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Dave's Blog
By Dave Christenson on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 2:37 PM
Dave passed away on August 12th 2009, around 10:00AM. He died in his house while surrounded by family.In his 'drafts' folder I found the following two posts, which he had not had a chance to post. The exact date of each of these is unknown.--------------The battle for a chemo drug to eradicate this terrible disease is over. On Monday when scheduled doctors appointment came at Northwestern Hospital it was told that the third of experimental drugs had failed, two stem cell transplants, two radiations, high dose chemo regiments and in discussion with the Doctor and Barb it was decided to discontinue further treatment. I returned to Central Dupage Hospital where I was able to treat the detoxification of the chemo drug until Friday when I returned home to be with family. Although it has been an emotional battle I would not have hesitate to do it knowing someday a cure will be had.With now as my faith continues to carries me to the final days I know I have done all I can do through hope and prayer.---------------As...
By Dave Christenson on Wednesday, July 01, 2009 6:31 PM
To all,Changes continue to go too fast to consume any time other than adapting. The first week came days 1, 4 and 8 with the Velcade mix previously mentioned causing such severe side effect that on day 11 it was discontinued and a new plan had to go into effect but with another bone marrow aspiration on Tuesday with a total skeletal exam and labs, the end of the day will be a new regiment and inclusion into a phase II study that has existed for two years on a new drug which has seen no or very limited side effects. The question will be whether it will work for me. Having had 4 units of blood in the past two weeks along with a unit of platelets things are becoming emotionally draining. The blood counts have fluctuated with the infusions but keeping me only at the low end of those desired. After next weeks introduction I will have an indicator when further testing is done. For now I rest a lot and am limited to short jaunts.I will come again with updates as my mind clears and a desired path is reached. For now I...
By Dave Christenson on Friday, June 12, 2009 8:18 PM
As with most treatments change will eventually come. Last weeks monthly advanced testing at Northwestern of the blood has shown an elevation of the IGA which is an indicator of the advancing of the myeloma. The availability of the doctor for discussion and options will be next Friday. It was spoke of on the phone that Velcade could be added to the mix of chemo fighting agents that I am currently on. Early on I was on Velcade which at that time brought me to nearing wheelchair mobility because of the painful side effects of the increase in neuropathy that I experienced. The doctor has led me through two years of treatments which have kept the myeloma at bay but with many ups and downs. The emotional drain is continuous but I still consider myself fortunate to have had this time available to me. With hope and prayers I continue to look for the door left open and with that I continue.Due to the weekly local blood draws and the monthly advanced testing at Northwestern it has always been said that they would know...
By Dave Christenson on Friday, May 29, 2009 6:10 AM
To all,The last few weeks have been uneventfull with the three weeks on and one week off the oral chemo. There are highs and lows of fatugue and weekness but normally follow my insistence on remaining active and accomplishing some of the realities of liquidation of excess stuff. Having passed the two year mark since being diagnosed I have been given a rare opportunity to put things in order and hopefully make the paperwork more workable. Selling off excess becomes a separation anxiety that I have gotten past but still realize that chapters of my life are closed and the new ones are yet to be written given the time to wonder, why me. Doing what I can around the house rewards me with getting to things that I've put off and much will make no difference other than keeping my mind busy and watching others continue in the hectic life that many have made for themselves.I remain steadfast in my desire to fight the cancer since there is still traces showing in the weekly/monthly blood draws. Having got past the flu season...
By Dave Christenson on Wednesday, May 06, 2009 6:03 PM
To all,

Doctors visit today confirmed that the oral maintenance chemo is having a direct effect on the cancer and keeping it under control. Todays testing results will give me the latest in the response what the chemo is doing but as last mentioned it was nearing remission with only a trace showing in the blood.
The side effects that I'm accepting and dealing with are the continued neuropathy and the new painfull cramping in the hands. There are occassional charlie horses in the lower legs. I will keep in touch as the results are had from the latest testing.

Everything has been good for the last few weeks with great attitude and accomplisment.

