Hello to all. Today LeRoy had his 9th chemo shot and we also saw his oncologist. LeRoy's labs continue to be stable, and he is feeling quite good most of the time. Sometimes he is more fatigued than others, but finds strength to help keep the lawn mowed, make some wine, and do some of the cooking. Life is good, and we are thankful for every day. His red and white blood count actually went up a bit this week, which Dr. Zahr says might indicate that the Velcade is starting to lessen the myeloma cells, allowing the marrow to produce more of the red and white blood cells. That is very encouraging. We thank you for your continued prayers and support. God Bless, Ruth and LeRoy
Hello friends and relatives An update to let you know how things are going and what we learned today. First off, things are going very well at this point. Today was LeRoy's 5th chemo injection. His labs have stayed stable in these 5 weeks and he gets stronger each day. His arm which was broken gives him only slight pain after therapy, which continues to happen twice a week. He is very good about doing his exercises at home and has graduated to doing some lawn mowing (with the rider of course), picking chokecherries yesterday, driving some and cooking my breakfast again. Aren't I the lucky one???
We asked his oncologist a number of questions today, and I will share his answers with you. His name is Dr. Abou Zahr, and we have total confidence in him. First we asked him how advanced the multiple myeloma was when diagnosed. He said somewhere near the middle of early and advanced. Only having two lesions was a good thing, and the % of myeloma cells was 10%. Those are both good. We asked about a prognosis. LeRoy will keep getting the injections of Velcade on a weekly basis for four months provided his labs remain stable and he does not experience worsening side effects. They will then follow up with a pet scan to see if there are any more "hot spots." If these tests are okay, they will continue with the Velcade for 6 to 8 months. Multiple myeloma is not curable, so the goal is to get it to a level of chronic disease with no advancement while keeping LeRoy feeling well enough to enjoy good quality of life. If the Velcade would stop working or the side effects would outweigh the benefits, Dr. Zahr assured us that there are many other options available for them to use. So, in Dr. Zahr's words, it is walking a fine line between effective treatment and negative side effects. Some of the potential side effects are neuropathy in the hands and feet and worsening kidney and/or liver function. These side effects generally do worsen as the chemo continues to go on. LeRoy is monitored weekly with comprehensive labs. Having said all of the above, we want it to be known that we are very positive about this process. We take each day as it comes and try to keep life as "normal" as we can. Keep the prayers and good thoughts coming, as they can be felt by both of us. Any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call or email. Love and God Bless, Ruth and LeRoy
Hi to all our Caring Bridge followers. Today started with our first appointment in Fargo at 7:45 to attend a class for first time chemotherapy patients. It was about 45 minutes long and very informative. We then had time for a nice breakfast before meeting with Dr. Abou Zahr, LeRoy's medical oncologist. He explained a lot about the chemo drug LeRoy was to receive along with other drugs to counteract some of the possible side effects of the chemo. On a positive note, we found out that the 10% of LeRoy's plasma cells which are myeloma cells is actually a relatively small percentage. People show up with much higher percentages than that. That gives way to more options for treatment if this should not work well or cause too many side effects. His chemo drug is Velcade and it was administered as an injection under the skin in the abdomen. He received a second injection of a bone fortifier also in his abdomen. This is convenient, as it is much faster than infusion. While at Roger Marais Cancer Center in Fargo they also did an ultrasound of his left arm to be certain he does not have a blood clot there causing a great deal of swelling. No results from that yet. Dr. Zahr stated that if LeRoy tolerates this regimen well, in about 4 months they will do another PET scan and that result along with hopefully positive changes in his labs will indicate the degree of success of these treatments. Then on to Dr. Kevin Dahl, the orthopedic surgeon who placed the rod in his broken arm. X-rays of that showed that it is where it needs to be and the surgery sites have healed nicely. It will take months for his bone to heal completely because of the myeloma. I think this about sums up the visit. LeRoy is very fatigued after this long day. The doctor and nurses all said that fatigue will be a definite side effect. So, keep us in your good thoughts and prayers and I will try to keep you updated as things continue. Love and God Bless, Ruth and LeRoy
Hello again. Just a note to let you know that LeRoy finished his 10 radiation treatments on Friday, June 22nd. They went well and his pain continues to be very well managed. Tuesday we see his medical oncologist and the surgeon who placed the rod in his broken humerus. Wonder why they named that bone humerus????? Tuesday he also starts once a week chemotherapy. We are praying that that goes well and accomplishes what the doctors are hoping for, which we will find out on Tuesday. We have no idea of the duration of the chemo treatments at this point. Keep the prayers coming and we will let you know what we find out on Tuesday. Love and God Bless
Hello to all friends and family. I am starting a new Caring Bridge Site as we are starting a new journey and would like to keep you all informed. First the reason for this site. LeRoy has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells which occurs in the bone marrow. It is not bone cancer but can cause weakening of the bone as the cancerous plasma cells take over and diminish the production of red and white blood cells, thus causing lack of nourishment and bone deterioration. The first manifestation of an issue in the upper bone of his left arm happened on April 2nd when LeRoy was buckling his seat belt. He was in the passenger side as his brother Dick was driving and he reached across his body with his left arm and screamed in pain. His daughter Shelly took him to the ER the next morning and he was diagnosed with a muscle tear and put into a sling and sent home with pain pills. I was in California until April 4th visiting my sister. The pain was gradually subsiding until he fell going up some steps and landed on the same arm. After a couple visits to our local doctors, an X-ray was taken on May 3rd which showed a definite break, along with a lytic lesion, which can be indicative of multiple myeloma. Referral to Fargo to orthopedic surgeon and an oncologist. May 7th meet with surgeon and set surgery for May 16th. Had to wait so LeRoy could get off one of his anti-rejection meds for that time period. (The surgery went extremely well and eliminated nearly all the pain LeRoy had been in for a month. He is doing therapy now to regain his range of motion and that is going very well.) We then met with the oncologist who ordered a bunch of labs and a pet scan. The pet scan showed cancer in the spot on the arm and a small one on the upper bone in his left leg. They held off on a bone marrow biopsy hoping the surgeon could do that during the surgery. He could not get a good enough sample so back to Fargo for the bone marrow biopsy Monday, June 4th. Then yesterday we met with the radiation oncologist in Fargo about scheduling radiation. He told us the bone marrow biopsy showed a higher percentage of myeloma cells than acceptable, so LeRoy will do some kind of chemo for that. Probably pills, as indicated by his regular oncologist. After the session we asked if LeRoy could do the radiation in Fergus Falls, which is 45 miles versus 80 miles to Fargo. He said certainly, and called to set up an appointment with their radiation oncologist. So we took off down I-94 to Fergus Falls. Radiation is set up starting tomorrow Monday through Friday for two weeks. Only 10 sessions, which we believe is a good thing. We are waiting to hear from Dr. Abou Tsar, LeRoy's regular oncologist about the chemo. I believe this catches you up. Rather a bizarre beginning to this journey, but without the break, who knows when the cancer might have been diagnosed. We have not asked nor been told about a prognosis, and at this time do not wish to. We are hopeful and believe this is another "bump in the road" that we will get through and have many wonderful years ahead of us. We are aware of the many breakthroughs and new treatments for multiple myeloma and therefore our trust and hope for a good ending. Any questions? Feel free to call or email. Don't need to ask for prayers, as we know they are coming and can feel the strength. Love and God Bless, Ruth and LeRoy