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

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Current stats... just go away Myeloma

Hello everyone, and happy almost holidays to all of you that follow my blog :)

December is a month of reflection and recollection for me, with a lot of original Myeloma diagnosis milestones:
Dec 14, 2009 first Hematology/Oncology (I'm in the wrong place) appointment
Dec 18, 2009 first surprise, why me, shocking bone marrow biopsy
Dec 30, 2009 totally unexpected Myeloma C A N C E R  diagnosis

I am feeling a bit melancholy... as being re-diagnosed and out of remission so soon has hit me differently than my initial diagnosis... but enough of this... and on to my recent statistics.

Had my monthly oncology appointment on Monday and even with being back on Revlimid chemo and Dex steroids and all the other meds... my Myeloma markers still increased:

Specifically my IgA immunoglobulins are now 1890, up 400 points from just last month, and more than double what they were this summer when I came out of remission. On Kaiser's scale, normal range is between 40-700

My M-protein (M-spike) is now 1.4, up from zero after my autologous stem cell transplant in July 2010.

My oncologist wants to double my Revlimid dose, (from 5mg to 10mg), but I said no thank you, let me enjoy the holidays without increased side effects and possible complications. My initial 2010 treatment started at 10mg, with somewhat bearable side effects. But when we increased to 15mg, I wound up with a serious rash and other dangerous side effects, so we quickly backed down to 10mg.

Onward the battle goes...

And when this awful CA Artic Chill disappears
I'll join my darling pups for some sun !

They make me smile


  1. Hang in there, Julie. Xoxo!

  2. Oh Julie, I'm sorry to hear this. Has your oncologist considered other options and combinations? We have heard promising results here for relapse, with some of the newly approved drugs and even going back on Velcade. Ernie has been on 10 mg. Revlimid for 3 years now. Thankful his system can tolerate it. Praying you can enjoy the holidays and catch some sun with your pups. Battle on!

  3. Julie,You are the best at being positive.This too will pass! Have a great

  4. I read every single blog entry. I love you and so thankful for you. Love Madonna


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