Last Friday, we went into DFCI for my blood draw and infusion of Velcade planned for Day 4 of Cycle 3. However, it didn't work out that way. One of the numbers they monitor closely during treatment is the absolute neutrophils count (ANC). Neutrophils are white blood cells that protect against infection. Since the previous Tuesday, my ANC went from 2,610/uL to 940! The cutoff threshold for a safe level is 1,000. As a result, I didn't get my Velcade push Friday, and I was told to stop taking the Revlimid as well until I go back again on Tuesday.
This was a bit disconcerting, as this has never happened to me in the past. The only time my ANC went below this was during my stem cell transplant, when it basically went to zero before my new stem cells rebuilt my immune system. However, Heather told us that this is a very common occurrence and not to be concerned about it. Still... I have to keep in mind that these are powerful chemo agents and that there is nothing routine about this therapy. Hopefully, everything will be copacetic by my next appointment tomorrow.
On the positive side, there was some good news that came out on Friday. The FDA granted accelerated approval for Kyprolis (carfilzomib) as a new treatment for patients with advanced Multiple Myeloma. Kyprolis is a proteasome inhibitor in the same class of drugs as Velcade and MLN9708. It is the first MM therapy drug approved by the FDA in the last six years and will hopefully be a harbinger of more drug approvals to come. This is another potential weapon in the arsenal against MM. I hope I won't need Kyprolis any time soon, but it sure is nice to know that it will be on the shelf if I do.
Today I had a followup visit with the orthopaedist to monitor my recovery from the ladder incident. Fortunately, the broken bone in my hand is healing fine and there is no residual rotator cuff problem in my left shoulder. My muscles are still a little sore, but that is normal, as they tend to heal slowly, so I came away with a clean bill of health. I am one lucky duck!
After my DFCI appointment tomorrow, I am off to sail on the bounding main for a couple of days with my friend, Lew. I am really looking forward to this, especially since I didn't do Block Island Race Week this year for the first time in twenty years.