Have a great evening,
By Dave Christenson on Friday, April 10, 2009 4:49 PM
Good news today from the latest blood draw. The myeloma has been further reduced by the present Revlimid/Dexamethasone combination of oral drugs that I'm taking on a 28 day cycle of 3 week on and 1 week off. For those technical in knowledge my IGA is at 145 and the IGAkappa indicating normalcy shows only a trace. The result of this is that I'm nearing remission which is the closest I've been since treatments began two years ago this May. The side effect of neuropathy have made my lower legs and especially my feet very sensitive to touch causing numbness of the bottoms of my feet and occasional pain with aching in the ankles. Use of my hands for gripping causing painful cramping which is a new side effect that I've begun to experience.My hemoglobin is down which will require a unit of blood this week. I will return to Northwestern on May 7th for the next doctor's visit while in the meantime I will continue to get blood draws weekly and the Aredia and IVG infusion once a month thru my local oncologist. I've begun...
By Dave Christenson on Saturday, March 28, 2009 9:25 AM
The second eye surgery went well with now both eyes being just shy of 20/20 vision and only the need for readers at present for close up work. What a joy to be able to see without the blurred vision of the cataract growth.The first three weeks of the Revlimid/Dexamethasone treatment has been uneventful with no noticeable side effects. The combination has been recently reported as giving an extended time to progression of disease. With that I am pleased to be able to be around for awhile longer and with further doors opening. The following sight gives a quick overview. There is a certain amount of weakness and fatigue associated with the treatment but it feels good to sleep in every once in awhile.I will be seeing the doctors at Northwestern this week and reviewing my status. I do have weekly blood draws for monitoring all the different counts which are indicators of any change. As the doctors say, "we will know if something is wrong before you feel it".I'm looking forward to the warm weather since it is hard...
By Dave Christenson on Saturday, March 14, 2009 2:45 PM
Left eye cataract surgery was very successful restoring its sight to 20/20. With that I have scheduled the right eye for two weeks down the road. With so much clarity in the left eye it is now the right eye that appears to have total cataract enclosure over the lens area. What a blessing to see so clearly.Last week Karen was confirmed to be a perfect match for a third transplant. No plans are present for making that move until we follow through on the Revlimid /Dexamethasone treatment which is only one week into the first cycle. A surprise call this week from a former Blue Cross Blue Shield case worker also confirmed that the second submittal of request has granted coverage for the third transplant. A huge hurdle to have gained so quickly. I swear all that has been gifted to me is a miracle. With 20% fatality rate for patient on the third transplant it will take some thought but the door has been left open.The only noticeable change thus far in treatment is the extended hours of sleep. This regiment of chemo...
By Dave Christenson on Saturday, March 07, 2009 8:42 PM
With The progression of cataracts due to the multiple chemo treatments my vision continues to diminish with blurry vision after having received new glasses in January. Knowing in advance of this and with the eventuality of having surgery it has been scheduled for this Wednesday starting with the left eye which is the worst with cataracts covering the focal point. At the same time I will have intraocular lens replacement. Never a dull moment.Results from the blood testing did show a reduction of the myeloma indicator to 10% of what it was which again has given the cancer a big blow. Starting this week with the Revlimid and Dexamethasone treatment I should have a further period of time while still feeling good and am able to get around with little discomfort but do sleep a lot. This month has been filled with appointments for eyes, dentist and doctors leaving me with keeping track of what to do on what day and at what time.In two to three weeks I should have indications if the present regiment of chemo will have...
By Dave Christenson on Monday, February 23, 2009 6:32 PM
The doctor’s visit at Northwestern today left questions yet to be answered. Although Karen had been tested for a sibling match my blood workup needed further information to determine if there was a match. There was an indicator that caused the doctor to feel the chemo while in the hospital had affected the myeloma but today’s blood draw would further that determination, It was decided that for now all present medications would continue but there would be the addition of four new drugs of a chemo regiment with one being Revlimid. This is one of the last of the known cancer fighting agents that has good results where other treatments have failed. All will be oral adding to the trail mix of present medications. Revlimid is stronger than Thalidomide but with less side effects. With this combination being given it is hoped to not increase any of the neuropathy thus far experienced and yet make an impactful blow to the cancer. I will have weekly blood draws to monitor and will return to Northwestern in four weeks to...
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