Monday 24 December 2012

Wrapping up the antibody treatment!

A week ago on Wednesday, I had my fifth dose of the antibody treatment (Brentuximab Vedotin) and, much like with the previous doses, it went fine.  In the consultation beforehand, I did discuss with the doctor whether this might prove to be my last dose, as depending on the timing of the Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant, which is still to be confirmed, I might not need another dose.  However, for the time being, a sixth dose has been schedule for the 7th of January, just in case.

The sixth dose of the antibody treatment might only be a half-dose, if I do actually need it; After discussing the peripheral sensory neuropathy (mostly numb, tingly and tender finger tips) side effect that the antibody treatment is giving me, the doctor suggested a half-dose might prove useful in a couple of respects: to minimise the potential of permanent nerve damage in my finger tips, and to enable a second half-dose later on, should the Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant be delayed for any reason.

Note: The initial approval that I received for the antibody treatment was only for six full doses, hence any further doses would require additional approval, as funding would need to be allocated.  Given that the antibody treatment is working well enough for me to proceed with the Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant, it is highly unlikely that approval for further doses would be declined, but due to the antibody treatment only being available in batches of at least three full doses there would be significant cost (not to mention grief with paperwork etc) savings in avoiding going slightly beyond six full doses.

As you may remember from my recent posts, the antibody treatment had been delayed slightly with the most recent two doses, as my immune system hadn't been recovering quickly enough; The pre-treatment blood tests would highlight the issue, thereby causing the doctors to prescribe a few days of Filgrastim injections to speed-up the recovery process, thus pushing back the treatment date.  Going forward, the plan is to assume that I won't recover quickly enough, so the Filgrastim injections will be prescribed in advance; Hopefully, that will avoid delaying any future treatments.

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