Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lost in Translation, and the Importance of a Pillbox

Happy Tuesday, folks. Tuesday is Velcade day in these parts. Which means it's also Dex day. I don't like Dex days but they're a necessary evil! I'm fortunate, again, that I don't have the anger / anxiety side effects of Dex. I've been in physical therapy, though, and let me tell you the muscle-wasting effects of Dex are an issue based on how much I hurt! :) Hopefully I can do enough to keep the atrophy at bay.

Maintenance therapy involves a lot of "supportive care" drugs, not just the "big three" of Velcade, Revlimid and Dex. Mine are:

* Baby aspirin, to ward off deep vein thrombosis from the combination of Rev and Dex

* Pantoprazole, to counteract the esophageal problems that Dex causes

* Acyclovir, to help my compromised immune system fight off the flu

* TamiFlu, for the same reason

* MetaNx, to keep peripheral neuropathy at bay

* Alpha Lipoic Acid, for the same reason

* Ambien, in case I can't sleep on Dex day

* Zometa (by infusion) to help fill in all the holes in my bones

* Testosterone (by injection) for general mojo

There's a lot of room for "pilot error" in all this stuff. and there's also room for transcription error. I remember one time during my initial consult, where I was debating between doing Total Therapy in Arkansas versus Los Angeles, BB had dictated "patient will return to Los Angeles and determine where this whole deal is going to happen." And the transcription came back "patient will return...and determine whether this ordeal is going to happen." :)

So among other confusions, which I have now cleared up:

* I was taking only one aspirin a day; now I will take two

* I was taking Acyclovir only once per day; now I will take two

* Dr. GD's office thought I would get Zometa each month; it turns out the one infusion is all BB wants

* BB's notes were transcribed as taking 15mg x 20 days on Revlimid, followed by 4 days of 5mg. This is just flat-out wrong. The proper dosage is 15mg x 21 days, with 7 days off.

This is a lot of pills! So that daily pillbox that I put to good use during therapy (I recall one day counting the number of pills I had to take and noting that there were more than FORTY of them) will be brought back out!

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