Wednesday, September 08, 2010

TWD UPDATE PT. 2: TASIGNA + 30 DAYS

*The first TWD Update is here.

Since the first update a lot has happened. A month ago I began taking a new generation cancer drug--
TASIGNA. The drug was just approved by the FDA in June and I'm part of the ongoing clinical trial. If Tasigna continues its success rate, it will replace Gleevec as the first-line defense against Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

In the short span of a month, this is where I'm at:

White blood cell counts are the most important item tracked on the blood test. In June my WBC was 32,000 (normal is 5-10k.) We expected it to rise prior to medication to about 40,000. We were wrong. It skyrocketed to 105,000--30 days ago. This is a place you really don't want to be.

I began with 300mgs of Tasigna, and within the first few days I had every side-effect in the book. It's a thick book. My doctor brought me back in a few days later to see how I was tolerating the meds. I survived all side-effects, even the big one: Sudden Cardiac Death. This is always a good sign, or so I'm told. After seeing the results, the doctor then doubled the dosage to 600mg. I thought since 300mgs was so much fun, 600 should be a blast! Actually, it wasn't that bad.

As the days went by, my body began fighting off the side-effects, but a couple remain with me. This is normal and I can live with it.

I'm supposed to weigh 185 lbs. At one time I dipped into the high 140s. I began treatment at 154 lbs, and today I weighed in at 160.5 lbs--when you lose that much weight, you begin counting those half pounds. Gaining weight is very good sign.

Today my WBC registered 3,500 (normal is 5-10k.) My doctor said it's off-the-charts good news. However, he said the drug was working too well and we'd have to reduce the daily dosage to 450mgs. The idea here is to raise my WBC to within the normal range of 5-10k. This should be no problem.

Because of today's outstanding test results, my doctor has already ordered additional and advanced blood tests that will examine down to the cellular level to see if the
Philadelphia Chromosome is packing its bags and leaving town. The goal of this drug is to add yrs to one's survival or rid the body of the PC. If you can rid your system of the PC, you're essentially cured. And there are many cases of this on record. I plan to be added to that list.

Many wonderful people have included me in their daily prayers. Words escape me--Thank You wouldn't be enough. But please keep me in your prayers because they're the best damn health coverage I could ever hope to have.

Blessings from me to you.

UC Davis Medical Center--Sacramento

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