Nov 10, 2020 Latest post:
Nov 14, 2020
Thank you for visiting Dina here at Caring Bridge. As some of you may know, Dina has had unusual, recurring pain (primarily in her rib cage, sternum and hips) for several years. In January, she started struggling with daily pain. After several preliminary diagnoses and tests (including a PET scan and bone biopsy), her doctors determined Dina has multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects plasma cells that accumulate in bone marrow. While a serious and worrisome medical condition, based on breakthroughs in the last 10-15 years, we anticipate Dina’s current therapy options to result in a highly manageable disease. Dina’s treatment plan with Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute will consist of three stages:
1. Induction therapy is the first phase, with the goal to substantially reduce the number of myeloma cells in the bone marrow and the proteins that the plasma cells produce. Induction therapy begins on November 10, 2020, and is expected to last for about three months. During this time Dina should be able to participate in ordinary daily activities (as adjusted for our COVID-19 times). It’s possible Dina may have some side effects, but these are expected to be manageable via dosage adjustments. It is also expected that Dina’s bone pain will be relieved as a result of these treatments.
2. Induction is followed by a treatment of chemotherapy for a single day, followed by a stem cell transplant, all of this to last about two weeks. The stem cells are obtained from Dina herself and are then used to replace the cancerous marrow that was treated via induction and chemotherapy (it is also known as an autologous bone marrow transplant). The treatments during this two week period will include another PET scan and bone biopsy. Dina will have symptoms similar to the flu during this period, and the bone biopsy may be painful, but her first bone biopsy was performed with minimal discomfort, and so that is expected for this second procedure as well.
3. The chemo/stem cell stage is then followed by a maintenance treatment plan, with an initial two week series of doctor’s visits to monitor Dina’s success, followed by a long-term medication regime.
Dina has already received a lot of support from family and friends, including much insight from one of Ed’s partners who also has multiple myeloma, and who has successfully gone through these treatments with Dina’s same doctor and medical team at Emory. Dina and her family are truly grateful to be surrounded by a loving community and first-in-class medical care. Dina and Ed will keep you updated here as things progress. While indoor visits will be limited due to COVID-19 measures, Dina might be available for some outdoor walks and visits, and of course your calls, cards, texts, prayers, kind thoughts, stories and other messages of encouragement will be welcome at any time (especially during phase 2 of her treatment at the hospital). Heartfelt thanks to all of you for visiting here.