and off to the office we went....blood work was done...after an exam...and the results showed that the bad
protein level was off the chart....So he will be getting Plasmaphoresis done both Wednesday and Friday...
(which is a process done by the wonderful people at the Red Cross right in our Doctors office where
they hook you up to this big machine with a tube in both arms...one tube draws blood out and puts it through
the machine which washes the blood and the other tube puts the blood back in....of course that is the short version!) It is the most amazing process, but draining...butit usually brings about good results, although they are very short lived....They talked to us for over an hour today about starting him on a completely different cocktail of chemo...as it has become very apparent that the one he is on is not slowing the growth of this cancer this time around....
So tomorrow we will do what errands we have to do...and then we will lay low while this process takes place.
Michael is in good spirits...although is quite upset that he continues to lose weight weekly...He has gone from
169 pounds to 150 in the last several months....but this goes along with this cancer...he eats...he just doesn't gain weight...and although he thinks he is eating a lot...he really isn't....I just don't tell him that!
We continue on...we laugh...we joke with each other and with the Doc and staff...we appear to be ok....somethimes I wonder what lurks underneath...I put most of it aside....sometimes breaking down here and there...but most of the time just going through everyday the best that I can without thinking to much about it....For now...that seems to work...
A person having plasmapheresis can lie in bed or sit in a reclining chair. Two IV lines are required -- the blood is removed through one IV, and then is returned to the body through the other IV. Sometimes, a larger catheter is placed in the neck or under the collar bone for the pheresis -- instead of using IV lines in the arms. This type of catheter is called a central line and has both IVs built in. Plasmapheresis is not painful, but it can be hard to stay sitting or lying down in the same place for 2 to 3 hours.
Plasmapheresis works quickly to get the IgM level down to a safe level. However, without further treatment to kill the cancer cells (like chemotherapy) the protein level will go back up again. Plasmapheresis is usually given to help the patient until chemotherapy has a chance to work. Sometimes plasmapheresis is used for those whose Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is not controlled by chemotherapy, biological therapy, or other treatments. When patients have symptoms from elevated IgM, they need to have plasmapheresis right away to prevent complications.