Stable Disease Despite Treatment:
My IgG and M-Spike have been almost level for two months now, even though I have been on the drug trial which includes CC-4047 and dexamethasone (dex). So what can I do to change things, to make the drugs work better? Discussion:
- Dr HH started by suggesting "proteolytic enzymes," which in some studies have significantly improved the outcomes of chemotherapy. Here is one example (read down the page a ways). I've already started taking the enzymes between meals.
- In addition, she suggested that I eat more meat! Naturopaths tend to lean toward the vegetarian end of the chow spectrum, so she admitted that this was strange for her, but she thinks I might benefit from red meat: beef, lamb, bison, mutton, venison, salmon, and perhaps not so much chicken as I eat now. Huh. We originally cut back on meat to reduce inflammation, but my inflammation markers are quite low, so I'm up for this change.
- I am currently taking reishi mushroom, and Dr HH suggested a more potent variety known as AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound). I will order some. Naturally, it's quite a LOT more expensive than the reishi.
- Myeloma is not just any cancer - it is a cancer OF the immune system. Therefore, we always have before us the question: "Should we do things that are intended to bolster the immune system, or should we not?" I asked her to go through the list of supplements that I have been taking, with an eye toward eliminating any that may not seem necessary, and especially any that are only intended to boost the immune system in non-specific ways. We struck several off the list. In particular, we eliminated:
- Coenzyme Q-10, of all things. Co-Q10 supports mitochondrial function, and is thought to be a very good supplement, but it's possible that the mechanism by which CC-4047 kills naughty plasma cells may involve interfering with mitochondrial function. If so, then Co-Q10 could be working against the CC-4047. I'm in way over my head here, but for at least a month I'm going to cut back on C0-Q10.
- Borage Oil. I ran across one obscure reference suggesting that borage oil can decrease NK cell activity, which is probably not good. His claims are unsubstantiated, but for now, I'll stop it.
- Others. The link to the right labeled My Supplement Regimen shows the old list with several supplements crossed out.
Dexamethasone is an important part of the treatment, but it does have significant side effects. It can cause muscle wasting and accumulation of fat around the stomach, and it causes insulin resistance very much like that of a diabetic. In fact, it can make a person a diabetic. Bad stuff, and oncologists may not have much advice to offer about reducing side effects. Discussion:
- Carbohydrates are not good on dex days, because they change to glucose and the dexamethasone interferes with "glucose transport." This prevents the organs and muscles from absorbing glucose, resulting in fat buildup instead. Something similar happens to ingested fat. This leaves protein as the preferred nutrient, which does fit well with the new higher-meat diet. So the plan is to reduce carbs and fat on "dex days" (the two days after taking dex), and eat plenty of protein, but reduce total calories to prevent fat accumulation. Anyway, that's the plan.
- Add a chromium supplement, because chromium can improve glucose transport. Up to as much as 1000 micrograms per day. And hope that the mechanism by which dex kills myeloma plasma cells is NOT by interfering with glucose transport to those cells. Yikes.
- On dex days, aerobic exercise is difficult because the muscles run out of glycogen and cannot easily replenish it. Dr HH suggested doing resistance training on those days instead, because that will not significantly depelete glycogen stores but will nevertheless teach muscles to build themselves instead of growing smaller.
Dinner: Organic chicken w ancho pepper, vegetable curry with organic sweet potato, organic zucchini, organic carrots, organic chard, onions, and organic strawberries.