Sunday, August 15, 2010

Things pretty much the same

No real changes to report. I have been a bit bothered by some pain in my duodenum. I found this out when I took a couple of aspirin because of some severe back pain I was having. I hurt my back when I filled my car up with gas. Perhaps a somatic response to the pain of paying $50 for a fill-up.

Anyway, besides the back pain, the pain in my duodenum, and miscellaneous pains elsewhere, more due perhaps to advancing age than the CLL, I have been feeling fairly well. I know that the average remission after flavopiridol (Alvocidib) is only nine months for 11q- folks like myself, so I'm half-way there. (My last treatment was in March.)

Unlike many chemotherapy regimes, most responders respond as well the second time to flavopiridol as they did the first time. I must be frank and tell you that I simply don't look forward to giving another eight months over to feeling fairly rotten two days of the week, four weeks in a row, with a blessed two week holiday after each cycle.

But if it keeps me alive, I would do it again.

And I understand that the treatment pattern has changed in the trial. Now, apparently, they are giving the drug for three weeks in a row, with two weeks off. Well, that's better than nothing!

My personal feeling (which may be totally without foundation) is that they might give flavopiridol once a month as a maintenance dose for those who do respond. The drug, it turns out, does depress the neutrophils, and perhaps the platelets, and the hemoglobin levels. So contrary to what I was given to understand, there is some hematologic effects.

In any case, I will see Dr. Kipps within the month, to see how I am doing. Since I stupidly did FCR, I am at a higher risk for MDS and Richter's transformation.

BTW, I did get a once-over by the dermatologist, and seem to be free from the other scourge of CLL patients, melanoma. I also have a fair number of dysplastic moles from my days as a frequent swimmer, hiker, and all-around pool guy. I love the out-of-doors, but there can be a price to be paid.

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