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Sunday, October 16, 2016

The True Story of 40mg Dex Steroids!

Hello 10.16.16

Finally…the crash fog is lifting. I can breathe again. I can feel some relief. I don’t ache as much. I can feel hope again. I’m finally (somewhat) ok in my own skin. I have “perspective” again. The frustration, anger, sadness and overwhelming sense of defeat is disappearing. It’s been 5 bi-polar crazy making days of steroid up up up and down down down.

These mysterious, cancer gobbling Dexamethasone Steroids make me feel so temporarily, momentarily wonderful, “high”, “buzzed” and “well”. There’s an amazing physiological and psychological energizing rush and boost that happens, with an amazing sense of being ok, being well, being who I used to be, being capable of “anything” again. Steroids give me pretend super powers.

Then it happens… the crash fog rolls in. The unbearable, awful, stifling, suffocating crash creeps in, engulfing my entire being, strangling me in an undefinable yuckiness. It’s not instantaneous. It creeps in rather slowly, hour by hour, dragging me further down the tunnel of misery, ripping away the surreal “helium high”. It rolls in throughout my body, permeating my being, physically, psychologically, dragging me into a pit of gloom and misery for days.

Tuesday, (6 days ago), I slammed back 40mg of Dexamethasone steroids with a Vanilla Ensure. That’s 10 little 4mg pills. They look so benign and insignificant. 10 little mint green pills that will get in my body and start telling myeloma to skedaddle the hello out of my body. 10 little miraculous pills that do so much good, yet eventually wreak havoc with me. 10 x 4 = 40. That’s “high dose” in the myeloma world. Haven’t done that since January 2010, and I don’t know how long I will be doing this level. To infinity? For 3 weeks, it’s 20mg + 20mg on Kyprolis infusion days. For one week, 40mg at one pop, on my Kyprolis off week… which used to be my “break week”. No more breaks. No more “break week”. Continuous, continual treatment… forward march to infinity. 

I take these lovely little mint green pills when I wake up. Some wake up extra early to get a jump start on the crazy-making side effects, so sleep won’t be entirely elusive later on. Me, after almost 7 years now, I’ve learned to not change my life too much to accommodate myeloma. “F you myeloma”, I say to myself as I swallow those 10 little pills. “F you cancer”. So whenever I wake up and get my day started, I take those 10 little magical monsters. As I swallow them, I know all too well what’s to come in the next several hours and days. I know the crazy bi polar extremities awaiting me. But I do what I have to do, to survive.

Several hours later I begin to feel a wonderful sense of “everything’s going to be ok”! My body doesn’t ache as much, my spirits are lifted, I’m feeling more energized, happy and hungry! I feel hope.

Several more hours later, the euphoria increases. I want to “do something”, accomplish something, get somewhere, do all the things myeloma, chemo, side effects and fatigue have prevented me from doing. I’m hungrier. Roar! I feel light and full of life. I breathe deep and almost forget I have cancer. I’m beginning to feel “alive”.

Thank you for the awesome picture Dr Dianne!
Several more hours later, I’m bouncing off the walls. Roar! Most everything is funny. Life is going to be ok. I’m going to be ok. I want to scream to the world, that I’ll be ok, Julie is coming back! Let’s party! Let’s do something. Let’s go somewhere. Help me make up for lost time! Play with me, laugh with me, fly with me, run with me, scream with me. Maybe I don’t have to take disability retirement after all I ponder.

Here I am, lower right corner lol, DexaMETH lab ;)

Several more hours later I want to eat the entire grocery store or restaurant menu. I want to do even more things: play, laugh, clean, straighten up, do chores, work, organize, drive, ride, walk, run, play, laugh, scream, write stories, tell stories, plan events, go into my office, help students, help people, save the world, eat good food and not so good food. I want to do everything. I dream of riding my horses, going on trips, hiking, riding, lake sports, skiing, running in nature, yelling to the world, “I’ll be fine!” “I’m winning”! I feel like I can accomplish anything. My power is back. Julie is back, world! Watch out, get on my bus, or get out of the way! Everyone and everything is funny, joyous, happy, accomplishable. I talk louder and don’t care. It feels great to feel so alive! 

Several more hours later I know I have to wind down to eventually sleep. But eh, who cares. I don’t want this euphoria and bliss to end. I want to accomplish, laugh, play, enjoy life while I can. I love feeling somewhat ok. It’s unbelievable to me. I want to dance, run, scream, skip, hike, do things! And I want to eat everything in sight. Sometimes I do, sometimes I control myself. Mint green ice cream matches the theme of those sweet little mint green killer steroid pills. I love having energy. I want to be me again. I temper myself and control my cravings. Mind over matter. It’s late at night. The moon is shimmering through my window. I feel so alive, I feel so me again.

