Author: Beth

I was diagnosed with MM in January of 2003. I underwent various treatments, including thalidomide/dex, revlimid/dex, dex alone, a clinical trial of CNTO 328, and Velcade, Doxil and dex until late August, 2007, when I had an autologous stem cell transplant after high dose melphalan. I experienced what's known as a very good partial response (VGPR). Since then, my myeloma has been stable.

Bone Marrow Biopsy

I had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday.  It was supposed to be tomorrow, but it got moved up a few days so they can try to get me admitted on the 25th to start the trial.

I hung out for a while afterwards to talk to the lab folks, and they answered all of my questions about the processes involved in getting the samples to the labs. This photo is a picture of a piece of the bone they removed.

If you’ve had one of these procedures, you know that the provider (that’s what they call doctors, NPs, & PAs now) withdraws some of the liquid from the bone and also take a sample of the bone itself. The part of the procedure that’s most uncomfortable for me is when they aspirate the liquid part of the marrow.  It produces a sharp pain the goes all the way to my feet. It’s over in an instant.

Mayo Clinic has a good reference here: Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration – Mayo Clinic.

My provider did a terrific job, and I think I have to say that it was the best bmb ever!  I am definitely going to leave a good review on Yelp.  Now there are two people I know I can ask for, and I know the pain will be insignificant and it will be done quickly. I just love it when it turns out that way.

Before I begin the procedure, I ask for Ativan, by the way. I get 2 mg in my port, and I’m good to go. I shouldn’t say this out loud, but I kind of wish I could have Ativan a lot more often!

In a previous post, I included a picture I took of the biopsy needle.  That was from 2005, so there’s definitely been some improvement in the devices they use. Some of the providers use an electric drill. I’ll try to get a picture.  I’ve only had a drill used once.

The bmb was the last thing I had to do to get qualified for the trial. Now I just need to wait for the full test results to be reviewed by the drug company. More to come soon.

 

Daratumumab, Pomalyst & Talquetamab Trial

I’ve signed consents and started testing for a new trial using daratumumab (dara), pomalyst (pom) & a new drug called talquetamab.  The one thing I have left to do is the bone marrow biopsy, which will be done next Thursday.  Here’s a link to the info about the trial.

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04108195

I’ve had another PET scan since I last posted, and a few spots have gotten worse.  It’s disconcerting. But, I hope the trial drugs will stop the myeloma and give me time to wait for some more treatments to come down the pipeline.  This is different for me, because I’ve never had bone issues before & I assumed I never would.  There’s some pain associated with it, especially in my spine and left hip.

I’ve had dara and pom together before, but just briefly.  Daratumumab is also known as Darzalex®.  This version is called DARZALEX FASPRO®.  Is it supposed to be all caps, or is Janssen shouting at me?  The reason this version of the drug is different, is that it’s given as a subcutaneous injection, rather than by IV (which is how I had it some years ago).  We must remember to the ® when we write about daratumumab by its brand name. ; )

This trial requires a hospital stay of up to 10 days.  The reason for that is that the injections can cause cytokine release syndrome (CRS).  I had grade one CRS when I had my first infusion of the Teneobio drug in the last trial/treatment.  I’m expected to have that again, and one doctor told me the second injection will be worse than the first. I’ll be on the BMT unit, which has nice rooms. I hope I’ll have a nice view!

Speaking of nice views, these are some Carolina Chickadees I saw in the back yard a few days ago.


I’ll let you know how everything goes.

I’m out of the TNB-383B trial

Things have taken an unexpected turn.  While my blood tests looked pretty good, my PET scan results were disappointing. The PET scan showed that I’m not okay, and I am no longer eligible for the trial because of disease progression.

Here’s what the report said:

MUSCULOSKELETAL: Multiple hypermetabolic osseous lesions in the appendicular skeleton, including the right proximal humerus, left distal humerus, and bilateral femurs. Index right proximal humerus lesion SUV max 2.11 (image 114).

Multiple hypermetabolic osseous lesions in the axial skeleton, most significant in the right eccentric L1 vertebral body, SUV max 8.37 (image 184). Index proximal left sacral lesion SUV max 6.40 (image 243). Index distal left sacral lesion SUV max 4.89 (image 255). Index lesion in the left iliac bone adjacent to the SI joints, SUV max 2.42 compared to 1.9 previously (image 232).

On Tuesday, I had another bone marrow biopsy. On Wednesday, I saw the PET scan with my own eyes. It was a bit horrifying to me. I have never, in my 18 years with myeloma, had bone issues.  Suddenly, there it is.  “Worsened diffuse metastatic disease in the axial and appendicular skeleton in the setting of multiple myeloma as detailed above.”

