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Side effects

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21 10, 2015

Chemo today, Day Zero tomorrow

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I put this together Tuesday evening. Last time I'll be smiling like this for a while! Two hours sucking on ice. Mmmm. Sister Joan was kind enough to bring some flavored ice pops to mix in for a change of pace. Still feeling OK but combination of all four chemo agents today wearing me down.

18 10, 2015

Hectic first day glitches

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Pattie reports that our beloved dog, Finnegan, feels the same way about me! Apparently he lays at the front door, forlorn, waiting for me to come home. Sorry, Finnegan; it's going to be a long wait. But if things go as well as we all hope, I'll be home with you for a good long

15 10, 2015

My tandem transplant schedule

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Ready or not, I'm back in Iowa City, preparing to undergo my second modified stem cell transplant in less than four months. I was at the University of Iowa Cancer Center all day for tests. It was more grueling than I expected. Except for almost an hour wait, my second PET scan in two months

14 10, 2015

Reader celebrating great response to daratumumab

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I'm often said our readers are my best resource. Early reports about the new immunotherapy, daratumumab, have been good. Mike, from North Carolina, recently enrolled in a dara trial. He emailed me about how great it's working for him and agreed to share an email he sent his friends, trumpeting the early results. Here's a

7 10, 2015

Immunotherapy angst: Why is myeloma code so tough to crack?

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We were all so excited! Dying myeloma patient, Stacy from Minnesota, responded miraculously to Mayo Clinic's experimental measles vaccine therapy. Yet apparently attempts to match this early success is fleeting. U.S. News and World Report ran an excellent update yesterday about how researchers are mobilizing patient's immune systems to fight their cancer. The ongoing Mayo

29 09, 2015

Snapshot frozen in time

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I'll delay the post I had planned to run today until tomorrow. I wanted to share a telling moment I experienced yesterday. Learning that insurance approved my second transplant next month, I needed to make airline reservations into the Cedar Rapids airport; it's a short 14 miles northwest of Iowa City. The weekend got away

27 09, 2015

How’s Pat doing?

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I'm feeling a lot better this weekend than I did earlier in the week. I think my body is getting used to pomalidomide. Interesting that I tolerated thalidomide better, not really feeling a thing. That is, except for scary fast progression of my peripheral neuropathy (PN) symptoms. The good news is POM doesn't seem to

26 09, 2015

New “gold standard” therapy for multiple myeloma?

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Last year at ASH, everyone was anticipating FDA approval of carfilzomib (Kyrpolis) and pomalidomide (Pomalyst). It felt a lot like it does now, expecting the first two myeloma related immunotherapies, elotuzumab and daratumumab, to be approved within the next six months. I remember several high profile myeloma specialists (the IMF's Dr. Durie and Dana-Farber's Dr.

13 09, 2015

Thalidomide: Worth the risk?

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Dr. Tricot and I didn't restrict our conversation to the "transplant again or not" debate. We also spent a good deal of time discussing how to handle my worrisome peripheral neuropathy (PN). As I shared last month: Peripheral neuropathy smacks me hard!   Thalidomide maintenance has sped up the progression of my PN exponentially. Fortunately,