Cowgirl Up!!! ... Does Horse Poop Cause Cancer??

Friday, September 20, 2013

15 Hours Fast Forward

Did you notice?
Tuesday night September 18 was a stunning full moon!

My "PonyPal" daughters Alissa and Courtney came home from college to moonlight ride with me!
Check that, Bucket List!!

Grooming fuzzy Buckskin, Black and Red-Appy spotted coats in the moonlight
Combing out knotted silky manes and tails 
Breathing in sweet horse scents, under oak tree umbrellas
Breathing in life
In the full brilliant white moon

Chatting, laughing, reminiscing, hugging, catching up
Grooming, brushing, saddling
Chatting, laughing, taking pictures...
Giggling and being goofy like a decade ago
Nostalgic memories permeating the crisp almost fall night
Pretending no worries, carefree retrospective momentary innocence

Saddle pads centered
Saddles on
Cinches cinched
Bridles and reins secured
Cowgirl up!

Silly as it sounds, we rode loops around the barn in the backyard
Circling only a small area, just like kids on pony rides
But it meant the world to me
Horses and humans in perfect sync

It was a huge full moon
Like a bright flashlight shinning down from the heavens
An incredible night beyond description
Sweet sublime memories permanently etched deep
Sealed in our psyches for safe forever keeping

And then
Just 14 hours later
We are whizzing down LA freeways
Navigating traffic craziness
Cars colliding, complicating our route
Destination: downtown Kaiser, bone marrow transplant hematology oncology
Reason: out of remission status appointment

15 hours after riding carefree, I am discussing my body's betrayal
Discussing upcoming chemo treatment options
Cancer that is back
Cancer that is coursing again through and in my blood
Cancer called Myeloma, that is trying to terminate my moonlight rides and terminate me

15 and half hours after laughing, giggling, reminiscing, grooming, and being so carefree
I am suddenly surprised with a stinging intense Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy
I am in physical pain
I sob more from what it means, than what it feels like

15 and half hours from beautiful, silly, joyful merriment in the moonlight
I am being pounded and punctured in my hip bone
Expert, precise, caring, knowing surgical hands
Piercing, drilling, stinging deep into my being
Medical tools invading and drawing out my bone marrow
Soon to define and determine
Myeloma's status within me

15 hours ago I was so very very happy and falsely worry free
15 and a half hours ago I was surprised with a spontaneous 4th bone marrow biopsy
My heart and mind is racing
As soon, biopsy results will tell all

It's a full moon tonight, tomorrow, this weekend
Did you notice?
I did!

Thank you always, to those of you reading and following my crazy MM journey. I deeply appreciate your expressions of love, concern, caring and comments. Deep heartfelt gratitude :)

Next blog:
Biopsy results
Treatment options and decisions


  1. I have been reading your post for some time. Please hang in there! There are days ahead, just like the moonlite ride and you must concentrate on doing those and not the bad things. I have MM and so did my father and brother, so I understand somewhat/maybe the swing of emotions with this cursed disease. I appreciate riding horses also and have since a young keep on riding!
    Carpe Diem!

  2. Beautiful and meaningful post, Julie. I don't have horses but I always wanted one as a young girl. I can just picture you and your daughters in the beautiful moonlight - it WAS like a flashlight shining down and it lit up my backyard making our porch look as white as snow. Isn't it wonderful that you had that experience to fortify you for your bone marrow biopsy and all the emotions surrounding relapse. I am thinking good thoughts for you and sending hugs and keeping you in my prayers.
    Carole Leigh

  3. Quite a contrast between the two images! So happy you planned and experienced that amazing moonlit ride, etched in your memory forever. Praying they can get your MM back under control soon!

  4. My crazy, spontaneous, silly, loud, witty, creative, sensitive, loving, nurturing, compassionate, prankster, beautiful, did I mention loud?, outdoorsy, brave, strong, poetic long time friend. You have been blessed with the gift to light up a room. Hold on to that courage, that strong will! We have too many more checks to mark on our bucket lists,,,and I expect to be doing that for the next 45 years. ;) You are in my prayers,,,,always. Sending fence hugs.

  5. Julie, I was SO happy that you landed in my office this afternoon. I've been so busy with life that I have not been following your blog and I was unaware of your out of remission status. I love reading your beautiful posts and, as usual, through it all, you have an amazing spirit! Please swing by my office the next time you go to the "good" bathroom! With love, hope and prayers, Gay

  6. All I have to say is I am sorry you have to endure such physical pain but I truly admire your determination and positivity!!


