Saturday, November 24, 2012

T Cells On the Offense

Among the many things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend is something I no longer have: my rash. I was able to enjoy the three Thanksgiving celebrations with three familial sets and cheer on Craig in a turkey day road race sans the itchy red spots that had been haunting me.

As of Wednesday, the red brail faded into a vague purpleness, no longer raised and angry. With this good report, I got the go-ahead to start back on the Revlimid treatment pills back at the original 10mg. This is half the dosage I was on when the rash set in.

I was eager to get back on the treatment, worried that I would lose any momentum I had gained against the disease. However, getting back on hasn’t been easy. It seems my body easily forgot the semblance of balance it had found once it got used to the drug. It’s again been a shock to the system.

Tumor flare seems to be again well, flaring. Ouch. My mid-back hurts tremendously. It hurts for a couple of days before I went back on the treatment pill and now that I’m taking it again, the pain has increased. I take the medication before bed so I don’t have to deal with its ramifications during the day. For these first few days back on the Revlimid wagon, this has meant waking up throughout the night with pretty tremendous pain in my hips and back, the areas where lymphoma lies/laid.

I’m not surprised, and I guess this is good. Pain means that the Revlimid is jacking up my immune system and flooding those diseased areas with natural killer cells. The process causes a lot of internal inflammation in my bones where there’s not a lot of room for extra cells. It feels at times as if my hipbones will just give out. I’ll check in with my Columbia team on Monday, but I’m pretty confident that they’ll say: yup, this is likely tumor flare; it’s the drug doing its job.

I ride it out with Aleve, breathing, microwaveable heating pad and stretching. The nighttime pain keeps sleep elusive and the first hours of the morning extra creaky. It’s manageable most of the time through the day, though I’m certainly hoping things calm down a little. In this case, pain is proof positive. With that in mind, I can endure it.

Getting to play with my niece and nephew and now frolicking in full-swing Christmas season and everything that brings is a beautiful distraction. Best painkillers out there. 

This is an incredible microscopic look at what we hope is happening in my body. The Revlimid is working to ramp up those receptors on the natural killer cells (the red dots) so that they will latch onto the cancer cells and eat them for dinner just like this video demonstrates: 

1 comment:

  1. Cool video! I'm sorry it is a painful process but I do hope that it is working. Glad the rash is gone as well! Sarah B.