I submit and give in. I drink chamomile tea. I take Melatonin or Benadryl. I try to find funny things to watch on TV, or read or just peruse online. I’m energized and positive. I’m often up late enough to hear the hoot owls hooting. The moon, the owls, the night birds. I feel so alive! I’ve learned to love the late nights, new mornings. It’s so peaceful to me. Everyone and everything is calm, resting, relaxing… while my mind is spinning out of control, in a good way. I force myself to bed, regretful that I’ll “waste” my buzz on restless sleep. 

Morning brings exhaustion, but I still feel ok. I know the crash is looming, but I’m still somewhat ok. My face is flushed and my body is buzzing and I have a headache. I hydrate a lot, or try to. I control my eating. I plan all kinds of things in my head, but I know my helium will soon be dissipating. The mental restlessness begins. I’m edgy, ready to pounce. 

24 hours after 40mg of steroids I think I can still do all kinds of things. But as the hours pass and the day moves forward, my illness reality begins to return. Whomever I’ve said I might be able to meet up with, I cancel. Whatever project I thought I could accomplish, becomes a labored chore. I push forward. I force myself to be ok. I force myself to do things around my house and property. I feel worse each hour. I'm waning and I know it. I’m frustrated and resentful.

36 hours after 40mg of steroids, my body is swelling. I have a headache. My stomach hurts a bit, but I know “food is my friend” in terms of the acid steroids create. I crave spicey and salty. I know I will regret salsa and chips, but I don’t care. I force myself to do chores around my house, around the property. I need to move, but I don’t feel like it. 

I’m waning more as the evening comes. I don’t want to talk. I’m short tempered. Everything begins to bother me. Things that were in invigorating and inspiring yesterday, are annoying today. Everyone and everything becomes annoying. I annoy myself. I question everything now. My positivity turns into negativity. I control myself physically and psychologically so I don’t become the monster I feel brewing inside of me. I bite my tongue. Optimism Julie, optimism! 

Thursday brings exhaustion, extreme fatigue. Sleep is restless, yet I’m desperate for sleep. I sleep wake up, sleep wake up, sleep wake up. I finally get up. Yuk, I feel gross. Nauseated, dehydrated, achy, headachy, swollen, grumpy, pissy, short tempered, negative, sad, depressed, frustrated, why me, how come, what happened. Nothing tastes good. Metal mouth. I force myself to eat and drink. Ugh, I hate my life. What’s the purpose I wonder? There’s no end to this endless treatment road. Why, what’s the point. Negative thoughts dominate my thinking. I stuff it. I counsel the counselor. I’m grumpy, achy, nauseated, bloated, frustrated, sad, angry, pissed off. Exhausted. Want to do so much and can’t. Illness controls me. Medications and side effects control me. Everything controls my life but me. Everything’s upside down. Not supposed to be this way. My stomach hurts, my legs hurt, my back hurts, my ribs hurt, my head hurts. Everything hurts inside and out. 

I fake everything. I try to be ok. I try to be pleasant to those around me. I stuff it. I fake it. I suppress it. I hate you myeloma and what you have done to me. I am a stranger in my own body. Not fair. Not fair. Not fair. What did I do to deserve this? 

So tired. So exhausted. Need sleep. Can’t sleep. Then I do sleep. 

It’s Friday now. I not a happy camper. I’m exhausted, sad, frustrated, angry, bewildered, achy, yucky, nauseated. I don’t like my life. I don’t like that I don’t like my life. I’m Julie the Optimist, glass always half full. What happened? I fake being ok. I don’t want to burden those around me. I always pull it together. But I’m also honest if someone asks. I also let everyone around know they’re close to getting punched if they push my buttons. I’ve never punched anyone and I never would! It just sounds good to say. I always say it with a smile. 

My family tries to cheer me up. We talk about all the things I want to do on GOOD DAYS. Ha! I don’t really have many of those any more. Myeloma stole those. Treatments stole my break week. Fatigue stole my life. I resign myself to feeling lousy 5 days a week. That’s my reality.
It’s like being engulfed in a strangling sense of undefinable gloom and doom, pain, anxiousness, physical malaise, and days of having little control over my body and how I feel. I muse how it’s so crazy how the body can go from exhilaration to funk in just a matter of hours. I give in, I know I don’t have a choice. I’m spiraling down Alice’s rabbit hole. 

