|Christmas 2009: Oma gets a lot of help opening gifts.|
We were told that the multiple myeloma would be back. It was a matter of time. A twelve to eighteen month period of semi-remission was the norm.
Of course we hoped eighteen months plus, but Mom would be at the lower end of the spectrum. Beginning the winter of 2010 her tumour marker started to creep up. We knew it was a matter of time before she would be back in active treatment.
The oncologist advised that medical research meant more targeting chemotherapy was available and there were several drugs that could be tried. Starting May 2010, about a year after her first round, Mom started chemo. While the first round had been oral, this round was IV and she attended at the chemo centre four Fridays in five to get her cocktail.
Like the first round, her side effects were largely fatigue, but she felt unwell for the first few days after IV infusion. As the rounds went on she felt better in the days after treatment, but still very fatigued. She adapted well to the reduced energy. She mostly did what she wanted but organized her days and weeks around having rest for a few hours after lunch.
Quite apart from managing the symptoms, her tumour numbers dropped quickly. Her oncologist hoped to drive her numbers to zero, and do a bone marrow biopsy to confirm that she was in complete remission, something not accomplished in the prior round. In his words "we are looking for a multi-year remission".
Music to our ears.
In November 2010, Mom had a more sophisticated blood test that we expected would show no multiple myeloma cells which would set the stage for the bone marrow biopsy to confirm that she was in complete remission.
It was the first in a series of disappointments. Her blood showed myeloma cells, and so chemo therapy continued.