Huh? That was our reaction today at Berenson. He mentioned that after the upcoming cycle of chemo we'll talk about moving to the maintenance phase. Good news for sure, but also a little scary. Several months ago, we had abandoned our 3rd different mix of drugs and I was thinking I might not see 2012. Nothing was working. Then we changed to Treanda (along with some other drugs). Treanda isn't a myeloma drug and as Berenson said today, I might be the only person in the world on this Treanda mix. But it works, and I feel great and my numbers reflect my improvement. I don't feel 100%....not where I was before having cancer. And my numbers aren't saying I am in complete remission. But we're almost at a point where we have this thing under control. What is maintenance you may ask. Well it means I take a few drugs at home, do regular labs and keep our eye on this. It essentially means myeloma is more of a chronic disease. That is a million times better than where I was a few months back.
Typically 8 cycles of chemo is the max for myeloma. More than that takes a toll on the body. After all poisons are being pumped into the body. I've been real lucky, I haven't had any huge adverse side effects from chemo. But given my improvement and that unseen physical toll that the chemo drugs can have, Dr B is thinking with my next visit, after this upcoming cycle, we might want to discuss moving to maintenance.
This is awesome news, but also scary, as I said. It took so long to get this shit under control, that I don't want to give it any chance to come back. I'm used to chemo, I'm in a routine, and it works. So the thought of stopping is a bit anxiety inducing. But I am jumping the gun a bit, I need to get through this next cycle and then we'll have the conversation with Berenson.
Doc Berenson was also pleased and surprised with my kidney improvement.He hasn't seen a lot of kidneys come back from how bad mine were. But like everything else with this disease, I'm an oddball and an outlier.
Lastly, I think Dr Berenson deserves some real kudos. I made sure to thank him today. He's put together a treatment program that works and I feel good. So forward we go.
The LLS has a whole host of free booklets on key support topics. Follow this link to download or order. One such booklet has to do with ...