It's been 3 months since Bruce was initially diagnosed and it's been a rough road. Each and every day has brought a significant amount of pain. Not the kind of pain that a couple Ibuprofen can take care of, but deep, intense bone and nerve pain that often leaves him huddled on the bed with no relief. I wish, for his sake, that this were an exaggeration. Sadly, it's not. He somehow manages his sense of humor with the girls and continues to help with homework (thank God). He's rarely upset. His bone pain subsided after his first cycle of chemotherapy but plasma cell tumors developed on his spine. The tumors are large enough that they push on the nerves and create unmanageable pain in his back which radiates down his arm. In late February he received a 5 day dose of radiation for a large tumor located on his T2 vertebra. An MRI confirmed that radiation did shrink the tumor and he was relieved of pain. In late April another tumor developed on his T1 vertebra which, again, created intense pain. The picture shows him receiving radiation to shrink the T1 tumor. He is currently undergoing a 10 day dose of radiation which will be complete on May 26.
After his initial diagnosis, Bruce began a standard treatment chemotherapy protocol for Multiple Myeloma with an IgG protein factor. The drug regimen was a combination of Revlimid, Velcade and Dexamethasone which he took for a cycle of 2 weeks on, one week off. He also receives monthly intravenous injections of Zometa to promote bone health.
Unfortunately, in his third cycle, Bruce experienced a set-back; he developed Shingles from the Velcade. Removing Velcade from the protocol, he set forth with his final chemotherapy cycle of Revlimid and Dexamethasone and finished, what we hope, to be his last round of chemotherapy the week of May 15.
At this point, Bruce’s blood work indicates a protein factor low enough to proceed with an autologous stem cell transfer. A bone marrow biopsy was performed to confirm his labs and hopefully he will begin the elaborate process on May 29.
I'm sure it's going through everyone's mind - did we seek a second opinion? You can bet when dealing with a scientist and someone who has a tendency to err on the side of caution (some may call it neurotic) that we actually sought third and fourth opinions. Multiple Myeloma is very dynamic and every diagnosis is different but the treatment plan is consistent. The City of Hope has been a tremendous resource for us and we have collaborated with Dr. Krishnan who is an expert in blood cancers, specifically MM.