Search: “dexamethasone”

Sleep is good

When I got home from having Doxil and Velcade yesterday, I could hardly stay awake. I have benedryl in my IV to try to keep me from getting those hives from the Velcade. They’re not completely eliminated, but much less severe with the benedryl and dexamethasone. However, it makes me very sleepy! It’s amazing that when I have IV benedryl, it has this effect on me. When I take a pill, I hardly feel it at all. I can feel the benedryl move up the veins in my arm when it’s pushed. It burns. Then I feel like I’m drunk. When I get home, all I want to do is sleep. So, that’s what I do. It’s not as though I have a choice.

Today I got up early. I bought some sod for the back yard, and someone came to lay it down, but his helper left at lunch time. After lunch, I looked out the window and saw him and his mamacita working out there, so I decided to go help them. Boy, is that back breaking work! I had done another part of the yard a few months ago, which is why I decided to hire someone to do it this time. Thank goodness it started to rain. We all got to quit then.

Anyway, after working hard today and having chemo yesterday, I’m beat. It will be an early night for me.

Effectiveness of bortezomib (Velcade)

Until I just did some reading, I hadn’t realized that Velcade doesn’t work for about 2/3 of us. I have been told by my doctor, however, that it does seem to work especially well for IgA MM patients (I’m one of those).

“Bortezomib seems to work in about one-third of patients who use it, but we have not been able to predict which ones,” says the study’s lead author, Leif Bergsagel, M.D., a hematologist at Mayo Clinic Arizona. “We now have identified a group that will likely respond because these nine mutations seem to be present in at least 25 percent of newly diagnosed patients.” From

The combination of Velcade + Doxil does have better results in people who respond to it. Based on a study conducted at UNC and other places, Dr. Orlwoski reports, “the combination group’s median time to progression – the time interval between the response to treatment and the time the disease starts to show evidence of growing or recurring – was 9.3 months, while those on Velcade alone progressed after 6.5 months.”
From: One question I have to remember to ask about this is, is this TTP after the 8 21-day cycles of treatment?

I still haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to add IV dexamethasone to the Velcade/Doxil regimen. I have until Tuesday to decide.

I hate to admit this, but I’m envious of the people who have remissions from their first line of treatment. Any treatment, to be honest. I’m secretly hoping for such good results from Velcade that I’ll decide to wait for relapse to have an SCT. What? It could happen!

Another year

I can’t believe it. Another year is almost over.

I haven’t written much in the last several days. A lot’s been going on, but I haven’t had time to write. And, my typing finger is sore from work. :)

I had an appointment with Don Gabriel, a transplant doc at UNC. He’s a very nice guy, and I liked him instantly. I’ve been researching a potential problem he brought up, but have discovered that it’s not a problem at all. Some doctors believe that, to have a successful stem cell transplant, the cells must be harvested when the % of plasma cells in the bone marrow is below a certain number (like 20%). Mine were at 30% at the time of my harvest. I was very worried that I might have to go through the harvest process again, but I put in an SOS to the IMF and was assured that I’ll be ok to go ahead without a second stem cell collection by members of the scientific advisory board. Now my questions are: Do I have to have more treatment before the SCT? Can I use just melphalan alone, since cytoxan didn’t have any effect on my myeloma?

I’m scheduled to begin Velcade + Doxil and possibly dexamethasone on January 9th, 2007. Of course, I’d be happy to find out that I didn’t need additional treatment before the high dose chemo, but I’m guessing it’s not likely. It’s all getting closer, and I’m nervous and afraid.

In the mean time, I’m going to try to forget that I have cancer. I’m just going to enjoy this treatment-free time.

Oh! For those of you who wonder about this… when you stop dexamethasone, you do lose weight (if you gained it from the steroids). Without trying, in my case, which is cool. I still have the moon face. I wonder how long it takes for that to go away? Anyway, I lost just under 25 lbs so far. I’m guessing the chemo and the SCT will melt away the pounds as well, but I don’t recommend it!

Amneris Solano, thanks for the very nice article you wrote in the Fayetteville Observer. Thanks, Matt Moriarty, for the article you wrote for the Pilot. I hope we’re successful in raising the money we need for the IMF.


I meant to post this earlier. When I had the Cytoxan back in October, I was worried about the possibility of nausea and vomiting, so I asked for lots of meds to help prevent it. It was 100% effective. The worst side effect I felt was reflux that night.

Ondansetron (Zofran) – 8 mg tabs. I think I had 3 a day.
Dexamethasone – 2 mg tabs
Prochlorperazine (Compazine)- 5 mg tabs
Lorazepam (Ativan)- inj 0.5 ml

When I went home, I had Ativan and Compazine to take every 4-6 hours. That helped a lot, because I felt somewhat queasy for a few days after.

If you’re going to have chemo, and are worried about the nausea & vomiting that can be a side effect of many of these drugs, speak up ahead of time and let your doctor know that you want lots of drugs to try to prevent it. Why suffer? Oddly enough, some docs/nurses wait until you report feeling nauseated before they give anything. I think premedicating and staying on the anti-emetics for as long as needed is the way to go.