My Story... How my MM was diagnosed

October/November/December 2009...

Most of my life I was VERY presumptuous about being healthy, taking my (mostly) GOOD health for granted...
I was committed to annual check-ups for all of us, and so late October 2009, Alissa and I went for our annual physicals.

Surprise, surprise... my routine blood tests revealed Anemia, White and Red Cell issues, low Platelets, and a variety of other CBC red flags! I was (stupidly) not worried when my GP doc left repeated phone messages to contact him and when we did speak, I (stupidly) requested postponement his referral appointment to the Hematology Dept until the end of the Fall term.
Arriving for my first appointment Dec 14, 2009, I was confronted with the check-in sign that read: "Hematology/Oncology"!
What?? Nooooo! not me... I must be in the WRONG place!
And so my diagnosis journey began with vials and vials of blood drawn "stat", urgent Dr consultations, a suprise and painful Bone Marrow Biopsy, a full body Skeletal Scan, more blood tests stat, and then... on 12.30.2009... THE revealing meeting... the "huh-what" moment ... the confirmation diagnosis that I, Julie, have CANCER!!!

Happy New Year to me, I just learned a new vocabulary word:
Multiple Myeloma!!! MM, Multiple Mye-what-loma!!!

January - June 2010

My medical metamorphosis began.
I read, and read, and read and researched and researched MM. I trusted my expert Oncology team, Dr Lee and Nurse Jalee at Kaiser PC, and Dr Spielberger and Dr Kogut at Sunset Kaiser/City of Hope hospital.
I began to formulate a new reality and accept my "New Normal".
My treatment plan was developed to include powerful Dexemthesone steroids paired with Revlimid chemotherapy, with the plan to be hospitalized for an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant July 2010.
I began living "one day at a time" like never before.
Jim was a wreck. Alissa and Scott were stunned; family and friends shocked.

Me... Cowgirl Up! I got back in the saddle and knew I was in for the ride of my life!
I've done remarkably well these past months on my pill-form Chemo, "roid-rage" Steroids and other supportive meds. I am forever deeply grateful and appreciative for all the love and support from everyone in my personal and professional life! I thank all of you for working along with me, and allowing me to continue to lead a semi "normal" life!
YOU have helped save my life!

And now... the trail ride forks to City of Hope hospital as I will saddle up beginning June 9, 2010 for a new rodeo called an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant!
Ye-Ha, let the adventure begin!

Chemical Warfare...

January 2010 - May 2010:

So you've all wondered why I still can lead a semi "normal" life, with more good days than not-so-good-days.
It's because I've been on the following chemo regimen:

Pill form Chemo= Revlimid (.10mg capsules), and I still have (had) hair
Pill form Dexamethasone Steroids (20-40 mg!) paired with Pepcid
Mepron (looks like yellow finger paint!)
B-12- to build those cells!!
.81 Aspirin to prevent Revlimid complications

What the Heck is Multiple Myeloma?!

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of your plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in your bone marrow. Plasma cells normally make proteins called antibodies to help you fight infections.
In multiple myeloma, a group of abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) multiplies, raising the number of plasma cells to a higher than normal level. Since these cells normally make proteins, the level of abnormal proteins in your blood also may go up. Health problems caused by multiple myeloma can affect your bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count. Although the exact cause isn't known, doctors do know that multiple myeloma begins with one abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow — the soft, blood-producing tissue that fills in the center of most of your bones. This abnormal cell then starts to multiply. Because abnormal cells don't mature and then die as normal cells do, they accumulate, eventually overwhelming the production of healthy cells. In healthy bone marrow, less than 5 percent of the cells are plasma cells. But in people with multiple myeloma, more than 10 percent of the cells may be plasma cells. Because myeloma cells may circulate in low numbers in your blood, they can populate bone marrow in other parts of your body, even far from where they began. That's why the disease is called multiple myeloma. Uncontrolled plasma cell growth can damage bones and surrounding tissue. It can also interfere with your immune system's ability to fight infections by inhibiting your body's production of normal antibodies. Researchers are studying the DNA of plasma cells to try to understand what changes occur that cause these cells to become cancer cells. Though they haven't yet discovered the cause of these changes, they have found that almost all people with multiple myeloma have genetic abnormalities in their plasma cells that probably contributed to the cancer. For example, many myeloma cells are missing all or part of one chromosome — chromosome 13. Cells with a missing or defective chromosome 13 tend to be more aggressive and harder to treat than are cells with a normal chromosome 13. ~ From the Mayo Clinic