Scott trying to cheer me up with a silly selfie
I’ve planned and canceled multiple things. I thought about doing so many things on my many mental lists. Too fatigued, too tired, too grumpy, too overall yucky. I apologize to everyone for everything. I apologize to friends that want to see me, but I can’t. I apologize to everyone I have to cancel on. I drag myself outside to help Jim with the animal chores. I love my animals, but chores feel like an overwhelming chore now. But seeing all my animals and knowing how they need us, lifts my spirits.
I constantly, continually tell myself how fortunate, blessed, lucky, I am. Things could be so much worse… I am always reprimanding myself for any negativity I feel, as I have so much to be grateful for. Shut your trap Julie. Suck it up Julie. You’re here. Many are not. You’ve got so many things in your favor. Be grateful. You are one of the Lucky Ones… shut up Julie, shut up stupid steroids turning me into a negative, angry, frustrated witch.

The rooster crows, the hens cackle, the horses nicker, the birdies chirp, the kitties meow, the doggies beg for petting and love. All these faces need me. They help ground me in reality. My family worries about me and feel helpless that they can’t make it all better… I am frustrated with everything and everyone. I feel so powerless. I am a yucky feeling, dysfunctional blob. My head hurts, my mind is sad, my body is achy, I feel worthless, useless and wonder why about everything. I reprimand myself. Get a grip Julie. It’s day 4 of 40mg of steroids. Haven’t done this dose since 2010, I remind myself. Shut up Julie. Back then, you did 40mg DAILY, for 4 days on, 4 days off. Just shut up Julie and be grateful for myeloma numbers half now, what they were at diagnosis 12.30.2009

Saturday… late afternoon… slowly, all of a sudden, the fog begins lifting. Slowly, then suddenly I feel a bit better. My skin isn’t crawling, my stomach doesn’t hurt as much, the acid reflux has disappeared, as is my headache. Slowly the swelling and bloated feeling is lessening. Exhaustion and extreme fatigue is lessening. The sun is shining again. Positivity is coming back. I feel hope. I feel a bit more like me. I like my life again. 

Welcome to my 40mg of Dexamethasone steroids weekly now. To infinity and beyond. Whether it’s 20mg + 20mg 2x per week on Kyprolis infusion days, 3 weeks per month, or pounding 40mg at one swallow, I do what I have to do, to not let myeloma win. 

PS- I'll find out my lab results tomorrow, 10.17.16
Let's see how this new regimen of 40mg Dex is pummeling myeloma! Check back, and I'll update my numbers here after my Dr appt and chemo infusion... and of course, cheers to roids all over again Monday and Tuesday to infinity.

UPDATE: 10.18.16
Good News- (well somewhat):
IgA down from 2110 to 2050! Only 60 points, but I'll take the downward direction!
M Protein down from 2.19 to 1.96! Only .23, but I'll take the downward direction!  
These are still pretty high numbers...
IgA is 5x the high end of normal range of 70-400 
M Protein normal/remission range is zero 

Thank you for reading, caring, commenting :)) xoxo

Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

On and On and On to Infinity Goes Myeloma

Hello 10.6.16

I'm not feeling great today as it's chemo/steroid crash, living in the bathroom day... and I've had this intense sharp weird left side ribcage bone pain that's really sucking the wind and life out of me. I can handle a lot, but truly, pain is so debilitating. Especially "unknown" pain. It's really awful and has gone on for days and days or over a week... It's all a blur now... I'll tell more about it below...

Not much new to report regarding my treatment success, (or not) status...
I'll update my monthly labs next week. So for my current status, please see my previous post just below with all my details and numbers :))

And how I try to be strong all the time, but
being a sickie is so exhausting and such a waste of life...

This past Mon and Tues was my last Kyprolis infusion for this current (Sept) cycle. Cycle #12, I think. 3 weeks per month, 2 days per week, of Kyprolis/Dex. (Can you even fathom being sick, and being in treatment for over 6 years? So surreal!) It will be interesting to see how the doubled dose of Dex steroids (new, stronger regimen this month forward), will affect beating back Myeloma. Thankfully, jumping from 20mg Dexamethasone to 40mg, wasn't as dramatic as I expected (side effect wise that is). Hopefully, that's a good sign?! Or am I just jaded now to just feeling sick all the time :(( This may lengthen and intensify my "crash" period, but we'll see. But most importantly, is "Double Dex" in there scaring the heck out of the Myeloma cells and debilitating their powers? Hopefully Kyprolis likes the increase too, and "2x Dex" gives Kyprolis double the power. My labs will tell the story later this month. Stay tuned :))

Get in there "good poison"
and do your thing!

