Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Mayo report

We're back! It was an uneventful trip and a good visit with Dr. H, although I got a little freaked out by the fact that my M-spike was 2.2. (It was 2.1 three weeks ago) Dr. H said she wasn't the least bit worried because a) we're looking at results from two different labs, b) 2.1 and 2.2 are essentially the same number, and c) it's totally normal to hit a plateau, but that doesn't mean the M-spike won't continue to go down in the future. I guess I believe her, because she was really, really, really happy to see how I have responded to the Revlimid. In fact, I'm doing so well that she cut my dose of dexamethasone in half from 40 mg a week to 20 mg a week. WOO HOO!!! Now maybe I'll stop being a zombie every Monday. Also, my hemoglobin is up to 11.6. Hurrah!

Most of the visit was a big discussion about my stem-cell harvest. (I posted a longer, more detailed post about this a few months ago. If you missed it, you can read it here. ) To sum up: Because the drugs have knocked my myeloma down to a low level, they're going to collect my stem cells and preserve them in case I ever need to have a transplant of my own cells down the road. During a transplant, they blast you with high-dose chemo to kill off everything in your bone marrow, and then they give you back your preserved cells. It's important to do the harvest pretty soon, because they've found that the longer you're on Revlimid, the harder it can be to harvest cells. Dr. H said I could also have the full-blown transplant right away if I wanted to, but since I'm handling the drugs so well, I have the option of staying on the drugs and delaying an actual transplant -- possibly for years. I opted to delay for (hopefully) years. Dr. H agreed with me.

Anyway, someone is going to be calling me to set everything up, but it looks like the harvest will be in early November. We'll have to spend about three weeks (argh) in Rochester, but the plan is to be done by Thanksgiving. I'll also need to be off drugs for a month before the harvest, so I'll do just one more cycle after this one and then quit in October. Of course, I'll have to get back on them as soon as the harvest is done, but it'll be nice to have a vacation.


Rachel said...

That's just great Karen! Woohoo! I'm so happy for you. :)

Anonymous said...

Glad things are going well. I assume there will be chemo before your harvest, hence the three week ordeal.

Glad you will have some time before you actually have the SCT if ever.

Will you stay at the transplant house? It's nice and the price is affordable. You can walk to the clinic easily and there's also a shuttle.

Keeping good thoughts for you :)

mplsdeanna said...

Three weeks in Rochester in November is like three weeks in Winnipeg for spring break -- sure, it's cold, but at least you'll have me close by to entertain you.

Don said...

I'm so glad that you are going to Mayo. There may be places just as good, but no one is better than Mayo. Take that to the bank.

May we never have to do the SCT. Delay is good. Mayo is even preparing for a trial of a hard-hitting drug combo that might even replace the SCT for some people; research is moving fast.

Thinking of you, watching your blog. :-)