The Francis Family Foundation, generous CaringBridge donors, are honoring supporters like you by doubling all donations to CaringBridge, up to $25,000. Make a donation by December 12 to be counted.
Jun 3, 2017 Latest post:
Nov 12, 2018
I was referred to an oncologist after a routine blood test showed a mildly elevated protein level. In February 2015, I was diagnosed with Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS), which can continue for many years without progression. Since then, every 3 months I have had a routine blood and 24-hour urine test to know if my disease had progressed. Unfortunately, my plasma cells mutated and grew out of control, producing bad antibodies. In May 2017, after my last bone marrow biopsy showed 85% involvement in my bone marrow, my diagnosis advanced to Multiple Myeloma, Stage II.
Fortunately, my oncologist is a doctor for a new immunotherapy infusion research study, which I was accepted into. The study protocol has weekly IV infusion of the experimental Daratumumab drug, for 4 to 8 cycles, with each cycle lasting four weeks. I am also receiving the standard treatment, consisting of 2 different types of chemo drugs and a steroid.
My husband, Tim, compared the immunotherapy antibodies to espionage workers who put an X on the bad plasma soldiers, which help the good T-cell soldiers identify and attack the wacky ones.
Hopefully, I will be well enough when I finish cycle 4: if my defective antibodies are low (hopefully next to nothing), I will be able to have an autologous stem cell bone-marrow transplant. I then will have a 3-month waiting period before I finish the last once-twelve once per-month infusions of the antibodies. God willing, this process will arrest and/or eliminate any plasma cancer cells in my body. After that, I will be on a maintenance chemo drug until a cure has been developed.