Monday, February 29, 2016

Day #36 ~ Third Week of Venetoclax

For anyone looking for an update last week, I apologize. I never got around to writing on my blog. It is always a safe assumption that no news is good news. Sometimes there just isn't that much to tell.

John is doing very well on this clinical trial so far. We just got him settled into his hospital room for Week #3. He will get the next dose increase tomorrow morning. He started out on 20 mg. Last week he graduated to 50 mg. And tomorrow he will start taking 100 mg. of Venetoclax (formerly known as ABT-199). He won't get another infusion of Gazyva (Obinutuzumab) until March 21. He receives those infusions monthly now through June (and then he's done with the infusion drug for this trial).

Lymph nodes are continuing to lessen in size gradually. And his blood counts are responding beautifully to treatment. His most recent CBC in the doctor's office just prior to admission showed improvement from last week.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Day #23 ~ First Dose of Venetoclax

John was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He had a PICC line inserted successfully. He says it wasn't that bad ... compared to bone marrow biopsies without sedation.

Look at his smile. He has such a great attitude going through all this. He says he has always had a high level of tolerance for undesirable circumstances. He said, "I get it from my dad." And then he added, "Well, from my mom too, actually."

Here's a close up of the PICC line...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Day #15

Today John completed his third dose of Gazyva uneventfully.

For those of you checking on him, he's doing well. He is still tired and feels kind of "bleh" after each infusion. But he's had no further reactions and he is responding well.

I haven't been taking daily photos because his neck hasn't been visibly changing on a daily basis. But here's a picture I just took after his third infused dose of Gazyva (Obinutuzumab).

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


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Monday, February 1, 2016

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words...

Today: John getting ready for Week #2 of Obinutuzumab
(AFTER his first dose)

I'm starting with the "after" picture.

I purposely waited until our second week of treatment to post a blog update for a couple of reasons, but primarily because I believed that John would allow me to share "before" and "after" photos of his neck once he was feeling (and looking) a little better. I had a hard time convincing him even to let me take a picture of him one week ago.

And here's why...
He was miserable.

January 24: The night BEFORE starting treatment

After a month without any treatment, John's lymph nodes had become bulky throughout his body. His white count had increased and platelets were down. But his blood has never been where his CLL prefers to "hang out." John's chronic leukemia has always behaved more like a lymphoma, with the unhealthy white blood cells proliferating in his lymph nodes.