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Wei-en Zheng

 

Mom and Dad in Nov. 2004

(Written by her daughter, Ping Guo: pingguo_92@yahoo.com)

1939 / Class of '06 / Type: Stage II IgG Kappa-light chain / Velcade, Thalidomide / Updated: 6/07

My mom Wei-en Zheng was born in January of 1939 in Fujian Province of China. Since age 22 when she graduated from collage, she had been working as a chemist for a research institution in Hangzhou, China for 36 years and retired at age 58. She and my dad currently reside in Hangzhou, China. My mom has been quite skinny her whole life, but otherwise had been in good health for most of her life as long as I remember, rarely even had a cold.

In May of 2004, mom was hospitalized for 10 days for pneumonia. In May of 2005, she had low fever for a month and the doctors could not find the cause. The fever eventually went away. But she started to have bone pains on her shoulder joints and thighs. In May 29th of 2006, when she was having her breakfast, a cough triggered a severe pain in her back and she could barely move. Doctors did not find anything seriously wrong, only minor deficiency of calcium in her bones, and prescribed some calcium boosting shots. She felt better every time right after the shot, but the pain kept coming back and she became weaker and weaker.

By the end of August 2006, the doctor took another bone density test for mom and found that she had lost a severe amount of calcium in her bones in just three months and ordered a blood test and a bone marrow biopsy. Her bones were so fragile then that she could break her spine anytime and the doctor ordered her to completely stay in bed. The blood test result came back with IgG of 4070mg/dl. (Normal range is 800 to1800mg/dl.) and Kappa-light chain of 6550mg/dl. (Normal range is 574 to1280mg/dl.) The biopsy confirmed that she had stage II IgG Kappa-light chain type Myeloma. Our whole family was shocked and devastated.

Before the treatment started, mom had a blood transfusion on September 9th and instantly felt better. She also started to take daily Cfx170 - a Chinese immunity system boosting medicine. From May to August, her appetite had dropped significantly, taking Cfx170 got her appetite back to normal right way and she started to eat. From September 14 to September 24, she had first cycle of Velcade therapy, the IgG dropped from 4070 to 530. The number rose back to 730 in 10 days. From October 11 to October 21, 2nd cycle of Velcade therapy was done. IgG seemed to plateau at 600. The doctor suggested continuing to finish at least 4 cycles. But in China Velcade is not covered by medical insurance and is quite expensive, and more importantly we want to reserve Velcade for future in case IgG number shoot up again. So we decide to stop Velcade therapy.

From 10/22/2006 to 12/14/2006, mom did not have any treatment except taking Cfx170 pills, IgG gradually climbed to 1820. From December 15th of 2006 to January 18th of 2007, she took 100mg/day thalidomide for one cycle. On her February 2nd blood test, her IgG number had dropped to 1620. Now it is June 4th of 2007, she has not had any treatment for 4 and half months except still taking Cfx170 daily, and her IgG and Kappa-light chain numbers of June 2nd blood test are still holding within normal range (1570 and 1170 respectively). As for Cfx170, except at the beginning, we are not sure if it is still doing any good. But the Cfx170 Chinese web site claims it as a cancer fighting medicine while it is registered in USA only as immunity system boosting supplement. Mom has been responding to all medicines really well and the IgG number has been holding great so far, some times we do think it could be due to Cfx170. We want to continue use Cfx170 at least until one-year anniversary of diagnosis just for safety.

My mom had stayed in bed a lot of time from May to August of 2006 before diagnosis. From September to October of 2006, she was completely bed ridden. By November 2006, when she finished 2 cycles of Velcade treatment and left the hospital, she barely had any strength to walk. She started to exercise from November 2006, first just walking in the living room pushing a wheel chair, then gradually started to walk around the neighborhood. But the recovery seems slow. Now she does not need any support any more while she walks. But she still bends her back a little due to the pain. And her physical strength is no where near her pre-May 2006 condition. She had always been very active her whole life. Before May 2006, she did line-dancing at least 4 mornings a week, taking singing class once a week, and walking for an hour with my dad almost every evening. Now she tries to walk everyday, but the distance is very limited. She has lost quite a bit of height too. She never was a tall girl, now her height is 141cm from her original 149cm. I am not sure if this pain will just stay with her for the rest of her life. But on the other hand, we are all just so happy that at least the Myeloma seems to be under control.

 

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