Last night, I watched the movie "Contagion". The movie was just OK, but I got a kick out of one of the lines in the film. One character was a blogger, who described himself as a writer, to which another character responded, "Blogging is not writing. It's graffiti with punctuation." Now I know what I am: a punctuating graffiti artist (PGA?). It's nice to know my place in the world.
Pat Killingsworth recently posted an interesting video by Dr. James Berenson, who gave an update during the recent ASH conference on the drug development pipeline for Myeloma. Here is the link:
I invite you to watch the video, even though it is sprinkled with lots of technical terms. He gives a very upbeat assessment of the status of the many new drugs under development for treating MM, especially for patients who fail their existing treatments. While these drugs have not yet achieved FDA approval, some are now in the approval process, while others may be available to patients in a clinical trial setting. It's encouraging to note that if a drug in a certain class stops working, other drugs in the same class may still be effective. Thus, if I became refractory to the proteasome inhibitor MLN9708, it could be effectively replaced by Velcade or Carfilzomib. Similarly, the immunomodulatory drug lenalidomide (Revlimid) could be replaced by thalidomide or pomalidomide. The bottom line is that there are now many tools available for treating MM. Dr. Berenson says that median life expectancies have gone from 30 months to 130 months over the last 10 years, and we are on the verge of regarding myeloma as a manageable rather than incurable disease. It's a very optimistic overview. I'll drink to that! (Oops, sorry Dr. Richardson.)
Last week we met with Muriel Gannon, the transplant nurse, who gave us a blow-by-blow description of what to expect throughout the transplant process. While it clearly won't be pleasant, knowing what is coming is more comforting than facing the unknown. I told her then that I was inclined to go immediately to transplant after stem cell collection, but that I wanted a confirming opinion from Dr. Richardson before finalizing that decision. She said she would email Richardson, who was in Ireland at the time (playing golf, I hope). Today she responded that "Dr. Richardson is very impressed with your Complete Response and told me we are good to go with the schedule as it is." So that's it...the die has been cast, the Rubicon crossed, the bridges burned, fait accompli. Let's go for it!
Yesterday, I got my new crown and bridge installed. It looks good, which it damn well better for the price I paid. I am also scheduled to go back to the dentist next week for the pre-transplant dental evaluation and x-rays, which is a prerequisite for getting approval for the ASCT. Since I have now taken care of all my dental work, I should be in good shape with that.