Here is a photo of the tablets I will be taking today. Well, as it is now early evening, I have already taken 37 this morning (the top 2 rows), plus two mid-day tablets.
Let me introduce you…
First, we have Ondasetron (an anti-sickness tablet to support the chemotherapy… fortunately seems to work). That’s the little white one, top left.
Next, the 10 pinky-brown Cyclophosphamide (chemotherapy, to kill off the cancer cells) tablets, taken about an hour after the Ondansetron. No ill effects so far!
The second other biggie… 20 Dexamethasone (steroids, which kill off myeloma cells and help increase the response rate to chemotherapy or thalidomide/lenalidomide treatment). They’re the little white ones still in foil packets. They also make me a little hyper and feel great!
My weekly pack of pills, not including “the big gals” (Dexamethasone and Cyclophosphamide) – they don’t fit!, all neatly packed into a cute little pill box.
Then, my normal, fairly benign, regime of:
two Paracetemol (for pain), although I am now experimenting with Co-codamol, which may be more effective.
Lansoprazole (for quelling stomach acid due to taking so many bloody drugs!)
Cyprofloxacin (general antibiotic to guard against infections which I am more prone to due to the effects of the drugs and the myeloma itself, which both affect my immune system)
Junior Aspirin (to guard against deep-vein thrombosis, which can be caused by the drugs)
and Calcichew (to raise my calcium levels, as they have now fallen below normal).
During the day, I can take up to two doses of 2 x Paracetemol or Co-codamol to manage the pain from myeloma bone disease. The ones shown here are Paracetemol caplets (easier to take than the big round tablets).
An old shoe box now acts as my dispensary.
In the evening, I take two more pain killers, another Cyprofloxacin (antibiotic) and the dastardly Revlimid (also known as lenalidomide).
Revlimid is an immunomodulatory drug, which means it works by modifying the immune system. It has been shown to have many mechanisms of action that affect myeloma cell survival. However, the exact method by which myeloma cells are killed in an individual patient is not fully understood and is the subject of ongoing research.
The fact that Revlimid works in so many ways is thought to be why it is so active against myeloma because it makes it more difficult for the myeloma cells to develop resistance to the drug. Revlimid is a chemically similar derivative of thalidomide, which is currently used to treat Myeloma. They are hoping that Revlimid will be shown to be even more effective.
I am on a clinical trial and I am lucky (I think) that I was randomly chosen to take Revlimid (the newer drug, instead of Thalidomide). I think it was previously used after the first remission failure, so “second base” in other words, but they are now trying to show it to be effective at “first base”. I guess time will tell.
The waste products of one week’s supply of drugs, variously distributed between waste bin (foil tablet sheets) and recycling (boxes and patient information leaflets).
Just to put your fears to rest, today is the only day… every four weeks… that I have to take this many tablets. On the best days (the final week of each 4-week cycle), I only take the 13 “benign” white pills. LOL!