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Cycle 4 and all seems good

June 3rd, 2019

Visit to the venerable Prof Kavenaugh this morning and he takes the decision that 4 cycles is enough induction – I have been steadily improving (reducing the Para C and other markers) and he is keen to move onto the Autologous Stemcell Transplant. When I came in the Para C was 41 – it was 9 on 20/6 and has now come down to 6. Presumably over this next cycle it will go lower which is good progress and enough for the next phase. In general it should be less than 3.5. So I have one more cycle of induction starting today (5 weeks) after which the heavy stuff happens.

So this cycle ends 8 July after which there is a 10 day period to let these meds escape the body. Then on 22/7 I have chemo to mobilise the stem cells. Stem cell harvesting is 31/7 to 1/8 after which there is a 2 week break before admission as an in-patient for the transplant. The exact date of admission is not yet determined due to availability in the hospital but will be either 11/8 or 18/8 (they like to start on Sundays).

Admission is for 3 weeks. I will be in a sterile ward and visitors will have to wear masks etc. First week I probably won’t be wanting to see anyone but after that would be good to have the odd visitor. Basically on day 2 they wack me with heavy chemo. The idea is to get rid of any remaining traces of the disease with the side effect that it also gets rid of most of the immune system (hence the stem cell transplant)!

Then there is a short delay and they put back some of the stem cells that they took out.

Apparently the 2-3 weeks in hospital and the first week at home are the hardest parts for me. They say it takes up to 3 months to get over the whole thing – shall see about that!

Thank you all (and in particular Dorothy and Tricia) for your support. Induction has been OK – not too many side effects apart from fatigue, but manageable. Not sure I’m really looking forward to the next bit but if it does the job …

There is quite a good booklet on the Myeloma UK website about all this here.

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