Month: August 2004

Possible trials

Dr. O. told me about a few trials that are going to be open possibly in December for me. One has to do with anti-interleuken 6. The other, which I didn’t pay as close attention to, has to do with enhancing natural killer cell activity. I told him it sounds like a PS2 game!

I’m interested in the anti-IL-6 trial. He said it has been tested on patients with renal cell carcinoma. While it didn’t work for hem, the trial showed that the treatment was well tolerated. It would involve an infusion every two weeks. I’ll get more information from him and do more studying, then I’ll post it here.

Latest Labs

My latest labs indicate that my serum IgA went down. I don’t know why or how, but I’m happy for it. I could tell there was going to be a change, because my total protein value was down for the first time in a while. It was at 6.7 mg/dL. The next day, I called in to see what my IgA was. Sure enough, it was 854 mg/dL.

This is an overview of the last four months. Normal IgA ranges from 40-390 mg/dL:

Date Value
25 Aug 2004 854 mg/dL
21 Jul 2004 946 mg/dL
23 Jun 2004 1177 mg/dL
19 May 2004 996 mg/dL


I saw Dr. Comeau, one of the transplant doctors at UNC last week. This was my second time meeting him, although I don’t think he remembered me. We talked about what the program at UNC entails. It’s all online at One of the things we talked about is my sensitivity to drugs. I experience side effects at low doses. I had a time with thalidomide and am having difficulties with dex. One thing he told me is that before I go through high dose chemo, I have to lose 20-30 lbs. That will help reduce some of the toxicity, since the dose is determined by weight.


I have an appointment with one of the BMT doctors at UNC on August 19th. We’ll talk about all that’s involved. Does anyone have any suggestions for questions I should ask? UNC does have a nice site they use to explain the process:

The thing that scares me the most is the high dose chemo. I seem to be sensitive to drugs, and (I think I wrote about this before) my primary MM doc says that he has concerns about this. I’ll naturally bring this up with the BMT doc when I see him.

I am always interested in learning about the experiences of others with their stem cell transplants. If you can relay your story, and would like to share with others, I made a special section on called “Stem Cell Stories.”

New dex schedule

The last several months, I’ve been on 60mg dex per week, which is 260mg per month. I changed my schedule to see if I could tolerate it better. This month I’m taking 40mg on the 1st and 2nd, then 20 on the 3rd & 4th. Then I’ll have a break and take 40 on the 15th & 16th, and 20 on the 17th & 18th. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I got a prescription for Prevacid (30 mg daily) and it has really put a huge dent in my dex indigestion! I haven’t suffered at all today, thank goodness.