Near Mammoth Cave, KY
1973 / Class of '07 / IgG Lambda LC / Velcade+Dex; auto SCT; allo planned / Died 1-15-2011
I grew up in suburban Bowling Green, KY which is a normal small city. I now live in a rural area just outside of Mammoth Cave, KY. I was diagnosed in May 2007 with an aggressive form of IgG Lambda Light Chain MM. My original number upon diagnosis were Blood IgG level 11,470 on 5/24/07. By 8/14/07 it had dropped to 1596. (the lowest they have been to date). My protein urine was 8475 on 5/24. This number dropped to 66 on 8/14. My lambda light chains on 5/24 were 254.0 and dropped to <0.41. All this was a result from 4 rounds of Velcade.
I was experiencing chronic back pain, which was not unusual over the last 10 years of my life. I have typically had a physical job and body pains were not unusual and usually treated well with Ibuprofen. This past year the back pain was to much and my wife encouraged me to get it checked out. My PCP nailed the diagnosis in 2 days. My treatment began at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in June of 2007. I highly recommend this hospital, they have a wonderful Hematology/Stem Cell Transplant team. I was put on Velcade and Dexamethasone. After 4 cycles of treatment (21 day cycles. Velcade 2 times a week the first two weeks and one week of rest with Dexamethasone (40mgs a day 4 days on; 4 days off continuously) The chemo worked very well with minimal side effects. (bone pain and stiffness the first 2 cycles and little effects after that) Keep in mind that I was 33 years old and in good physical condition with a large muscular build. I began to feel much better after my 3rd cycle and the steroids (although and emotional rollercoaster) helped me rebuild muscle and stay active. I was considered in remission at the end of my 4 cycles of chemo. I was in remission for a grand total of 8 weeks (I told you it was aggressive.)
On November 6th of 2007 I was given 2 days of high does Melphalan and received an autologous SCT on November 9th. Today is Nov. 23rd and I am back home for the first day. I feel very good but weaker than I want to be. I guess this should be expected. I do not feel limited physically but I have some rebuilding to do. The effects of the high does Chemo were not as bad as I had expected. (keep in mind that I am 34 years old and in good physical condition.) I experienced diarrhea for about 2 weeks. A bland diet was a must, believe me. I would have to say that I "breezed" through recovery but I did much better than other folks I saw in the clinic with me. I was also 1/2 their age. Depression is my biggest fear. I feel it creeping into my life. I will explain:
The doctor told me that my chance of long term remission with the Auto SCT was near 0%. That being said, I am going to have an Allo transplant near the end of December 2007. Luckily my only sister is a perfect match for a donor. I was told that I have a 30 to 60% chance (whatever that means) to be cured from the Allo SCT. It wears on me hard knowing that my chance of seeing 40 years old is about the equivalent of a coin toss.
I will keep this updated as I go into my next transplant which is just days away. Wish me luck!!!
Update 12/13/07: Well, the results are in from my Autologous transplant. It is difficult for me to swallow, but the transplant had minimal if no effect on the cancer. My numbers actually went up very slightly. This has my doctors whispering behind my back, but we will press on with the Allogeneic transplant. The Allo has been moved back about a month to make room for Thalidomide at 200mg a day for 28 days to try to beat the cancer down as far as possible. (that was the whole reason for the Auto transplant which turned out to be a bust.) Most every story I hear about a transplant is success. I guess I fell into the 5% that doesn't work which beats the hell out of the 5% who don't make it out alive.
It all depends on the Allo. I knew this a long time ago.
Update 8/28/09: It has been a long time since I have updated my situation. I guess that is both good and bad. First of all....it is good that I am still alive and doing well after 2 1/2 years after diagnosis. The bad part is that I am still in the same position that I was the lat time I wrote. It has been about 20 months since I had my first Auto transplant and I was suppose to get and Allo shortly after that. WRONG! Since Dec. of 07.....I have had constant chemo and another Auto stem cell transplant in June of 09. I had every type of FDA approved chemo for MM...and a lot of it. I have had Velcade, Doxil, Relemid, Velcade, lots of Melphalan (which rots your guts out) DT-PACE (which is an acronym for something I can't remember but it made every hair on my body fall out.....which was not that bad....I could dry off with a paper towel) Anyway... I was just wondering: Is anybody else out there going though this type of constant chemo? I have had 100's of infusions! My numbers look pretty good now, but as soon as let off the trigger....it grows back fairly fast. My doctor says that if is not under control, that an Allo transplant will probably not work. Well...I'm not stupid...they can't get it under control, but since I have good insurance, they will try any way.....some day, I guess when my insurance runs out or I blow my brains out...whichever comes first. I have had constant chemo now for about 28 months. It is a 200 mile round trip to do so. I am losing my mind. Has anyone else out there had to deal with soooo much chemo and their doctor putting plans off over and over and over again?? I am at my wits' end to say the least. The only good part is that I am still alive.
Daniel David “Danny” Finn, 37, died at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 15, 2011, in Nashville after battling Multiple Myeloma cancer for four years.
The Syracuse, N.Y., native was born July 11, 1973. He was a self-employed contractor. He attended Warren East High School, where he played football and graduated in 1991. He also attended and graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1995, where he was a member of Sigma Chi. Although Danny grew up in Bowling Green, he spent many summers and vacations in New York with his family. Danny was an avid hunter and fisherman and loved the outdoors. His smile lit up a room and his laugh was contagious. He never met a stranger. Danny donated his body to science to further cancer research.
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