Sherry Whitford ! Unstoppable !

First post: May 30, 2016 Latest post: May 31, 2018
Welcome to Sherry's CaringBridge site! We've created it to update friends, family, our Grace Community Chapel  ( family, and fellow multiple myeloma survivors. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.

Sherry was diagnosed with multiple myeloma just before Thanksgiving Day in 2013 at Progress West Hospital in St. Peters, MO and she was immediately transferred to Barnes Jewish Hospital and Siteman Cancer Center  in Saint Louis. Sherry received world-class care from all of the doctors, nurses, and support staff during her initial hospitalization at Siteman. Her treatment plan included dozens of sensitive blood tests, x-rays, a PET scan, bone marrow biopsy, pain medication, and chemotherapy treatment (cy-bor-dex or cytoxan, Velcade [bortezomib], and dexamethasone). Sherry's "unstoppable" determination to overcome the initial shock of her diagnosis, extreme pain, and withering fatigue paid off, and she was discharged before Christmas Day. In 2014 Sherry underwent vertebroplasty, a difficult hospitalization to receive an autologous stem cell transplant, and she began a maintenance treatment plan with a multiple myeloma drug called Revlimid.

Unfortunately, the multiple myeloma cancer became refractory to the Revlimid treatment plan in May 2015, and her hematologist-oncologist, Dr. Keith Stockerl-Goldstein  prescribed a new plan with a recently approved drug called Kyprolis. Since Sherry is a high-risk multiple myeloma patient, her treatment plans are effective for a limited time. Unfortunately the Kyprolis (carfilzomib) treatment plan was effective for only a few months. Sherry was then prescribed two additional treatment plans. Darzalex (or Daratumumab), which was still in a phase III clinical trial, was prescribed in fall 2015, and in early 2016 Sherry was switched to Empliciti (elotuzumab); however, both treatments failed to keep her IgA numbers and the disease in check. Sherry was prescribed cy-bor-dex chemotherapy and her multiple myeloma was controlled effectively for four months. During July and  August 2016, Sherry was a patient in a BCMA CAR-T cell therapy clinical trial at Abramson Cancer Center / Penn Medicine Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. The phase 0 clinical trial failed to achieve a favorable outcome. Shortly after returning from Philadelphia in September 2016, Sherry was diagnosed with two serious plasmacytomas - one in her sphenoid sinus and another on a rib bone. Sherry was hospitalized at Siteman Cancer Center and underwent radiation treatment and resumed cy-bor-dex chemotherapy. In December 2016, the MM became refectory to Velcade (cy-bor-dex) and in early 2017 she underwent two inpatient DCEP treatments (dexamthasone, cyclophosphamide, etoposide and cisplatine). The DCEP treatments weren't completely successful, so her oncologist prescribed a relatively new triplicate treatment:  Opdivo (nivolumab) + Revlimid + dexamethasone. This treatment; however, failed to reduce the disease burden and was discontinued on April 19, 2017.

April 20th, 2017 Sherry underwent surgery to stabilize her left hip. The operation to place an intramedullary rod (also called IM nail) in her left femur was successfully completed by BJC orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cara Cipriano. Sherry recovered for about two weeks before beginning a series of radiation treatments to reduce plasmacytoma activity in her shoulders, left hip, and legs. In May 2017, Dr. Stockerl-Goldstein prescribed a new chemotherapy treatment plan using three drugs: bortezomib (Velcade) injections, dexamethasone, and nelfinavir (Viracept) to successfully bridge Sherry to an allogeneic stem cell transplant. Sherry's youngest sister was a match for the allogeneic stem cell transplant in  July - August 2017. 

The chemotherapy treatment key drug was nelfinavir "an antiretroviral drug that is used for human immunodeficiency (HIV)"... in other words, a repurposed HIV medicine that restores the effectiveness of bortezomib in multiple myeloma patients that are refractory to Velcade / bortezomb. Studies for this combined trio of medicines were conducted in Switzerland and positive results were released in early 2017. 

Sherry has tremendous trust and confidence in her multiple myeloma cancer team at Siteman Cancer Center lead by Dr. Keith Stockerl-Goldstein.  By staying with her oncologist and not chasing clinical trials all over the country she made a difficult, but important decision. Staying with her hematologist oncologist, a doctor that knows her disease best has worked well.  Multiple myeloma patients rarely consider themselves to be in "remission", but her post-transplant test results gave us a more optimistic outlook than all previous refractory related treatment plans. Sherry's recovery from the allogeneic stem cell transplant has been difficult. She has to take numerous anti-rejection medications, and she worked hard to recover physically with the assistance of a wonderful physical therapist named Nicole. The allogeneic stem cell transplant was effective at controlling the cancer from August 2017 to February 2018. Returning to the nelvinavir, dex, bortezomib triplet combination failed to reduce the resurgent multiple myeloma activity, so it was discontinued in early April 2018.

Thursday April 5, 2018 Sherry was admitted to the hospital due to pneumonia caused by RSV. She is currently hospitalized and will begin a new multiple myeloma treatment plan when the RSV pneumonia is resolved.

Thank you for visiting Sherry's CaringBridge website today. Your prayers, thoughts, questions, and words of encouragement will help make this site successful. May God bless you.

- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13  

Bradley and Sherry Whitford

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