Week 187 of chemo complete: Cancer levels still rising, ready for new treatment options

Looks like it is time for new treatment options. My monthly blood test results for September show that my cancer levels (m protein) have increased again. With my Ninlaro and Pomalyst chemo, I was given dexamethasone for 4 weeks at 40mg/week and for 3 weeks at 20mg/week when the blood test was taken. I’m no longer on dexamethasone after 8 weeks (2 cycles).

M protein (g/L) (0 = no cancer detected)
Sept = 41
Aug = between 37 and 38
July = between 31 and 32
June = 25

It is surprising that my cancer levels are not dropping. Each monthly blood test result since Spring shows more cancer cells in my bone marrow to attack my immune system than the previous month. This really isn’t sustainable.

I’m not stressed. Multiple myeloma is an incurable, but treatable rare cancer. Sometimes chemo works, sometimes it doesn’t. When I see my Myeloma Specialist later in the month, I have complete confidence that we will find an effective treatment. Looking forward to lower and stable cancer levels again soon.

Everything’s going to work out.

M protein (g/L) (0 = no cancer detected)
Sept = 41
Aug = between 37 and 38
July = between 31 and 32
June = 25
May = 20
Apr = 20
Mar = 13
Feb = value missing (believe similar to January)
Jan 2018 = 13 (began Ninlaro chemo – Jan 8th)
Dec = between 10 and 11
Nov = 8
Late Oct = 9
Early Oct = between 5 and 6
Sept = under 7.7
Aug 2017 = value missing
Feb 2015 (began Pomalyst chemo + dexamethasone) = 36.1

Photo: What is going here?
This self-portrait represents the questions going on in my mind. When you click a lamp’s switch you expect it to turn on, because it turned on the last time you tried. If it doesn’t you check and make sure it is plugged in. If it is, you simply figure the bulb has burnt out, and you look for a replacement.

I’m sitting here trying to understand how chemo + dexamethasone, which lowered my cancer levels and kept them stable last year, isn’t working now. I figure that my current chemo treatment is exhausted – burnt out and isn’t able to effectively fight my myeloma.

It is time for something different.

Week 187 of chemo complete:  Cancer levels still rising, ready for new treatment options

On Sunday, Sept 9th, I completed Cycle 47 Week 3. I have multiple myeloma and anemia, a rare cancer of the immune system. Multiple myeloma affects the plasma cells, a type of immune cell that produces antibodies to fight infection. These plasma cells are found in the bone marrow. As a blood cancer, it is incurable, but treatable. Since February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and Dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/Dex). On July 16th 2017, my Dexamethasone treatment ended, due to right eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th, 2018 I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels. On July 23rd, dexamethasone (40mg) was added to my Ninlaro and Pomalyst chemo treatment, due to excessively high cancer levels.

Take a book, return a bookMay 2014: Granville Island

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