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Multiple Myeloma Chemotherapy- “Energy Draining Side Effects of Velcade, Revlimid

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“The good news is that conventional oncology has gotten pretty good at putting myeloma patients into remission. The bad news is achieving remission usually involves a lot of myeloma chemotherapy… mean toxicity bringing short, long-term and late stage collateral damage…”

Hi David- my name is Angie. My husband was diagnosed at the age of 51 with an aggressive stage of Multiple Myeloma 2 years ago.  I will ask about energy-draining side effects below…When he was diagnosed, my husband’s symptoms were:

  • lesions on almost all his bones,
  • compression fractures in his vertebrae,
  • a lower back fracture and
  • his creatinine was 3.6

He under went the induction chemotherapy of  cytoxin (cyclophosphamide), revlimid (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone therapy. My husband’s MM stabilized with induction therapy.

His kappa lambda light chains went from 9000 to 140 after a few cycles of his induction therapy. His creatinine level is now 1.3

My husband participated in a CAR-T clinical trial for newly diagnosed patients which put him in remission for about 3 months, but he then relapsed.

Once my husband relapsed after his CAR-T cell therapy he had an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) in the fall of 2019.

When he completed his ASCT, he began maintenance therapy. He is on 15mg of revlimid and gets a Velcade shot every other week. The Velcade shot wipes him out for a few days.

My husband has changed to a completely whole foods plant based vegan diet 6 weeks ago in an attempt to have more energy and to lose weight.  Unfortunately he has not gotten any relief from either.

My husband walks about 3 or 4 miles everyday, except after the Velcade days. The new diet has taken most of the back pain away and he is off all his pain medications.

I guess my question is are there foods/supplements that help to off-set the energy draining side effects of the Velcade and Revlimid to some degree? Thank you, Angie

Hi Angie-
I am sorry to learn of your husband’s MM diagnosis and associated health challenges. My interpretation of his “energy draining side effects of velcade/revlimid” is that he is experiencing myelosuppression in general which may be specifically
  • anemia,
  • neutropenia,
  • thrombocytopenia, etc.
Myelosuppression is a fancy medical term meaning that chemotherapy is preventing your husband’s blood/bone marrow from creating the normal amount of red, white blood cells and platelets. Myelosuppression can be exhausting. The kind of exhaustion that a night’s sleep or a long nap won’t help. See the definition linked below.
If you think about the therapy your husband has undergone since his diagnosis of MM two years ago, he has experienced:
  • induction chemotherapy (cytoxan, revlimid, dexamethasone)
  • CAR-T cell therapy
  • an autologous stem cell transplant (high-dose, aggressive chemotherapy)
  • and now he is undergoing maintenance chemotherapy (daily revlimid with velcade every two weeks)
I understand that your husband’s diagnosis was advanced (probably stage III) and therefore his MM involvement was extensive. Because your husband’s MM was so extensive my guess is that his oncologists believed it was necessary to take an aggressive approach to his treatment. And in fact, your husband was able to stabilize his MM.
 I am not passing judgment in any way on his therapies. I am simply saying that he has withstood a LOT of toxicity over the past two years. Between you and me, the fact that he walks 3-4 miles most days is impressive.
I cannot determine your husband’s bone marrow health without reading through his blood diagnostic testing for the past couple of years. I need to understand where his red, white blood cells were, where his platelets were, where they are now, etc.
I am explaining my thinking based on your question and explanation of his therapy history.
To answer your question, “are there foods/supplements that help to off-set the energy draining side effects of the velcade and revlimid to some degree?”
My answer is yes, there are foods and supplements that can offset damage done by toxic chemotherapy but the outcome of your husband’s situation depends on extent of his myelosuppression.
The bottom article linked below is a blog I wrote some time ago about the issue that you are asking about. I linked several therapies in the post.
The challenge MM patients and their caregivers often face is that conventional oncology does not study or recognize evidence-based but non-coventional, non-FDA approved therapies. For example, though curcumin has been shown to be
  • cytotoxic to MM,
  • integrative (enhance velcade)
  • protect kidney health
  • promote bone health
  • protect blood health
conventional oncology often will not discuss curcumin with patients, will not study it, will not prescribe curcumin, etc.
All to say Angela, I think there are therapies for your husband to undergo but you probably won’t learn about those therapies from his oncologist.
Let me know if you have any other questions. Hang in there,
David Emerson
  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

severe myelosuppression  (… MY-eh-loh-suh-PREH-shun)

“A severe form of myelosuppression. Myelosuppression is a condition in which bone marrow activity is decreased, resulting in fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It is a side effect of some cancer treatments. Also called myeloablation…”

Myeloma Chemotherapy Blood Side Effects

The good news is that conventional oncology has gotten pretty good at putting myeloma patients into remission. The bad news is achieving remission usually involves a lot of myeloma chemotherapy. Doublets, triplets, ASCT (single or double), and maintenance therapies mean toxicity bringing short, long-term and late stage collateral damage…”

Leave a Comment:

Brandon Meier says 4 years ago

Hello I would like know what you anything about rso oil or rick simpson oil ?

    David Emerson says 4 years ago

    HI Brandon-

    I don’t know much about RSO. Sorry.

    David Emerson

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