In June 2020 I wrote a blog entry about the seven year staging of my health status.
In this entry I reviewed the status of my multiple myeloma and its remission and treatment. You may recall that I received a stem cell transplant in 2013 to counteract the disease in my bone marrow. The transplant helps the bone marrow improve the blood chemistry and combat cancerous elements found there. Because multiple myeloma is never cured, the best that can be done is to maintain remission even though cancer cells will continue to be produced. I have been receiving some form of chemotherapy for nearly nine years and have maintained very good partial remission (VGPR) since 2013. The major side effect is a compromised immune system which leaves me susceptible to infections such as colds and flu. To help me resist illness, I have had a series of five monthly immunoglobulin infusions in cooler weather months. Another side effect to the weak immune system has been an annoying tendency for skin cancers to occur and need treatment.
Recently, a stubborn squamous cell skin cancer required three weeks of radiation treatment after two surgical removals. During radiation I could not continue chemotherapy. After the necessary follow-up CT scan and meeting this week with my oncology team at Emory Winship Cancer Institute, I received a surprise. The levels of myeloma in my blood did not increase, even though I had been without chemotherapy for three months. My oncologist suggested that chemotherapy and immunoglobulin infusions be discontinued until further notice. Labs and office visits will continue every two months. The team will monitor my blood chemistry and will evaluate medication or treatment needs.
That was a great Thanksgiving blessing. For the first time in nearly nine years, I have no chemo prescription!
November 27, 2020