08 June 2015

Time to show Tasigna the door

For the first time in 603 days I woke up and didn't take my Super Dangerous but Absolutely Necessary chemotherapy pills.
Feels reckless.
I take Tasigna, twice a day, every day, because I have Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (or CML). And I will take oral chemotherapy pills for the rest of my, hopefully, long life. That's why I feel so reckless.
I got some labs back that are not so good. The level of BCR-ABL (the protein that enables the leukemia to grow) in my blood is rising. And over the last few months, has spiked.

The first number is at diagnosis. Below the Red Line is the goal. 
So, my local oncologist and my CML specialist in New York had a meeting of the minds and I will be transitioning to a new drug.
My oncologist actually gave me a "title," if you will. He said he's never had a patient fail on a drug as fast as I failed on Tasigna. Awesome.
Time to show Tasigna the door and switch drugs. It's a good thing. Tasigna isn't doing the job anymore. The side effects are no party, either. Awful bone pain. Nausea. Fatigue (hate that word - it doesn't do justice to the extreme exhaustion that is fatigue). Rash.
Possibly, I will feel better on this new Super Dangerous but Absolutely Necessary chemotherapy pill.
It's called Bosulif. Here's the tagline about the drug:
BOSULIF is a prescription medicine used to treat adults who have a type of leukemia called Philadelphia chromosome–positive chronic myelogenous leukemia (Ph+ CML) who no longer benefit from or did not tolerate other treatment.
It has different side effects.  One being diarrhea. Headaches. Edema. Fun times. But not everyone experiences that. Maybe, maybe I will feel great on this drug.
I'm scheduled to start the Bosulif in a few days. The transition plan is to stop taking Tasigna and get it out of my system before I start the Bosulif.
But it sure feels like I'm being reckless.
At the end of my appointment, my oncologist looked me dead in the eyes and gave me the Gang of Four speech again,
Air. Water. Food. Bosulif.
That's it.
Am I afraid that I failed my first drug within the span of 2 years? Yes.
Am I afraid that this drug won't work? No. I think it will work and will work fast. I think I'll be back below the Red Line in no time.
I know God's got this under control. I just have to be still.
"Be still and know that I am God," Psalm 46:10

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