On Wednesday night I took my first dose of the drug Thalidomide. You may be aware of the “thalidomide disaster” in which many babies whose mothers had taken the drug as a sleeping pill during pregnancy were born with severe birth defects. That’s the same Thalidomide, which happens to be effective in treating myeloma. If all goes as planned, I will be taking it nightly before bed (remember it was used as a sleeping pill) for the next four months. Since the drug is so harmful to fetuses, each month before the pharmacy sends me a refill, I will need to promise to a phone nurse that “I will not have unprotected sex with a woman who is pregnant or who could become pregnant.” Not a problem! Unfortunately, Thalidomide has other side effects, and I am already dealing with one of them: constipation! As far as side effects go, I will take this one as long as it doesn’t get too serious (a friend of mine wound up in the ER after failing to manage it for too many days), but I never realized how annoying it could be or how easily it could make me feel like an 80 year old, particularly when I found myself purchasing 3 different laxative products at CVS (there are so many laxative products!) and when I was buying Raisin Bran today next to a stooped-over nonogenarian who took about 5 boxes of it. I also bought prune juice.
Otherwise the last couple of days have been perfectly fine (except yesterday when my cell phone stopped working for 3 hours and I couldn’t figure out why until I went to the Verizon store which was packed with people being told a cell tower was down). I have been eating and sleeping well (thanks Thalidomide!), I went hiking nearby (see below) and I have not experienced any other noticeable possible side effects of my many medications. Today was my second infusion day at the hospital (Wednesdays and Saturdays will be my infusion days for the next 4 months) and it went as smoothly as Day 1. It was also a shorter day because I didn’t get the Daratumamab (that’s only on Wednesdays). It’s a relief to have “survived” 2 infusion days as well as a few nights of Thalidomide, even though this is just the start of what will be a very long treatment process with more difficult periods ahead. I thought it might be awful from the beginning and so far it hasn’t been that at all.