Let's pummel Myeloma

As bad as I feel about my circumstances, I always get a wake up call when I'm at my chemo lab as there are many "sick looking and feeling" patients there. I truly feel so bad for them, especially for the ones new to their diagnosis and treatment regimen. If we chat, I always give encouragement, hope and promote the fight! On my "good days", I don't really look like a cancer patient on the outside, and no one really can wrap their head around how sick (and incurable) I am on the inside. Myeloma is so weird in that sense (for me and many other Myeloma patients). I feel like I always have to give "disclaimers" about my circumstances, status, appearance, etc. "Yep, been in treatment almost 7 years now!"...  "Yep, Myeloma is incurable"... "But wow Julie, you look so good"... "Your hair, wow, your hair looks so good"... "You don't look sick"... "You don't look like you have cancer"...  "You're so positive and so full of energy". "Wow, how do you do it"! Blah Blah Blah. How? How do I do what I do? I force myself to be ok. I force myself to appreciate every little thing about still being alive. I force myself to get up, fix up, get dressed in a fun theme, put make up on, style my hair... smile, laugh, smile, laugh and deal with all this shizzzzzzz. I'm friendly and outgoing naturally. I bring "the party" to the chemo lab. And for sure let everyone know that on chemo lab infusion days I AM PUMPED UP ON MEGA STEROIDS!! So that explains why I am able to function as I do. Steroids are amazing and crazy for sure. I'm sure they are wreaking havoc on my body in so many ways, but at this point in my treatment and life, I'll take the 2x Dex pump up and enjoy the ride for 2 days!

So I have this weird random sharp stabbing achy painful hurt, take your breath away feeling in my left rib cage area. Yes, I do things I shouldn't (animal chore related), but seriously, nothing extraordinary. Except about 2 weeks ago Jim and I tried moving a file cabinet into the house, and I moved, lifted tires for my VW, and did my usual horse poop raking (for daily exercise), and various other "normal", minimal, nothing extraordinary chores. Fortunately our kids always come over and help, but I didn't think I had injured myself in the process. And who knows the other things I may have done to injure myself, like basic bending, stretching, laundry, house chores, ranch chores, etc. But seriously nothing extraordinary, as I simply don't have the strength nor energy to do much of anything, ever! I push myself daily to do little things and just move around, doing slight things to "exercise", because just sitting and resting all the time isn't good either. What in the world, how in the world, why in the world am I suffering so much, so often :((

This past Sunday this intense sharp stabbing pain took my breath away. Literally, I couldn't breathe properly from the pain. I began to worry I may have really injured myself, or had a rib puncturing my lung or worse, and... super scary thought..., maybe Myeloma was really moving in, and I was developing a Plasmacytoma tumor or broken bones due to Myeloma's 7 year progression inside of me. So I went to Urgent Care and had xrays done. Fortunately the Dr did not see anything broken, but did suspect bruised ribs, soft tissue injuries, pulled muscles, pinched nerves, etc. What the heck! And it's not any better... I can't believe how awful I feel right now, with the combined chemo-steroid crash and this incredibly painful achy rib cage. Seriously life... why??!!

3 years ago today, my sweet lil "Bucket List Bug" was delivered. What a fun adventure it's been and having this lil throw back to my adolescence has brought me a lot of joy and laughs. I don't have the energy to drive her much, but just knowing I have her, makes me smile. For those new to my blog, I spontaneously bought a replica of my 1972 VW Bug, back in October 2013, when I came out of remission and started back full throttle in treatment again. I realized it was time to begin paying attention to my "Bucket List", and doing the few things I could. If you want the whole story, just look for my Sept/Oct 2013 posts on the right side menu of my blog.

Here's my lil Bucket List Bug being delivered
October 6, 2013 
3 years ago today!!

And as a little symbolic anniversary present to me, I recently bought "real" white wall tires. Honestly, back in Oct 2013, I didn't know if I'd see Oct 2016. I've learned to do what I can, when I can, and do little things that make me smile. Lesson: Make every day count (as much as possible). Live life on your terms, on days you can. Do what you can to make a difference in this life. Smile as much as you can, and process the fine line between the tragedy and comedy of life. Let stress, anger, anxiety, plans, disappointments, frustrations, etc, go. Just let it go.
It's taken me all day to post this, as the rib pain is so intense, and the chemo/steroid side effects have kept me in the bathroom on and off alllll day. Should I cry or laugh? I shake my head, cuss a bit, and laugh at the ridiculousness of my life's circumstances... 

Here's lil Bucket List Bug with her new whitewalls!
Notice the blue tint? 
That's the protective film still on, and so crazy
how it matches the paint color!

