Thursday, January 3, 2013

Not much to report, other than ongoing Velcade inconvenience!

Happy New Year and good health to you all.

A brief update for you.

I was off Velcade for two weeks (meaning three weeks between infusions), though I did visit the doctor for bloodwork one week (the other week was Christmas).

I did get the stomach flu twice.  It had been going around, and I documented my first bout of it here.  The second bout came at the doctor's office, actually, on the day I was worried about extreme GI pain.  Turns out it was related to another bout...or at least I *think* it was given that I got sick in the parking lot after the appointment.  Eep.

The hair issue certainly feels Velcade-related as well.  It feels finer, dried out and more delicate when on Velcade than it was even with only two weeks off.  I notice it falls out when on Velcade as well.  The head itches, too.  I'm sure they are related.  It's not going to be enough to keep me off the drug as I want those damn pits in the spine to heal up.  But it's irksome.

The other GI ailments -- dysyntery, basically -- continue unabated.  They continued even while OFF Velcade, albeit not quite as badly.  So my poor intestines are going to need an undetermined amount of time off before I return to normal, even when off meds.

I confess to a bit of unease these days as I look around me and see friends who entered treatment around the time I did started to fail primary treatment and look for new methods of controlling their disease.  We're entering the phase where the "cured" start separating from the "controlled" and...well, I sure hope BB is right, is the point.  I have essentially reached the start of the plateau of the graph for low-risk patients that achieved compete remission.  In another three years I'm pretty sure I'm in the clear for good; in another two the life insurance vultures can start trying to sell me more product.

Meanwhile, it's watch, and wait, and hope I keep my hair!  :)

I do want to add that "chemo brain" is real.  I noticed a definite lack of focus and drive over the past 18 months.  I am still hoping to avoid Cymbalta (an anti-depressant), which BB has recommended from time to time.  However I'm starting to be more open-minded to it.  Still, I would rather get off all drugs for six months and see how I'm feeling before I decide I need something to keep the ol' serotonin in balance.

More to come as events visit to Arkansas in about 10 weeks.