Posted by: Barbara | August 29, 2008


We must apologize for not updating the blog for quite some time.  To give you a quick update,  Mario has completed 8 months of chemo and continues to work and feel well.  The beginning of August, Dr. Dushkin performed a bone marrow biopsy, which is a very good indicator of the state of the disease (Multiple Myeloma). A needle is placed at the base of the spine in several different locations. Unfortunately, the results showed that 90 % of Mario’s plasma cells were cancerous. These cells were arranged in sheets. At the same visit, Dr. Dushkin told us that she is leaving the practice to return to Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philly. We were quite devastated.

So, it’s back to the experts again to determine the next best treatment. First, we went to see Dr. Bodras at the Unoiversity of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. He was quite preplexed that Mario is feeeling so well and continues to work. Mario also had very few side effects from the chemo. Dr. Bodras came up with a combination of 6-7 drugs that would be given in combination during a 4 day hospitalization. This is a “hit you over the head” type treatment. He wants to knock the cancer out quickly and aggressively.

Second, we visited Dr. Huff at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore. She is a much calmer person who leaves you feeling more optomistic about treatment. She suggested a combination of 3 drugs….thalidomide, dex and cytoxan. Cytoxan is an alkalizing agent which Mario took orally previously. She felt that he needs to take it at a higher dosage intravenously. This is also a very aggressive regimen but is given as an outpatient. It is administered once every 3 weeks for 11 hours…..this might have to be done in a hospital setting as the oncologist’s office isn’t open 11 hours. There could be kidney damage with these meds, so most of the 11 hours is spent hydrating the patient. The chemo is delivered in about an hour.

We return next Tuesday to see Dr. Dushkin and make another BIG decision. This disease has many decisions to make along the way as even the experts don’t agree. Often, there is a lot of luck involved in hitting upon a combination of drugs that work for that particular patient.  Your prayers are asked for at this difficult decision time….help us to choose the right path to remission! Thanks to all for your support…………..



  1. Mr. Acuna is always in our thoughts and prayers! wishing you all guidance in this tough time! let us know if you need anything.

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