What You Don't Know Can Kill You

Since being diagnosed with CML my blood lipids climbed. The reason why? Because I could no longer take any statin medication to keep it healthy.

Statins are contraindicated with Dasatinib (Sprycel) which is the chemo drug I am taking. It is because of the way they are absorbed in the body through the liver. To keep the explanation simple, just imagine a turnstile and two people attempting to go through it at once. Statins are the bully to pushes Dasatinib out of the way to pass through the turnstile. So your body never absorbs the dosage you are supposed to be taking to treat the leukemia.

That becomes a bit of a quandary.

Keeping things in the dark is not healthy!
When I began treatment, all of my standard medications that were also bullys got taken away. Without statins, my lipid counts shot upwards into unsafe levels. Considering that my tummy didn't like the chemo and I immediately lost a lot of weight due to ongoing nausea, one would think my cholesterol would not have climbed. I stuck to a heart healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and no junk food, it didn't help. (I couldn't have eaten junk food even if I wanted to.) Though, admittedly, because of ongoing nausea, some nutrients were not absorbed. Still, I was shocked with what happened to my lipids.

I was very frustrated, unhappy and annoyed. Especially annoyed. With continued high lipids to challenge my heart health, it began to look like I would have more medical problems to deal with! Believe me, I've got enough diagnoses to educate a med school student. Was there nothing more to be done?

I researched information on Dasatinib. I contacted the maker, Bristol-Myers Squibb to see if they could recommend something. No, they said to talk to my doctor. My primary care doctor was adamant that all I could do was to keep to a healthy diet. My oncologist could not give me any suggestions.

Why would a drug manufacturer not have some kind of suggestion? I understand why my primary care doctor could only advocate diet and fiber. Prescribing chemo drugs was not in her realm. And why hadn't my oncologist investigated further to see what else could be done? It all seemed quite irresponsible to me. I wondered how many other patients go through this and feel helpless. How many just go along with the situation and accept things as they are? No, don't tell me. I don't really want to know. I really wish that there could be classes one could take to become a more savvy medical consumer.

I've learned over the decades while dealing with my myriad of medical problems that if I don't keep a watchful eye on things, mistakes can happen. I wanted to solve this dilemma of the lack of a safe drug to take. The more I researched the more I learned. Pravastatin is okay to take for a person who is taking Dasatinib! Pravastatin is NOT A Bully!

I presented my doctors with the evidence and now I have taken Pravastatin for two months. I am so relieved and happy. Look at the results:


ComponentStandard Range1/16/20122/2/20127/9/20123/1/2013
Total cholesterol289 H274 H249 H192
Triglyceride276 H308 H221 H125
HDL cholesterol474435 L57
LDL Calculated187 H168 H170 H110
VLDL (Calculated)5.0-40.0 mg/dL55 H62 H44 H25
Cholesterol to HDL Ratio6.1 H6.2 H7.1 H3.4

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