Next appointment

I have my next appointment to check up on things on Tuesday at UNC. I’m going back to see Dr. Orlowski. I originally switched to Wake Forest so I could get Revlimid before it was approved by the FDA. There are a variety of reasons why I decided to go back to UNC.

Anyway, I haven’t had any treatment since the chemo in October, and this is the longest I’ve gone without since 2003. It feels wonderful not to be taking drugs, and I’m trying not to think about what the myeloma might be doing. I’m just trying to enjoy the time off, especially from steroids (dexamethasone).

Rev/dex trial results

ATLANTA, June 5, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ — Celgene Corporation (CELG : news, chart, profile ) announced updated clinical data from two multi-centered, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III pivotal studies evaluating lenalidomide plus dexamethasone in previously treated multiple myeloma patients were presented at the 42nd American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, June 5, 2006.

The updated clinical data from the pivotal North American Phase III trial

(MM-009) reported overall survival (p<0.0001) in addition to median time to disease progression (p<0.0001) in patients receiving lenalidomide plus dexamethasone compared to patients receiving dexamethasone plus placebo. The updated clinical data from the pivotal International Phase III trial

(MM-010) reported overall survival (p=0.03). As of June 2006, median overall survival in the International trial in patients treated with lenalidomide plus dexamethasone has not been reached as compared to 20.6 months with dexamethasone plus placebo.

Dr. Weber presented updated results from the North American Phase III special protocol assessment trial (MM-009) that reported:

* The median overall survival (OS) with lenalidomide plus dexamethasone

was 29.6 months, compared with 20.2 months for dexamethasone plus

placebo (p<0.0001)

* The median time-to-disease progression (TTP) with lenalidomide plus

dexamethasone was 11.1 months, compared with 4.7 months for

dexamethasone plus placebo (p<0.0001)

* Best response rate with lenalidomide plus dexamethasone was 59.4

percent, compared with 21.1 percent for dexamethasone plus placebo


* Complete response (CR) rate (based on EBMT criteria) with lenalidomide

plus dexamethasone was 12.9 percent, compared with 0.6 percent for

dexamethasone plus placebo (p<0.001)

* The most common side effects observed in this trial with the

combination of lenalidomide and dexamethasone were constipation,

diarrhea and neutropenia

Both trials were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III studies using lenalidomide plus dexamethasone versus dexamethasone plus placebo in previously treated multiple myeloma patients.

Patients in both lenalidomide trials had been heavily treated prior to enrollment, many having failed three or more rounds of therapy with other agents. In addition, more than 50 percent of patients in the study had undergone stem cell transplantation.

These trials were designed to investigate the effectiveness and safety of cyclic dosing of lenalidomide at 25mg combined with high-dose dexamethasone

(HDD) compared with placebo and HDD in previously treated patients with multiple myeloma. These trials enrolled 705 patients and are being conducted in 97 sites internationally. Lenalidomide and HDD are given in 28-day

cycles: lenalidomide 25 mg once daily on days 1-21 every 28 days, and HDD 40 mg on days 1-4, 9-12 and 17-20 every 28 days. After four cycles the HDD schedule is reduced to 40 mg on days 1-4 every 28 days). The primary endpoint of the study is time-to- disease progression calculated as the time from randomization to the first documentation of progressive disease based on EBMT myeloma response criteria.

In the North American trial, patients treated with lenalidomide and dexamethasone had an increase in side effects as compared to patients treated with dexamethasone plus placebo. Grade 3/4 toxicities included neutropenia, thrombocytopenia and anemia. Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism occurred in 14.1 percent of patients treated with lenalidomide plus dexamethasone, compared to 3.4 percent of patients treated with dexamethasone plus placebo.

6th Cycle of Rev/dex

Today I started my 6th cycle of Revlimid and dexamethasone. I’m on standard dose dex now, which is 40 mg a day on days 1-4. I take the Revlimid for 21 days. The last 2 months, my blood tests have shown my MM to be stable and at a quite low level. In May, IgA = 488 mg/dL, with two M-spikes: 0.1 and 0.2. In April, it was just a few mg/dL higher (493) and the M-spikes were the same.

I want to make one thing clear for people who are searching for the Beth Morgan who is a porn star. I’m not that Beth Morgan. I’m the one who has myeloma. Frankly, I’d rather have myeloma than be a porn star. So, if you landed here because you were searching for that Beth Morgan, move along — or better yet, learn something about myeloma and make a contribution to the International Myeloma Foundation.


This is just a note for anyone searching for potential side effects of Revlimid. Revlimid can cause nausea. I notice that I feel ill for a few days while I’m off steroids. The steroids actually help with the nausea. Dr. P. says that they give dexamethasone as an anti-nausea drug, so that explains why I feel ok on the days I’m taking dex. He said that he has had a few patients with MDS on 10 mg Rev/day who have had to quit because of the nausea and GI trouble. He had one pt who lost 30 lbs.