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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I'm Back

When I last blogged, I was looking forward to leaving the subzero weather in Massachusetts to golf in 40 degree weather in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.  Well, as it turns out, that was pretty optimistic as the weather was mostly in the 30's there last week.  Considering that it was 9 degrees below zero here the morning I left here (!!), I can't really complain.  Thank goodness I packed warm clothes!  We had two decent golf days with weather in the 40's, but we had to really bundle up for the rest of the week.  One day got washed out completely with torrential rains, and the fairways were pretty slushy for most of the week.  But you know what?  We still had a great time!  It's an awesome group and we enjoyed each others' company, with lots of jokes, ribbing, and banter.  The meals, prepared by our resident cooks, Paul and Joe, were delicious as usual.  What a great time!  It was a nice respite from the craziness of the move.  I felt bad about leaving Gretchen alone to deal with all the unpacking, but she assures me that she was fine with it.  She had a lot of friends helping her last week, and she said she had a lot of fun, so I guess it worked out well.

I went to the Farber yesterday for my checkup and Zometa infusion.  I'm happy to say that my numbers are still great!  My recent iron infusion has still overcome my previous anemia, so those numbers remain good as well.  My most very favorite nurse, Heather, administered my Zometa infusion, and she asked how I was doing.  She was very happy for me, but she also told me about how many patients she sees who are not doing so well.  It then really hit me again how very lucky I am right now!  I need to count my blessings every day that I am still disease free!  It has been almost 3 years since my stem cell transplant, which is amazing.  Thank you Paul Richardson, thank you for the clinical trial with MLN9708, thank you for the stem cell transplant clinical trial, and thank you Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  What more can I say?

I recently blogged about my MM patient friend, Steve, from Buffalo, who enlisted in a clinical trial for MM at the Farber for the experimental drug, ibrutinib.  Here is a link to that posting:  Ibrutinib clinical trial.  Unfortunately, Steve didn't find a benefit for himself from this trial, so he has dropped out, but there is encouraging news about ibrutinib.  I picked up the most recent issue of "Inside the Institute" at the Farber yesterday, and it had an article about the FDA approving ibrutinib for a rare blood cancer closely related to MM: Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia.  Ibrutinib targets a protein called BTK in malignant B cells.  It has already been approved for three other types of blood cancers.    This shows that a single agent can be effective against multiple types of cancers, providing they spring from the same molecular mechanism.  There is still hope that it can be effective against MM.

There are more and more results coming out these days about therapies that work for multiple cancer types.  Ibrutinib is just another example.  Despite my friend Steve's disappointing experience, this drug may provide some benefit to other MM patients.  It is just another arrow in the growing quiver of drugs that may provide either a control or possibly even a cure for Multiple Myeloma.  Let's hope.


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