And finally, no matter how I suffer, no matter how much I have to endure, no matter how awful I feel, no matter how often I question my status and options... I am one of the lucky, blessed, fortunate ones to still be here. This past week, our Myeloma community experienced an immeasurable loss. My "blog girlfriend" Lizzy Smith lost her battle, suddenly. I was shocked to read of her passing. I don't know the details, but read she was hospitalized with pneumonia and passed suddenly. She's fought since 2012, endured so many treatments, 3 stem cell transplants, clinical trials, yet lived life to fullest with her family. Lizzy contributed so much to our online community, blogging, writing, speaking, raising awareness for so many Myeloma issues. She and Jenny Alstrom created the Myeloma Crowd, an invaluable, wonderful, amazing resource for all of us! I never actually knew Lizzy personally, but like so many of us spinning in this crazy Myeloma vortex, she was a sparkling gem and her loss leaves a permanent dent in all of us, just like Pat Killingsworth...

Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Double the Roids.. Double the Fun.. Double the Crash!

Hello 9.26.16
Thank you everyone for always checking in and caring about my life and Myeloma status!

Roid Rage coming:
Oh yes, here we go again. So at my last Dr appt, we discussed the upward upward trend of my numbers. My Dr suggested we try upping my Dex steroids from 20mg to 40mg per week. Here we goooooo! So rather than doing 10mg + 10mg on my Monday, Tuesday Kyprolis infusion days, I will now do 20mg + 20mg on my Kyprolis infusion days. WhooHoo... hellooooo mega steroids again. Back when I was first treated (January 2010), I started on 40mg per week. Then I had a horrible awful allergic skin rash reaction to Revlimid, so we upped my Dex steroids to 40mg, 4 days on, 4 days off for about 5 months. Whoa! can you imagine that?! Fortunately, my Myeloma hates Dex steroids, so my numbers came down fast back then. Hoping for a similar reaction now.

Helloooo 40mg per week now!

So not the news I wanted hear at my last Dr appointment:
Booooo on you Myeloma. I know I say it over and over again ad nauseum, but I really thought I would be "just fine" and Myeloma would stay out of my life for a long time, or I would get a lot of mileage out of each type of medication I was on. Guess I was spoiled by the on-going success I had with Revlimid. The combination of  Dex and Rev really brought my numbers down during initial treatment January - June 2010 and my subsequent (post Stem Cell Transplant) Rev maintenance for 18 months. When I came out of remission summer 2013, Revlimid again to the rescue. We started with Rev 5mg for about 6 months, then upped to 10mg for about 9 months, then alternated 10mg with 15mg until we switched to Kyprolis November 2015.

Thinking about this, I had many many years of roller-coaster success with Revlimd. No doubt Rev challenged me like none other! Oh boy did Rev challenge me... and gave me GI reactions that were horrendous and hilarious all at once- (see my previous posts chronicling my many ridiculous GI "close calls" and "near disasters")! So I really thought I would have "years" of similar success with Kyprolis. Truly I am surprised my body is burning through it's effectiveness so fast, but actually, I shouldn't be surprised. This is Myeloma's (incurable) reality. Crazy how powerful cancer cells are.

Here's my numbers reality from my most recent labs:
Note how my IgA jumped 570 points in just a month. I'm 5x the high end of normal now. Booooo!! Haven't seen this level since a few months into initial treatment in 2010. Yes, it's a wake up call to me...
Similarly, my M Protein jumped .67 points in one month. Since zero (0) is normal, and I am now in the 2's, that's significant. Haven't been there since early 2010, right after diagnosis. Yes, all this is a wake up call...

I'm IgA Myeloma type, so we follow my IgA and M Protein for my status:

(Normal IgA = 70 - 400, Normal IgG = 700 - 1600, Normal IgM = 40 - 230)

Date                      IgA        IgG         IgM 
8/20/15                1530       258         < 18
9/13/15                1770       268         < 18
10/18/15              1890       240         < 18
11/18/15              1440        233         < 18
12/2/15                 862         230         < 18
12/30/15               482         262         < 18
1/18/16                 426         228         < 18
1/27/16                 432         221         < 18
2/10/16                 551         227         < 18
2/28/16                 635         226         < 18
3/22/16                 533         242         < 17
4/17/16                 717         251         < 17
5/15/16                 808         232         < 17
6/23/16               1140         267         < 17
7/21/16               1180         247         < 17
8/17/16               1540         238         < 17
9/15/16               2110         212         < 19
Up it went...way up :(

