This morning we visited (well, it wasn't really a visit.....it was an appointment) with Bob's oncologist, Dr. H. And, as expected, my honey is going to have to have chemicals (chemo) again, to try and fight the enemy (cancer).
His M-Spike (Monoclonal Protein) is still at 0.3 m/dl, but for the first time, he has a lesion. Per his recent MRI, there is a "punched out" (hole) lesion of several centimeters in his left back hip. For those of you unfamiliar with the term lesion, it's explained as holes in the bones that look like lace, or swiss cheese. His last MRI was in December, when there were no lesions. The Myeloma is really waging war. He wasn't surprised, since he has been experiencing pain, in that area.
After reading the MRI, I realize that his back is in terrible shape, because of age and the cancer. I try to refrain from so many "please be careful" admonitions......but I don't want him in a wheelchair. He's the "man"....he's always been the one to pick up the heavy stuff, so it's embarrassing for him to have me doing the heavy lifting.
Dr. H suggested Revlimid, this time. Velcade has been successful but has caused neuropathy (terrible pain and tingling, in his feet), and because his M-Spike has already started to creep back up (after only a couple of months), it is now considered to be ineffective. Revlimid is a tablet, taken at home, 21 days with steroids (Dexamethasone).
It's known that Revlimid can cause (1) secondary cancers (2) nausea (3) kidney problems (4) blood problems. Knowing how Bob has reactions, to EVERYTHING, it scares me to death to have him swallow, anything new, or different!
Revlimid is Chemo - a tablet - but it can't be picked up with a prescription, at your local pharmacy. This afternoon the phone call came from the pharmacy, in Florida, that will ship the drug to us (after he's approved). It's a good thing that I don't have heart problems - his Velcade was $3,710, each week. This is much worse. I would really suggest the Customer Rep not start a conversation with "your cost will be $2,000, each month". (This wasn't how we intended to "spend" our retirement!)
There is "assistance" (the Chronic Disease Fund) to help defray the cost of this drug. It helps with the $2,000 tab, but immediately puts Bob in "the donut hole", so all of his other drugs will be at full cost, for the rest of this year.....and for as long as he's on this drug. We (Bob and I) have differences of opinions. I will do anything, ANYTHING, to keep him with me. Bob, on the other hand, does not want to leave me penniless. And, Celgene (drug company that makes Revlimid) gets rich!!
What a stressful day, and we only wanted to know what his M-Spike was and if he had to have more treatments!!!