Kirby Stone's Personal Profile
Treatment with Thalidomide (2004-2006)
Returning to Cincinnati in March 2004, we searched for a hematologist/oncologist that would try to treat the MDS aggressively rather than just watching and waiting. My work in research and engineering would not let me take such a passive approach. I always felt a proactive approach was best in dealing with any situation.
We found a wonderful hematologist/oncologist who had helped a dear friend of ours with chronic leukemia a few years before. On April 14, 2004, we met Dr. B and discussed my situation. He did a BMB that day and said to give him a week to get the results and come up with a treatment plan. He said he would help us and would treat my MDS. Nancy and I were very happy to have a doctor who would try to treat my MDS aggressively. I had been diagnosed with it on February 4 and it was now April 24, and I had not received any treatment or medication for MDS as of this date.
On April 21, we found the blasts were now at 14-16%, increasing from the 12.5% at the Arizona Cancer Center. Dr. B started me on Thalidomide at 100 mg/day on April 21. At the time there were no drugs specifically for MDS. Thalidomide had been successfully used for Multiple Myeloma patients and had been tried in an "off label" use for MDS with some success.
Within 3 weeks my platelets and Hgb were increasing and within 5 weeks all counts were increasing. My response to Thalidomide was exceptional. Procrit and Neupogen were used as needed initially but were later discontinued as all the blood counts returned to good values.
On September 22, 2004, a BMB revealed no dysplastic cells and the blasts less than 2%. We were thrilled at the results.
Over the 2.5+ years of my journey up to that point I had eight BMBs to monitor my bone marrow conditions. Dr. Brahmamdam was keeping careful track of my MDS.