Normal = 0 ... Zero

July = 1.26
Aug = 1.01
Sept= 1.37
Oct = 1.58
Nov =  1.12
Dec and Jan = Not Detectable! thank you Kyprolis + Dex
Feb =  0.62 Ugh! Quite a jump in a short period of time (Off Dex)
March = Abnormal, but no M-Protein number mentioned (On Dex)
April =  Abnormal,  but M Protein value not detectable (On Dex)
May = .75 That's a BIG upward Trend in just one month!
June = 1.06
July =  1.01 
Aug =  1.58
Sept = 2.19
Up again... way up :(

The new plan: Doubling Dexamethasone
Here I goooo. Here come's the "bi polar", waaaaay up high for 2 days, then the harsh crash down for 3 to 4 days. It's such a crazy way to live, and I will NEVER ever get used to it. I like steady and mellow, not super highs and super lows, with all kinds of annoying physiological side effects: Nausea, diarrhea, swelling, headaches, extreme fatigue and exhaustion, dizziness, metal mouth, extreme thirst, body aches, neuropathy, sleeplessness- to too sleepy, and just the overall yucky yuck feelings. It's like having the flu for 3-4 days EVERY FRIKN WEEK OF YOUR LIFE.  And should I mention the crazy Psychological effects... where I am full of love, hope, humor and non stop conversation for 48 hours, then boom, the crash, and I want to scream out my frustration and "anger" at my situation and "punch" anyone that pushes my buttons! But I should shut up, as so many Myeloma patients have it much worse than me.. Counting my blessings always!

Aren't we cute! 
Crazy how I can look ok on the outside,
and be such a sickie on the inside...

Yes, I've never really fully wrapped my head around "being a cancer patient". It just doesn't fit my personality. On "good days", I try doing a fun event. On "crash days"... well you know where I am. I just feel so yucky ucky. But I still FORCE myself to do things no matter what, when energy and my GI allows me, as I realize more and more.. I have to LIVE LIFE EVERYDAY TO "MY" FULLEST.

So a while ago, I wrote a spontaneous (short lol) list of some of the ridiculous things I do, that a cancer patient really shouldn't do. But then again, I read blogs and articles of my peers, and they're out bouncing around too, trying to make the most of the situation and "the timeline" we don't know. My life and activities seem mild compared to so many of my Myeloma peers!

Here's my list of Funny Things I Do (and probably shouldn't do) as a Cancer Patient:

Take "care of" our 19yr old cat in Diapers. Yes I glove up!
Held my chickens, and wound up with a Badly Infected Finger (see below)!
Raking horse poop is my exercise-
But I wonder if breathing horse corral dust is smart?
Breathing horse Fly Spray (maybe that gave me Myeloma?)
Remember my rescued Sparrows, changing their cages often.
Changing our Box Turtle's water (yes I wash thoroughly always!)
Cat. Litter. Boxes. We have 3 (exclusively indoor) rescued kitties. Window open, hold breath!
3 (rescued) Dogs. And now "grandparents" to our daughter's new shelter doggie Nala.
1 Betta Fish. I change the water frequently. Yes I wash thoroughly!
Drive my vintage VW Bug.. Oh those 1970's exhaust fumes... fueling Myeloma??
Ranch chores I shouldn't do. Ouch. Shouldn't have done "that"..ouch!
I try to be normal and plan events... but I'm sooo fatigued.
Cancel is my middle name now.
Still say YES to things as if I was well, then have to cancel.
Taking care of everyone else. Yes always Counselor Julie!
Tired, tired, tired, but I don't nap or rest much. Even on awful crash days.
I push myself too much, everyday, in every aspect..
And of course being Mom and Wife.. that role will happily never end!
And that's just a sample of my busy ridiculousness!

So I wound up with a weird cut on my right hand ring finger:
Not sure how I did it. From the animals or plants or something that cut my cuticle area. It became inflamed and ouchy, but I thought it would "just go away". I always healed on my own. It got worse. It didn't heal. It had puss and hurt. I wash my hands thousands a times a day. Thought that would cure it. I sprayed it with alcohol zillions of times a day. But I went on with all my animal chores and animal fun. I can't not take care of our zoo! I wear gloves for animal chores... well most of the time.. Cut it again. Hit it again. Scratched it again. More and new cooties invaded.. Have no idea why that area became such an impact point for me. Must be because I am right hand dominant. I held one of our new chickens. Her foot slipped and of course, her nail went right into that spot. Right there! Cut it again. Tore it. Ouch! It got redder and more inflamed. It hurt. I tried to squeeze the pus out. It seemed like it wanted to heal. It really looked gross. Oh, it will be better tomorrow I convinced myself. Wasn't really healing. Tried Hydrogen Peroxide. That seemed to help a bit. Fizzled and cooked it lol. Everyone said to have it checked and get on antibiotics. I thought I would heal on my own. I always did. Ooopps... that was when I had a "normal" immune system, stupid! So I showed it to my Dr at my last appointment... You know, the appointment where I also got bad Myeloma news. I almost forgot to show her. She said, "ooohhh, that looks bad, let's get you on antibiotics!... any allergies?" ... "Yes, all the Penicillin types and Sulfa types" I replied, as she checked my chart and confirmed. Hello Doxycycline pills for a week. Nope, make that 2 weeks.. my chemo pharmacist confirmed today, when I was in the chemo lab. I know, I'm so stubborn and in such denial of my critical health situation. I just think it's all going to go away, I'll get back to my old normal, and my immune system will kick in. Ha! How do you spell STUPID? Me!  Here's the pictures. It's like there's a little hole in my nail from the infection eating away.. I know.. STUPID!

