KICK THE CAN
My stem cell transplant was my big opportunity to kick the can, myeloma, down the road. The higher I could kick the can the further down the road it would fly before landing. MRD, minimal residual disease is the highest kick and travels the furthest. Next comes complete response followed by very good partial response. At least I didn’t shank the kick, which would have been no response. I settled for an intermediate kick known as partial response.
If you picture these kicks as a series of arks which fly up to peak height and then fall their respective distances, you can picture how my procedure turned out. The higher the kick the longer the arch. The landing spot would be the number of months before I would expect resurgence of the myeloma needing further serious treatment.
The good news is that the drug, Revlimid helps to extend these arks. Revlimid is the primary drug I took during my induction prior to the transplant. You may remember that it did a tremendous job reducing my myeloma burden (M-Spike) from 2.43 to 0.54 in three months. We started tracking my numbers again last month. My M-Spike had crawled back up to 1.06. I began Maintenance Therapy with Revlimid shortly after that. After 21 days on the drug my M-Spike fell back to 0.73.
My therapy will continue to be Revlimid for at least two more years. The dosage is lower than during induction. Studies of the results of using Revlimid indicate that the median period of PFS (Progression Free Survival) based on my “partial response” kick should be 36 months. Higher kicks would have brought a longer period of PFS.
Revlimid is described as relatively well tolerated. Sounds like what Mom and Dad did with us boys on a long car trip. Well tolerated meant they did not need to pull over at any point to sort us out. The most frequent side effect is fatigue. This has already come in to play for me, but I am all able to function at close to normal levels. I have enjoyed some stomach upset as well. Of my, I think we need to stock up with toilet paper.
I appreciate all the thoughts and best wishes. We are back to watching the numbers again. Love, Joe