Search: “dexamethasone”

Platelets & RBC

When I look at my labs over the last few months, one thing I see is that my platelets drop each time. They’re still within the normal range, but it’s a helpless feeling I get when I see that number go down with each successive report. I think aspirin could be affecting my platelet count. I take one 325 mg aspirin per day as a preventative for DVT that may result from the use of dexamethasone and thalidomide. This is something I’ll have to ask the doctor about.

My red blood count is also down. Lower than I’ve ever seen it before. I had another CBC done today and will see the results tomorrow, so I’ll know if it was just a one time thing or not.


The effects of diet

There’s something to be said for a healthy diet. I wish I’d made changes years ago. Like a lot of people, I don’t do much of anything until I have to. Since I cut out dairy, sugar, processed foods, and coffee (and any beverages but water, tea and juice), I’ve noticed a lot of changes. I used to have a clogged feeling in my sinuses all the time. It felt like I was breathing through pin holes! Now I can take a deep breath through my nose and not pass out from lack of oxygen. :) I haven’t had that stuffy feeling in months. The first few weeks, my nose ran copiously, but now that’s a rare event. My rough elbows are gone too! Now the skin is smooth as a baby’s bottom! I had been seeing a dermatologist for acne and rosacea, and guess what? That’s all gone too.

Before dx, I had a lot of stomach problems. I don’t know what caused them. It could have been coffee or dairy (or all the other crap). I just felt yucky almost every day. I no longer have that problem.

No doctor I ever saw for any problem I had discussed changes in diet with me. I imagine it would have been wasted anyway. I just wasn’t ready for that. I’m afraid I’ve become a little preachy to friends and family about the importance of cutting the garbage out of one’s diet.

In addition to what I mentioned above, I also saw a drop in my serum IgA and M-spikes. I will have another SIEP test on May 15th, and will post the results here. We’ll see how the diet, thalidomide and dexamethasone are doing against the MM.


I had an appointment at Duke to be evaluated for auto PBSCT today, but I had to reschedule. I’m not feeling good today, and couldn’t fathom the thought of driving the hour plus just to get there, and then have a 4-5 hour appointment. I don’t know if I am experiencing some kind of withdrawal from dexamethasone, maybe? I have been having headaches and generally feeling ill. Sometimes feelings of anxiety too.

My information sheet from Dana-Farber says:
“Under normal conditions your body produces steroids. Taking prescribed steroids turns off your body’s own production of steroids. Since you are not making enough steroids on your own to keep your body in balance, stopping your medication abruptly may result in: low blood pressure, increases in blood potassium or irregular heartbeats.
Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering off steroids. During steroid taper you may not have any problems or you may notice some effects of withdrawal.

– Soreness or aches in your muscles, joints and bones
– Low energy level
– Cravings for particular foods or a gradual decrease in appetite
– Stomach aches, or a change in bowel habits
– Mood swings or just feeling low
– Low blood pressure, particularly if you have been on blood pressure lowering drugs

Side effects?

Last night I started to develop a few little itchy spots on my arms and hands and my right eyelid swelled a little. By morning, the spots on my arms and hands were gone, but my entire right eyelid was swollen and red. At this moment, both eyelids are swollen and red, and so are my fingers. There are some itchy raised spots on my arms and legs too, mostly around the joints.

I’ve been taking Thalomid and dexamethasone (in 4 pulses of 4 days on/4 days off – 40 mg each day) for about a month now. Why would side effects manifest themselves at this point? Maybe there’s some cumulative effect with dexamethasone. It’s possible, because up until the third pulse, I hadn’t experienced that meanness other people talked about. Boy, was I in a bad mood! I could relate to what the others were saying.

I called my oncologist’s office this afternoon when it appeared that the itchy swelling wasn’t going away, but getting worse. He wasn’t in, so I called my primary care physician. He thinks it’s a result of the high doses of steroids and said I could take Benedryl to help with the itching and swelling. I must need a lot, because what I’ve taken so far today hasn’t put a dent in it. It would be nice if I could go to my vet and get a shot. :) If it’s not better in the morning, I’ll call my oncologist again.

I’m not sure if I should go ahead and take my evening dose of Thalomid or not. Tomorrow morning I start my last pulse of dex. Dex is supposed to help swelling :)