Sunday, July 10, 2011

Liver numbers have gone down on CAL-101

The good news is that my liver numbers, while still abnormal, are down considerably after I've reduced the dose of my CAL-101 from 3oo mg per day to 200.

The bad news is that my blood numbers are starting to deteriorate. My platelets have fallen drastically from 140,000 to 77,000. Dr. Kipps is worried and wants a new bone marrow biopsy. I told him I had one in the hospital last month. I told him I'd send him a copy (or rather, I'd ask UC Davis to send him the results). When I called Davis and asked them to fax a copy to Dr. Kipps, they offered to mail a copy to me. I said OK.

I read through the report and it's troubling. I have converted from about 11% 11q del to about 70%. Curiously, the rest of the CLL cells are positive for 13q14, which I've never seen in my reports before.

The worst part is that my cells are showing signs of 'clonal evolution' towards MDS.

The biggest mistake in my life (doing FCR based on glowing recommendation of Dr. Weirda) is perhaps coming back to haunt me. MDS is a killer, and should prevent most people from taking FCR, unless there are no other options. There were options for me, and I wish I had taken them.

In the era of CAL-101 and other kinase inhibitors, CLL may be a much more manageable disease. The CLL patient may be treated more like the chronic disease patient he is, rather than hitting him with the big guns.

Taking FCR may force mutations in the CLL cells that lead to terrible consequences. I know that Dr. Hamblin snarkily said that I 'just got the gummy side of the lollipop stick', but that flippant remark belies the terrible outcome for many FCR patients, who will die much earlier than they would if they eschewed that dangerous drug combination.