with regard to TBP (that’s The Big Picture for any noobs).

In addition to radiation, I will also be on a 21 day on, 7 day off chemotherapy cycle. One drug is Zometa, and I get it in I.V. form once a month. Its job is to promote bone growth and density. The second is Revlimid. It is the cell killing “chemo” drug. It is in pill form and is taken daily. The third is Dexamethasone. It is a steroid that is about 4 or 5 times more potent that prednisone (or so I have read), and does a very good job at affecting the tumors this particular cancer grows. The fact that I’ve gotten so much relief already with just prednisone bodes well for that drug. It is also a pill that I take daily. I really don’t want to get into potential side effects now, because one must consider that, as my brother put it, “you get one butt-scratcher in the test group who can’t keep his hand off of his butt and you gotta list that as a side effect, too…”. His point being twofold; not everything listed is necessarily a side effect, and it is important to look at the percent of individuals who had the side effect in the test group.

I will do “two or three” rounds of the chemo, with close monitoring to see how my numbers respond. My age makes me a strong candidate for stem cell transplantation, which is step 2, and may likely come later this year. They are getting some very promising results with these treatments, and while it is a long, hard fight, sitting where I am at the moment, I find it a no-brainer.

And with that, I embed this video in tribute to my brother, who is doing a great job of being Encyclopediaman. 🙂


One Response

  1. I will have the Kleenex ready in case that tear duct acts up!!!
    You are un-frigin believably strong, woman!!!!!

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