Day 1 of Treatment is Done!
This morning we arrived at the infusion center at 7am for my first day of treatment. After 10 years of “watching and waiting” (aka living but also worrying) with the disease relatively stable and not wanting to deal with the many possible side effects of myeloma treatment, I was NOT looking forward to this day. I had to pick up about 8 different prescriptions yesterday as well as an inhaler (in case of breathing problems during the infusion), and after we got settled in today I took most of those pills, a couple of breaths of the inhaler and then got the main drugs: (1) a heavy duty steroid called Dexamethasone that many patients hate; (2) an injection in my abdomen with a drug called Velcade, a “proteasome inhibitor” (feel free to look that one up) and (3) the recently approved immune therapy drug Daratumamab, which they infuse over 8 hours the first time to minimize side effects. An interesting debate I saw today on a patient forum concerned whether or not these drugs are “chemotherapy.” On the one hand, they don’t generally cause many of the frequent side effects of traditional “chemo” drugs (hair loss, severe nausea, loss of appetite, etc.), some patients and doctors don’t refer to them as chemotherapy and apparently at least one national cancer website does not list them as chemotherapy. On the other hand, they are chemicals that are used as cancer therapy, and my big bag of Daratumamab was labeled “CHEMOTHERAPY” in all caps, so I think it’s fair to say it is technically chemotherapy even if not the usual kind that might come to mind. And regardless, there are lots of potential side effects that don’t involve hair falling out, but luckily I did not experience any of them today. I did not expect anything awful but also knew it was possible to have some bad allergic or other reaction to something, and I was relieved to get through the day without noticing anything other than some drowsiness that probably due to the Benadryl that they gave me. I still have a couple more meds to take before bed tonight but if anything bad happens I will consider that to be during Night 1 rather than Day 1 so I can still say that Day 1 was smooth sailing. 😁
This is from about 4 hours in when I decided to do some work.