Pat Killingsworth Pat Killingsworth

Medical Update: New hiccup threatens to disrupt Pat’s therapy

Can’t a guy catch a break?

I received my Velcade sub-q injection yesterday–and I took my 10, 4 mg dexemethasone pills right before bed–officially kicking-off the next of two, six week RVD cycles.

Well not exactly.  Actually, following a seven day break, I started taking 25 mg Revlimid capsules again Sunday night.  Sometimes my individual med schedule overlaps our six week cycle plan.

So I took Revlimid Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night.  Monday and Tuesday were rough days.  Upset stomach, cramps–you remember the drill.  Same side-effects, only worse since last summers stem cell transplant.  It takes me a few days to adjust to starting Revlimid again…

I can live with all of that.  But Wednesday I learned something that threatens to derail my impressively effective chemotherapy schedule:  My neutrophil count is down to 0.9 already.  Really?  It was back up to a robust 2.5 last week.

Not that I expect you to follow my blood counts (I barely even do that!) but key numbers are important.

You may recall how the same neurophil count of 0.9 (which means I am officially neutropenic) and a fever of 102, landed me in the hospital two weekends ago.

My white count is now also low (1.9), but no big deal for me–considering how much chemo I’m taking.  My red count, hemoglobin and platelets are also a bit low, but fine.

So what does all of this mean?  I have to stop taking Revlimid, that’s what it means.

While this might make some happy–I will certainly feel better for a week or so–I am deeply disappointed.

Just when we have my myeloma on the ropes and free-falling toward the canvas (Like my boxing metaphor?) I will be forced to pause and re-group.

And of course this means more time out of my already busy days for more neupogen shots and blood tests.

Have any of you ever tried getting an injection or IV at lovely Oak Hill hospital as an outpatient over a weekend?  Since my cancer clinic, Florida Cancer Specialists, is closed on weekends, trying to get a simple shot from the hospital’s weekend skeleton crew will take up to two hours.  They aren’t the most organized bunch across the street.  Maybe I should consider driving the one hour each way down to Moffitt Cancer Center on Saturday.  That would probably be faster!

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  My first task will be coordinating what my myeloma specialist, Dr. Alsina, and medical oncologist, Dr. Malhotra, decide to do.  My first stop today will be to drop-in to Dr. Malhotra’s local clinic and get another blood draw and CBC check.  If I am still hovering around 1.0, a three injection daily round of neupogen shots will soon follow.  Not especially painful, just inconvenient.

But I’m OK with all of that.  It’s having to stop taking Revlimid that has me bumming this am.

At least I squeezed-in my Velcade and dex yesterday before anyone noticed.

And who has control of those white Revlimid capsules?  I do!  I wouldn’t be surprised if they start mysteriously disappearing one by one–every other day or so–throughout the next week.

We’ve already determined that I’m stubborn–and I want to continue “bashing the beast” as some of you would say.

Maybe I still have a few 10 mg capsules sitting around in the back of my medicine stash somewhere…   Might be a good compromise.

I will keep you updated on my CBC numbers over the next few days.  How exciting!  This is right up there with watching The Bachelor and Keeping up with the Kardaschians!  Or is it called Kourtney and Kim Take New York now?  Pattie watches, not me of course…

Don’t worry about me.  Feel pretty good this morning–taking dex the night before will do that for you.

So repeat after me:  Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat