Thursday, March 19, 2009

Numega - Chapter 22

Although relatively new, Numega was a drug tauted as being able to raise a patients platelet count, something previously thought impossible by any drug intervention.

Every day I combed through web sight after web sight reading medical studies about this drug and it's capabilities...and it's side effects. Most of what I read scared me. I knew if this drug could be used on Don, it would likely incapacitate him at least for a while. The possible side effects listed were horrid...but I was not going to leave any stone unturned and at our next appointment, I was armed with a long list of questions about it.

Armed with many questions, again we were sitting in the exam room waiting for our turn. The doctor entered with a smile on his face. He barely said hello before he was telling us that Don was responding to the Nupogen and that his white blood cell count had increased from 1900 to 2400. He also was thrilled to inform us that since the reduction of the Interferon, Don's platelet count had increased to 56,000. Still a far cry from the normal 140,000 but an 8,000 increase in only 1 week was very good news. He told us that when Don reached a count of only 90,000, he could again return to taking the full injection amount. Again, he reiterated that even if that did not happen, he had several patients who were responders to the treatments on only half of a dose. I saw a peaceful calm come over Don's face as his shoulders rolled down a bit.

At the end of each appointment, I felt like it was a question and answer session. I thought sometimes, the poor doctor must get stressed knowing that I usually grilled him about any and all new information I had drudged up over the Internet and this afternoon was no different. I squirmed in my seat until I had the chance to ask him about the drug Numega.

"Yes, I do know about Numega and I have tried it on several of my patients." He responded with a smile. "Hold on just a moment." he said raising his hand as he reached for his cell phone.

Right there in front of us, he called a colleague and conferred again about the drug. The physician he called was an Oncologist, a Cancer Doctor. After a short conversation, he again returned his attention to us.

"Yes, when this drug first came out, I tried it on several of my Hepatitis C patients and it did not significantly improve the platelet count on any of them faster than the Interferon destroyed it. Every patient suffered extreme side effects and the last time I used it, my patient ended up in ICU. His lungs were hemorrhaging. I find it to be too dangerous and with the Hepatitis C patients, it just did not offer any improvement. The physician I just called said that they had not seen any new form of this drug that was working any better."

Although I would have liked to have heard a more positive answer, this whole conversation increased my confidence in our doctor above the already high level we held him. He proved that my questions did not challenge his competence, but only that we were working towards a common goal - to get Don completely well!


Cathy said...

All I can do is offer y'all {{Big Hugs}} and prayers! Hang in there and please try to keep y'alls wonderful sense of humor. I know this is a very trying time for you both!

{{Big Hugs}}


Helen said...

The news about the good increases is wonderful, just wonderful! Onward and upward ..............

Robyn said...

Lots of hugs friend!

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Stage 3, an 8.1 cm mass in my chest, September, 2008 and finished chemotherpy on February 27th 2009. I am cancer free and on to recovery. I have been takning Numega shots every day for the past 10 days to higher my blood platelets. I have had many side effects. A red rash all over my body, adema, very puffy ankles, extremely weak, lightheaded, and very short of breath, so went back on oxygen. My oncologist took me off the drug yesterday, 3/19. I had a blood transfusion and lazic (sp?) and I feel like a new person today.
I was hit very hard with chemo, 5 days a week every 3 weeks. It really did some damages to my body, although I am now healing and want to get back to my previous active self. I have a great attitude and lots of support. but the Numega not easy! What can I say? I will be well.

Joanne Kennedy said...

I just read your whole story on your husband. This is my first visit to your blog.

Thank you for sharring this story with us. It's so sad to see that the treatment is causing your husband to feel so bad. To think he felt fine one day and went down hill after treatment is scary.

I will keep you and your husband in my prayers. I sure hope all turns out ok with him. It's great to hear that the tests are going up and he is hanging in there.


Jaz said...

Regardless of the addict's drug of choice, an appropriate drug intervention can help facilitate the conversation needed in seeking treatment.