Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting for the Platelets to Recover

The platelets were at 18 yesterday when we went to The Cancer Center. They gave her an infusion of platelets. We will go back Thursday and have them checked again.

We received the results of the Freelite test from last Thursday. They increased from 62 mg/L to 72 mg/L. We were hoping they would go down since this was 3 weeks after the start of this last chemo cycle. I think it is a time for a change of the treatment plan since the Melphalan is hard on her blood counts and the free light number countinues to go up.

Her hemoglobin recovered nicely after the red blood cell infusion. It went from 8.4 to 12.5 G/dL (12.0 – 16.0).

We are crossing our fingers on the constipation issue.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Platelets Continue to Drop

Her platelets are at 20 today. She received the two bags of red blood cells yesterday. That perked her up quite a bit. They did remove the nasal tube yesterday which felt much better. Her stomach and bowels seem to be doing okay today so they are letting her go home today.

We will go to the doctors office tomorrow to get the blood checked for the falling platelets. Hopefully they will start to recover before she needs a transfusion of them. Platelets have a life span of 5 to 10 days. At the rate they are decreasing it appears her bone marrow is not producing many.

If she had not taken this cycle of chemo treatment we would not have had all these issues including the emergency room visit and hospital stay. I hope the Melphalan and Dex did some damage to the myeloma cells. This is the catch 22 of cancer treatment. Do you want to die from the treatment or the cancer? Would you rather have two years of life fighting the cancer resulting in low quality of life or one year of life without chemo and a better quality of life?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Succumbing to another round of chemo.

Rebecca is in the hospital receiving a couple of bags of red blood cells. That is not why she is in the hospital though. On Thursday we went to a regular doctors appointment. Her hematocrit was down to 23 and her platelets were down to 29. The plan was to get a shot the next day of something to stimulate the release of more red blood cells.

On the way home we picked up some food from a deli. About an hour after she ate she started to get nauseated and diarrhea. We ended up in the emergency room. Initially thought it might be food poisoning but no one else got sick who ate the same food. After an X-ray showed the small intestines to be dilated they labeled it ileus. A non physical blockage if the small intestine. I would assume her peristalsis is slowed way down due to the high amount of pain medicine and/or the neuropathy. Her stomach was very distended and firm. They put a nasal tube into her stomach. Not much liquid came out but some gas may have been released since her stomach went down.

They shut the suction off yesterday. They should be able to remove the nasal tube today. Then she can try to take more by mouth.

The platelets dropped to 23 today. Surprisingly the absolute neutrophils are at 1.96. After the last cycle of melphalan they had dropped to 0.8.

Managing bowel movement is very critical. During the last cycle she had diarrhea about three weeks into the cycle. So this time we cut back on the anti constipation medicine some. I guess it was to much. We have decided it is better to have diarrhea than constipation.

Rebecca will not be happy with me talking about her bowels.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taking another dose of Melphalan

Rebecca started taking the 10 mg/day of melphalan two weeks ago. She is also taking 20 mg/day of Dex once a week for four weeks. She is not doing well. She is having nausea and considerable pain in the stomach. She has two doses of Dex left starting tomorrow. I would recommend she not take it.

We go to the doctor in a week. We will see how much her blood counts have been impacted by the chemo. She will also have a Freelite test. It takes about a week to get the results back from that test.

I still think she should take a couple of months off from chemo and see what the myeloma does. Some people live with the effects of the myeloma better than the effects of the chemo.

Here are some of her lab results from 4/08/2011:

WBC = 3.5 (4.8 - 10.8)
RBC = 3.0 (4.2 - 5.4)
HGB = 10.5 (12.0 - 16.0)
PLT = 91 (130 - 400)