Living with multiple myeloma: Pomalyst chemo cycle 1 week 1

Reflecting on Wreck Beach, first cycle of Pomalyst chemo todayWreck Beach: Reflecting on new chemo treatment

This morning, I began a new cycle of treatment called Pomalyst (Pomalidomide). I’m on a 28 day cycle in which I take one pill (4mg) a day for 21 days and then get 7 days off. Pomalyst is combined with dexamethasone (referred to as Pom/dex) to enhance its effectiveness. I will take 10 pills every 7 days (each is 4mg), so 40mg in total every week. I picked up an 8 week supply from the BC Cancer Agency last week. What was very helpful is that the Pharmacist that gave me my dexamethasone also gave me some recommended dietary advice and information about how this steroid drug will affect me. For example, I should take it in the morning with breakfast preferably with water or juice.

PomalystPomalyst chemo pills

Potential side effects of Pomalyst include constipation and diarrhea. There is also a concern that blood clotting may occur, so I take baby aspirin daily, which functions as a blood thinner. Potential side effects of dexamethasone include insomnia, depression, weakened immune system, bone loss, increased appetite and weight gain. I really need to watch my health and listen to my body during my treatment, lots of bad things can happen to my body.

DexamethasoneDexamethasone (steroid) pills

As a multiple myeloma patient, I’m already at a high risk of bone loss and of developing osteoporosis, so it is especially important that I do what I can during treatment to keep my bones strong. The BC Cancer Agency recommends I get 1000 mg of calcium daily, but that I don’t exceed 2500 mg. I get get that from foods such as milk, sardines, and cheese. I can also use a supplement such as calcium carbonate at doses of 500mg or less. They recommend I get 600 IU of Vitamin D but don’t exceed 4000 IU. I can get Vitamin D from fish, milk and eggs. Again, I can also use a multivitamin or a mineral supplement. It is also recommended that I eat protein daily and be physically active.

I’m staying confident that I will respond positively to treatment. I will continue to use photography and self-portraits for health, healing, and happiness.

I’m focused on staying positive each day.

To recap: I have Multiple Myeloma and anemia, a rare blood cancer. It is incurable, but treatable. From February to November 2013, I received Velcade chemo through weekly in-hospital injections as an outpatient. From February 9th 2015, I am on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex).

Vancouver through raindropsJanuary 2015: Vancouver through raindrops

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