This was after several weeks of trying to heal on my own-
Before antibiotics

Today, much better, right!
Thank you Doxycycline...
Or was it my immune system (lol)

Ok, this post wound up longer than I'd planned. I have another story I will tell next time about my Dental visit that wasn't, due to my compromised immune system. Oh, did I mention, my WBCs, RBCs, ANC, etc, are all well below normal. So what's new right? Not Neutropenic yet, and hope to not be... altho, me and Neupogen got along just dandy back in 2010!

Thanks for checking in and reading my crazy tale. If you're a Myeloma patient, I hope my stories inspire you and don't worry you too much. As "bad" as I'm doing, I'm "relatively ok" and super proud that I'm nearing my 7 year diagnosis/survival anniversary!! Whoo Hoo! 7 years in December!
If you're one of my "healthy" friends, colleagues, family.. stay that way please, and enjoy my stories and rants.

Lastly, here are some great reads for anyone, cancer patient or not. I really enjoy the posts on The Myeloma Crowd, The Mighty, The Myeloma Beacon, The MMRF, The IMF and all the others I have linked to the right here and below my blog posts. Here are some individually linked articles too:

All these groups have wonderful Facebook groups and posts too! Thank goodness there is so much wonderful information out there! Not to mention all the research and new meds in the pipeline for us!

Until next time...

Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can! 

Friday, September 16, 2016

So Many Events, So Little Energy! Rock on Break Week!

Hello 9.18.16
Darn I missed posting on 9.16.16 as soooooo much happened this past week. I started my 9.16.16 post, then life happened :)) I pack way too much into my chemo break weeks, as that's when I feel a tiny bit "normal"! (I think I'll "cheat" and postdate this back to 9.16.16 just to keep my 6's tradition for 2016 :)
I'll skip writing a major newsbreaking post for now, and post my current status after my next Dr appointment this week. Hoping for good results...

Wow! This week was incredibly busy, too busy, but in a wonderful way, with notification of several recognitions and a speaking event at a Cancer Survivor's Day. I am so very grateful for all the recognitions and appreciation of my philosophy and outlook on life. People say I am so positive and my perspective is so great. Well... that's how I've always been. Cancer really hasn't changed me that much psychologically, just physically. If cancer would just go away, I could get back to REALLY being me!

Cool pic my daughter took :) 

 My heart is full of gratitude even though my body is so exhausted. Crazy how I could handle so much prior to my myeloma diagnosis. Back to the chemo lab tomorrow. Mon Tues. Mon Tues. Mon Tues. I can rest when I'm hooked up. Chemo treatments are my new "spa treatments" lol...

Thank you for caring as you do, and following my crazy cancer trail ride.

 Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Some Days Imodium, Some Days Prunes

Hello 9.6.16

Oh Myeloma, you are becoming too predictable in your unpredictably! I make plans, I change plans. I think I'm ok, I'm not ok. I feel well one moment, and awful the next. I can "tell" now when I am "worse", I can just "sense it" myeloma. Then my lab results confirm it. I've sure learned a lot about life, myself and my physiology in 6 years 9 months. I know my body, I know what's happening.
Truly now, living life one day, one week, one month at a time.