I have a few FDA approved drugs I can try, and I have some more trials I could try.  There’s one drug called selinexor that I’m passing on.  My doctor says it takes a lot of meds to control the nausea associated with it.  I would simply do almost anything to avoid nausea. The other FDA drug I haven’t tried yet is something called BLENREP.  Here’s what caught my attention immediately: “BLENREP can cause changes to the surface of your eye that can lead to dry eyes, blurred vision, worsening vision, severe vision loss, and corneal ulcer. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any vision changes or eye problems during treatment with BLENREP.”

I am considering enrolling in another trial.  I’ll get more details on that soon.

 

Still on TNB-383B

Not much is going on.  I’m still in the TNB-383B trial.  I’ve been receiving the drug since November, 2020.

I’ve had no noticeable side effects, which is nice.  One thing that it does is knock my IgG abnd IgA way down.  I’ve been having monthly IVIG for that reason.

for some time now, there’s been no m-spike detected.

“Varying Intervals”

I had my second infusion of TNB-383B yesterday.  There were no immediate side effects of the infusion. It was explained to me that some people have a recurrence of cytokine release syndrome (CRS), which could be as bad as the CRS accompanying the first infusion, or less severe. I had none, thank goodness.  While mine was only a grade 1 CRS, it may as well have been a grade 1,000,000 to me!  My sympathy goes out to everyone who has ever suffered CRS at any level.

The one thing that surprised me is that I’ve had nausea and vomiting from time to time over the last three weeks. The nausea ranges from mild queasiness to the “get me a bucket” kind. That reference will make sense to Monty Python fans. I spoke to a Cancer Center pharmacist, who told me to stagger my anti-nausea meds for a few days to stay covered. Maybe I can let up after that, and just take them when I first notice I’m starting to feel bad.  I have Zofran and Compazine. I think Compazine is working better for me.

I reported this unwanted side effect to the research staff. I asked if others are experiencing nausea and vomiting, and one RN said some are, “at varying intervals.”  What I’m hoping is that it will subside after I get adjusted to the drug.  Maybe soon?  I sure hope so!  I also hope this won’t affect you.

TNB-383B Phase I Trial

I recently enrolled in a clinical trial at Wake Forest Baptist Health.  A phase I trial to test TeneoBio’s TNB-383B. Before this, I spent several months on carfilzomib, dex, and cyclophosphamide.  Test results and bone marrow biopsy indicated I was relapsing.

TNB-383B is a BCMA x CD3 T-cell engaging bispecifc antibody being studied in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least 3 prior lines of therapy.

TNB-383B is being developed by TeneoOne through Phase 1. AbbVie holds the exclusive right to acquire TeneoOne and lead subsequent global development and commercialization of TNB-383B.

AbbVie, Inc. “TNB-383B.” AbbVie. Accessed November 24, 2020. https://www.abbvie.com/our-science/pipeline/tnb-383b.html.

I had one infusion of the drug almost two weeks ago. The first infusion required a hospital stay due to the potential for serious side effects, primarily cytokine release syndrome and tumor lysis syndrome. It sounds scarier than it was, in my case.
About two hours after the infusion of TNB-383B I began to experience an extreme skin sensitivity, aching joints — mostly knuckles and elbows, rigors, headache, and a fever of something over 103 degrees F.  I’m not sure what the ultimate high temperature was.  I had not known about rigors before this event.  I don’t think I was shivering as much as what I’ve heard others talk about.  I was extremely cold, and I think I was constantly begging for a blanket.  I don’t really remember everything!  I was aware at some point that they were talking about testing me for Covid-19, just to make sure that wasn’t the cause of the symptoms.  They were also giving me fluids and Tylenol.  I remember being wheeled to an isolation room, which was something they did as a precaution. In case I had Covid-19. My blood pressure also dropped about 30 points.  I had a rapid heart rate, too.  I heard a nurse talking about giving me morphine, which I declined.  I’m not sure why I did that.  Later I learned that morphine helps with rigors.
I could tell the efforts of the staff were beginning to be successful when I was no longer cold. Isn’t it weird that having a high fever would make me cold? Throughout the next few days, I was given fluids and Tylenol.
By the way, I was not positive for Covid-19.  And, the swab test is not as bad as the crybabies on TV have reported. :  )  I guess it’s all relative. If you’ve had bone marrow biopsies and bone fractures, no swab into the nasal cavity is going to bother you.
Next time, I’ll post some of the test results.

Update about treatment – maintenance

Hi –

Sorry I haven’t updated the blog in a long time.

I did pretty well (number-wise) on the carfilzomib/cyclo/dex protocol.  I did feel kind of crummy after treatment, though. By February of 2020, my doctor decided I could do a few more cycles and then go on maintenance.

Because of the pandemic, I was put on maintenance therapy of just carfilzomib every other week in March. That way, my visits to the clinic would be limited.  More so than the twice a week for 3 weeks every month. My doctor even moved my treatment to a satellite clinic in another town so I could avoid contact with so many people.

I’ll post some test results soon.  Thanks for hanging in there.

Take care, everyone.