Two weeks ago we went to the doctor and discussed treatment options again with the doctor. After that appointment, we decided that we are going to go ahead and try Revlimid. It is primarily used for Multiple Myloma treatment, but it has been proven to have some success in other blood cancers, such as Hodgkin’s. It has fairly low toxicity, so it’s a less intensive option to try at this point. It only has about 30% of working, and 10% chance of possibly putting the cancer into remission, but those are the odds we’re looking at for most treatments these days. So, we figured we might as well try this one first.
The drug is highly controlled because it is a close derivative of Thalidomide, the drug that was known to cause “flipper babies” back in the 70’s. The drug company distributes it only through specialty pharmacies, and those pharmacies then deliver the drug directly into the hands of either Brian or I. The highest risks are birth defects, so obviously they stipulate that you can absolutely not get pregnant while on the drug. Other risks are possible blood clots, and the most common is the decrease in blood counts. This will cause Brian to get very fatigued.
Brian got the pills this past Tuesday, so he started them that night. So far, he’s had a few weird things that could be possible side effects…leg cramps, upset stomach, back pain, feeling hot, etc.
He will do this pill for 21 days straight, and then take a 7 day break. That counts as one “cycle.” We will do 2-4 cycles before we do a PET scan to see if the drug has had any affect on the cancer, and then go from there.
Obviously I hate that he has to be on any treatment or drug…I hate that it causes so many little side effects that can just damper his mood or physical feeling. But, I am still grateful that we have a few options to even try…so I suppose if every cloud has a silver lining, that may be the silver lining to this whole deal.
I’m preparing to leave on a missions trip to Sierra Leone (more about that in the next blog..) and I will be gone for 10 days. Knowing that Brian will be on this treatment without being able to be with him is very hard…it is just another dynamic of trusting that God is a better caregiver than I could ever be. Still hard.
So that’s the update for Brian, for now….