Wednesday, October 16, 2013

First Visit to Dana Farber

I guess you know by now that I have cancer or you would not be reading this. 

It all started about 3 1/2 weeks ago when I was hauling out our swim platform. I hurt my back - slightly. A few days later, while picking apples, it got really bad. After a week and a half, I went to my doctor and then, on Saturday, October 5, my doctor called and told me the news. Multiple Myeloma. The good news is that it is a highly treatable cancer and some people live with it for years. The bad news is that there is no cure. 

The time since then has been kind of a blur with two more trips to Boston, a whole bunch of X-Rays, a cat scan and on Tuesday, our first trip to Dana Farber Cancer Institute. My primary care doctor is very well connected and got us in to see Dr. Paul Richardson who is the clinical director for Multiple Myeloma at Dana Farber. We are confident that we are getting the best care available. 

We (Barbara and I) have been offered the chance to participate in a Clinical Study. We are inclined to accept, but want to discuss it with our Primary Care doctor first. He is away this week, but will be back on Monday. Note that the trial is VERY similar to what they call the "Standard of Care" for this disease, so it is not as if there is some chance that I will end up taking a placebo. The difference is mostly a slight deviation in the order of treatments. 

Whether we participate in the trial or not, the treatments will start off being relatively easy. It starts with a three drug cocktail called RVD. Two are oral and one is injected twice a week in Boston. I am told that my hair will not fall out - not that it would make all that much difference.  Then later, I will probably be subjected to a "Stem Cell Transplant" which promises to be less fun and have me in the hospital for three weeks. During this, what little hair I have WILL fall out. After that, they monitor me. 

So, that is the plan. Meanwhile, I am nursing my continuing bad back. I can mostly sit pretty comfortably and walk around, but I can't lift anything much heavier than a coffee cup (or a wine glass). They have also given me some pretty good drugs. We hope to see someone this week who will give me something to help my bones to heal and this too will help the back pain. 

So, that is our first update. More to follow.



  1. Hi WP, this is a very good idea. I want to subscribe but the link didn't seem to work. I would be very interested in the dietary suggestions, especially if it is generally healthy eating stuff. Thank you for sharing your journey. All my love, Robin

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. My Doctor recommends a book entitled "The Cancer Fighting Kitchen" by Rebecca Katz