Those of us in the myeloma community have gotten accustomed to a series of acronyms that classify the results of various trials and treatments. OS = Overall Survival. PFS=Progression Free Survival. ORR=Overall Response Rate. There is PR for Partial Reponse and even NPR for Near Partial Response. But the best one is CR which indicates Complete Remission.
The results of my recent bone marrow biopsy show no evidence of active cancer cells. That puts me in CR – COMPLETE REMISSION!
It is an excellent result and what we have been striving for. However, it should not be confused with “cured”. To date, there is no cure for Multiple Myeloma. So there is no guarantee that it won’t come back in a day or a week or a year or 10 years. Unfortunately, with MM you are never out of the woods. In fact, it is more likely than not that it will recur at some point. But the objective for the bone marrow transplant (BMT) was to achieve CR and it is felt that the BMT is the best way to extend the duration of the CR and increase the length of my OS and PFS. And the general feeling is that the longer it takes to recur, the better the chances are that new therapies will be available. But even if it were to recur tomorrow, there are still some novel therapies that have not yet been administered to me. And since I have already proven to be very responsive to therapy, the overall prognosis is very encouraging.
So, make no mistake about it. This is not only good news, it is the best possible news.
As for my current physical status, I’ve returned to work and am now playing tennis regularly. About the only thing left is to get my hair back and there seems to be some progress on that front as well. It is subtle, but the residual hair on my scalp has started turning dark…which indicates that the pigment is kicking in and we should start seeing less scalp relatively soon.
So, all good news on the cancer front for me. I wish the same for my fellow travelers.