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cml
chronic myeloid leukemia
gleevec
article one
cyber world
8 years
possibilities
medications
medication
depression
Side Effects From My First Medication For CML 2003
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Greetings! I imagine if you have chosen this article to read either you or someone you know has Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML). This is actually the first of three short articles describing the side effects I have experienced from the three medications I have taken over my last 8 years with CML. Each article pertains to each drug. My first prescribed drug was Interferon, then Gleevec, and currently I take Sprycel. So this being article one I'll start with sharing my experience with Interferon.

Each time I have started a new treatment I've been curious what others experienced. That information is not readily available. I of course read the label for side effects, but that to me was a bit overwhelming. I wanted to hear from someone. I decided I would put it out there in cyber world for others. I hope this will help you.

A most important fact to remember is that people react differently to drugs - some have the same side effects and others will experience some side effects more intensely where other may not experience them at all. To me this is all about knowing the possibilities. Knowing possibilities helps me be prepared. Being prepared helps me cope better with what ever may be coming down the pike!

When I first began taking medication for CML back in 2003, the standard therapy at that time was Interferon injections, taken daily and taken subcutaneously. I remember that we started off with a low dose and would try after several weeks to increase the dose until we got to a goal dose. There were side effects and one in particular hit me hard. I had read the "possible" side effects on the box, so I thought I was prepared. Depression was listed as a side effect with a high occurrence rate. Well I didn't think much of that at the time - I was sure I could handle this and I wouldn't get depressed. So the first 6 weeks past and I was doing pretty well giving myself the daily injection, sleeping, eating okay, and still working in the ER as a staff nurse. Then at about the 6 week mark I was blind sided by this overwhelming sense of, "I don't want to get out of bed, I don't want to work, I don't want to eat, don't talk to me, etc." My three teenage daughters could not get me to do anything. All I did was sleep. Ridiculous hours of sleep. I called off work three days in a row and then "a light bulb went on." I remembered the box and the side effect of depression. It hit me like a brick - fast and hard. I then called my oncologist and told him my story over the last few days. Immediately we backed off on the dosage of the Interferon and I began an anti-depressant immediately. It took about two weeks, but once the anti-depressant was on board I was doing better, the depression was under control. It was probably after a couple months that the next side effect became very clear - I was losing lots of hair and what hair I had left was becoming very brittle. I had long hair at the time, but after a few weeks it was necessary to cut my hair to very short because it was so brittle. The last two side effects I remember taking a toll on me were anxiety and fatigue. The work load in the ER was just to much for me to handle so I decided to transfer from the ER to the Oncology floor. I had a lot to learn about cancer now, and I could relate to the people I would be taking care of.

After ten months on the Interferon I was not improving. I remember the physician saying, "Kris, in the past at this point in treatment I would have to say we need to think about a bone marrow transplant. However, we have a new option! A new drug has just been approved by the FDA - a"wonder drug" has hit the market for CML. It is a class of drug called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The generic name is Imatinib. The brand name is Gleevec. Let's give it a go!"

Thank you for your interest. My next article in this series is "Side Effects From My Second Medication for CML 2004", then "Side Effects From My Third Medication for CML 2007-Present"

I am a Registered Nurse with CML since 2003.


Street Talk

Hello Kris, Just wanted to ask a question. Does hypothermia kill cancer cells? If so would sitting in an infrared sauna that can raise your body temperature to over 104 F help you with cancer? I had read that cancer cannot survive in heat. Do you know if this is true? Thanks and Good Luck Terrence Silver

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Hi Terrance, I have never heard physicians talk about heat or lack of heat will affect cancer cells. Based on what I do know about cancer cells I doubt those articles are true. Thanks for reading and thanks for your reply!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Stacydee  

I enjoyed reading your article about your brother, that's one helluva story! My sister in law is fighting cancer now and has written and published a book to help and guide all others going through it too. (half the proceeds to the cancer foundation) Let me know if it's ok to put the link here.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Stacydee. Hoping your sister in law is doing well. I would appreciate the link - I don't know the rules about links here though. Be well.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Gary2  

Wow Kris sound like you went threw hell, you are so wright with all the side effect in the drugs today. I hope everything work out for you,Great Article. Gary

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thank you for your feedback Gary2.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Gary2  

Your very welcome Kris

  
  about 1 decade ago
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