CAL-101 Update: Marian (Completion of Cycle 10)

Great news today. Marian's white count came down to normal this visit. You may recall from previous blog posts that her white count went up at her May doctor's visit and up a little more when it was checked by her PCP in Evansville two weeks later. We were wondering if she was not responding to the 100 mg. dose of CAL-101 as well as her initial dose of 150 mg. But perhaps those three weeks of not taking it (while recovering from pneumonia) or possibly an infection in her body caused the WBC increase. Whatever the case may be (and all my guessing is just that; pure speculation), today's results were great.

Here are the numbers:

WBC:     5.8
ALC:      3.5
Neuts:     2.0
RBC:      4.02
HGB:     10.7
HCT:     36.8
PLT:      185

Obviously, everyone is pleased with her response and Marian will continue on CAL-101 at her current dosage. She says she feels great and only has one complaint. She has a lot of body aches and pains. After her pneumonia, she had some signs of achilles tendonitis (which can be a side effect of Levaquin). But that has cleared up. This is more of a "hurting all over" that she says is hard to describe. She has been wondering if it could be a side effect of treatment or one of the prophylactic medications she takes to protect her body from infection. It's difficult to pinpoint the cause. Many CLL patients have body aches (John does). And Cheryl (our nurse practitioner) said that it could also be associated with the study drug. It's hard to say whether it's the CLL or the treatment, since many CLL patients experience similar aches and pains prior to receiving any treatment at all. Marian did not have these aches and pains until after her pneumonia. And she began CAL-101 therapy in early October.

Another factor is also her age. She will be 79 in October. Her aches and pains have come on seemingly out of nowhere. She has always been so vibrant and youthful for her age. And she still is. If you met her, you would not guess her age. You would be more likely to guess her a decade younger. But we have been reminding her that aches and pains often accompany the natural aging process and she's been pretty fortunate to enjoy such youthful vibrancy for all these years. It's possible she would be feeling her age a little more even if she didn't have CLL. I don't have CLL. I'm 52. And I have exercised religiously for the past 21 years. But I am noticing aches and pains I never had in my forties.

All that being true, I sometimes feel a little guilty for reminding her of her age. I have a feeling I'm not going to want to hear, "You have to remember, you are almost 80 years old" all the time, either!

So ... I'm trying to listen and empathize more rather than simply chalking up whatever can't be diagnosed to getting older!

However, there is a lot to be thankful for considering aches and pains are her only problem right now. And we ARE thankful!


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