Thursday, January 27, 2011


I have made the cut, I guess you could call it; I'm now in the Stanford CAL-101 trial, combined with rituximab.

This is a trial of weekly rituximab infusions, for eight weeks, combined with 150 mg of CAL-101 twice a day. The CAL tablets come in a prescription bottle, with a seal and, yes, even cotton at the top of the bottle. The nurse said that they have a drug company bottle the CAL for Calistoga.

I went in for imaging on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week; I had the CAL that afternoon, followed by 375 mg/m2 (the usual dose). I've had seven rituximab infusions before, with no problems.

This time was different. I don't know if it was the long day (up at 5:30 to get the MRI by 7:00), the MRI contrast (I was in that darn machine for over an hour), the CAL, or what, but at the 7/8 mark, I started to get nauseated. Yep, I threw up my day's gorp trail mix, bananas, and Gatorade is a disgusting mix. Two sets of multiple vomiting episodes. The first I didn't quite make it to the bathroom. I tried to hold it, but dragging a IV pole along for the ride didn't help. (I'm sorry, Ms. Housekeeper. I really am.)

I felt pretty rotten. I also got a bit chilled, but my blood pressure and temperature held at the normal level. I tried to tell the nurse practitioner this, but she was very Nurse Ratchet about the whole thing and stopped the infusion. I told her I didn't feel good and wanted to go home (home being a three hour drive). We compromised with her re-starting the infusion, and me promising to stay the night (at another $112) in super-expensive Palo Alto. (BTW, near Stanford, the lodging is even more expensive than La Jolla!)

The nurses made the reservation for me, which was really nice. I'm sure my green complexion motivated them, and since it was after 8 pm, they wanted to go home as badly as I did.

I got to the motel, locked the door, turned the heater on full blast, and promptly fell into a very deep sleep for five hours. I even fell asleep before I could floss and brush my teeth.

I felt much better when I awoke, though I had a splitting headache. That vanished by late morning. I putted around the motel (actually I watched an episode of The Sopranos. I've never seen the program, because I'm very put off by violence). This was on USA or some other network, so some of the violence was cut out. Still more violent than I wanted, so I changed the channel.

It's late evening, and I feel OK. However, with rituximab, I now need to be extra careful about avoiding infection. My numbers have been OK the past six months or so, and I've gotten out of the habit of being really vigilant. That has to change. Bummer.

1 comment: said...

I would like some futher information from barry b concerning his experience with rituxan and cal-101.