I have completed my first month of maintenance therapy on 10 mg/day of Revlimid. Monday, we went back to DFCI for blood tests and my monthly dose of the bisphophonate, Zometa, to help build up my bones. The blood tests results were fine, so I am doing well so far on the maintenance. My white blood cell and neutrophil counts are still low, but those are normal side effects of the Revlimid.
I am no longer meeting with Dr. Richardson, but rather with his nurse, Mary McKenney, along with the clinical trial nurse, Muriel. I miss not seeing Dr. Richardson on these visits, but the good news is that I'm doing well, so I don't need his expert intervention at this point in my treatment. Furthermore, I don't miss whiling away the extra two hours or so in the waiting room every visit because he always runs late.
I verified with Mary and Muriel that my latest pathology results confirm that I have not only reached sCR, but also IR based on the flow cytometry results. This is extremely good news, as I will explain further in a future post.
While at DFCI, I had the opportunity to attend the first fall meeting of the Writer's Workshop, which took a hiatus over the summer. I am finding this to be a very rich and stimulating experience. Amy Boesky, a professor of writing at BC, skillfully directs the discussions. There were about a dozen attendees for the two-hour session, including three "old timers" from last year.
What interesting people and what stories they have to share! Most are either battling cancer or are caring for a loved one who is. Their stories are wrenching and compelling, from the woman who was recovering from breast cancer only to find out she has lung cancer, to the wife whose life has been upended by her husband's brain tumor, to the mother who suffers as her young daughter endures prolonged chemotherapy. For most of them, writing gives them a means of catharsis and a chance to share their pain. I feel humbled to be in their presence. I am learning a lot from each of them, not only about writing, but about dealing with adversity.
I began attending this workshop in the hope of becoming a better writer as I embarked on publishing this blog. While that is still a goal, I am finding that it is an enriching experience in its own right. So far, I have combined attending this workshop with my appointments at Dana Farber, but I think I will make the monthly trip to Boston even if it doesn't coincide with my appointment schedule.
Our next writing assignment is to pick a place or a photograph that is particularly important to us, and write about what makes it meaningful. I have no idea what I am going to write about, but I'll think of something...I hope.