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Words of Hope – FLAM

Sept 2, 2008
August 2008 was one of many difficult months, I had begun my 2nd round of treatment after my relapse.  I needed an experimental chemo treatment called FLAM to achieve my first remission.  FLAM was a difficult experience.  Because I had relapsed, I needed a different treatment and had to start the whole process over.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, my FLAM treatment was created by one of my doctors, Dr. Judy Karp.  The FLAM treatment took me through the majority of August.  My most memorable experience of the FLAM were the rigors it caused when I was given one of the components of the chemo therapy.   My body shook uncontrollably for hours.  The more I would fight it the more I would shake.  I was given a heavy dosage of a narcotic, Dilaudid, to fight the rigors.  The narcotic was as bad as the rigors, I could not stop throwing up as soon as it was administered.  I’d make a terrible junkie.   I did finally complete the FLAM treatment in late August and was, again, allowed to go home.  I can’t explain how good being at home felt, even though I had to self administer antibiotics through the port in my chest.  I also had to visit Hopkins everyday to make sure an infection was not festering and my blood counts were rising positively with no leukemia.  I was back on track for the bone marrow transplant; it was now scheduled for October.  My original date had been mid August.  September was to be spent recovering and preparing for the transplant.  Things would then take another strange turn…