Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guinea Pig Patient

I would like to wish all my working friends and readers, Happy Labor Day!

I am on my second month of my ibandronate (Boniva) drug therapy. I take this therapy once a month, the first day of every month. This time, I made sure I took the drug correctly, ie. early in the morning with plain water on an empty stomach. No eating or sleeping within the hour after taking the tablet. I also started the cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) drug today as part of my metronomic chemotherapy. I take this drug after meals and drink lots of water. I have to go for a blood test every 2-3 weeks since the white blood cells and platelets may be affected by cyclophosphamide. This is very important, as there may not get symptoms of these problems. As well as monitoring for side effects, blood tests help to monitor my condition to determine if the treatment is effective. I will need to have full blood tests every 2 to 4 weeks for the first few months of treatment and then every 1 to 3 months after that. Cyclophosphamide rarely causes a drop in the number of white blood cells, which are needed to fight infection. It can also cause a drop in the number of platelets, which help stop bleeding. Regular blood tests aim to pick these problems up early when they occur. However, the side effects includes a sore mouth, mouth ulcers, easy bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, breathlessness, infection or fever.

After some thinking and discussion with my family and friends about my hyperthermia treatment in Germany, I have decided to defer this treatment. The are a number of reasons. My current doctor in New York and my oncologist has recommended that I take immunetherapy as it gives me the best chance. The clinic in Germany has recommended that I use Sutent, a drug which my urologist says would not be of much help to me. Also this drug is very expensive, costing 8K thereby making my overall cost of treatment in Germany much higher than I anticipated. Furthermore, I need to do at least two hyperthermia treatments in Germany before I can see some results. So now, I have to choose between doing hyperthermia threatment or immunetherapy (ie. IL-2) in China because of limited funding. So meanwhile, I will start with the metronomic chemotherapy.