In 2008/2009 prior to diagnosis, I was in denial. Actually it was "selective ignorance". With little cancer history in my family (except 3rd gen cousins on my Dad's side with breast cancer), it NEVER crossed my mind that my symptoms and side effects then, represented anything more than "normal" physiological changes, allergies, stress and calorie-counting, minimalist eating (almost vegetarian, as I love animals too much to eat them). Being the intuitive aware person I am, I was very aware of my exhaustion, extreme fatigue, crazy bleeding, losing weight, dizziness, headaches, GI issues, food allergies, bone pain, etc, but I "ignored" the symptoms and wrote it off as "too busy at work", "too busy with family and animals", " it's just this time in my life, getting older", "allergies", "female change of life", blah blah.
Stupid me! Bleeding out for years is just Not normal! I look back on some of my "bleeding out" experiences with humor and horror. Sometimes I would just stand over my sink and just let my nose bleed until I felt light headed, thinking "ok, nose, time to stop bleeding from "allergies". Stupid! Times during "that time of the month" I would bleed like crazy (I'll spare you the details).., I got so I would only wear black pants, "just in case". I wouldn't let myself think something was actually "wrong" with me. I really truly just thought it was a "phase in my life".
Eating the "healthy rainbow" sure didn't prevent myeloma in my case!
Fast forward to now.
I can sure tell now when myeloma is "winning" and the meds are not stronger than the battle they are fighting. I can just feel it. The Fatigue. Achiness. The lack of physical "helium". The Headaches, Dizziness, GI issues, and the Unquenchable Thirst. Ugh, I drink water like a fish, and still I feel so thirsty and dehydrated. And then..., my lab work confirms my intuitions and suspicions. WBC's low. RBC's low. ANC low. Platelets low. Hemoglobin low. Myeloma markers up. The return of GI issues. Yep, myeloma you're "slightly" winning now. Crazy how I can feel you brewing, swirling, churning up disaster throughout my body.

Yet, I still feel so disassociated (mentally) from this whole experience. I "force" my life to be "normal", fun and productive (on good days that is). I just go about my life, saving other lives, as if my life was ok. I am not a panicker. I'm not a worrier, and I have really reduced most all stress in my life. Actually, I have always tended to under-react to things I should be reacting more intensely too. More than ever now, I am following my old adage "You Can't Control The Things You Cannot Control, So Analyze It, Understand It, Accept It, Move Forward". But there are those times when suddenly it hits me: I HAVE INCURABLE CANCER. I know I am going to get sicker than I ever expected, and I'm going to leave this earth... sooner than I "planned"...
I physically feel you creeping further into my life myeloma and I realize I have little to no control. It's a very strange, surreal feeling. After 6+ years of treatments, 7+ years of symptoms, I "know" you myeloma! You are the monster that lives within me.

So with all the reading I do about myeloma, all the blogs I follow, all the posts I follow, all the research I read to stay informed about current and new medication options, it hits me there will come a time I will exhaust all my medication options. Wow, it hits me: I REALLY am not in control of my body. Medical science and medical research (and all the brilliance behind that...) controls whether I live or die. So when I have run through all the myeloma meds.. What then? Start over again? Go back to meds that stopped working and see if they may work again? Try higher doses of ones I've become "refractory" to? Agree to another stem cell transplant, if I am even eligible? Participate in clinical trials? What happens when I run out of options? What would it be like to not be in treatment at all? What would happen if to me if I didn't have anymore chemo or medication options, or if at some point I just reached my limit of being in treatment and decided, ok, enough. No more treatment, no more meds... let nature takes it's course...

I asked my Doctor this last month...

Here's how the conversation went (after going over all my labs and concluding I will need to change to another treatment soon).
Me: "So my amazing Doctor, let me ask you a question that I know you don't want to answer"... "Not to worry, I have NO intention of doing this", I reassured him... "but me being me, I need an honest "reality check"...
"What if I decided to not treat any more"... "What if I decided that's it, I'm done with meds, tired of side effects, and I just want to live life "freely"... (I take a breath, and so does he and so does my hubby Jim)... I continued, "So How Many Years Would I Have, If I Decided To Go Off All Meds?" .... pause ... "Months", he replied. I thought he may not have understood what I asked, so I rearranged my question and restated it: "Sooooo, if I decided to not treat anymore, how many YEARS would I have?"

He leaned closer to Jim with a smile and said, "You know I am not God, and I don't have a crystal ball, doctors are only human"... he continued after a pause... "If you chose to not treat any more, and go off all meds, you would have months"..."Your treatment medications are keeping you alive".

Saaaaay Whaaaaat? Process Julie, Process. What? Huh? Ok, move forward, respond.

"Ohhh, wow... really...well ok..."months"... "Soooo... if we really wanted to do that Hawaii trip I keep mentioning, it's time, right?" Me being me, I need further reality in my face...

"Yes", he replies, "do whatever trips you want, but be aware your immune system may not be able to handle all the potential infections out there"... (We discuss and recount what happened in 2012 when we went to Hawaii and was sick for most all of the trip.)

"Travel may not be the best thing for you Julie, but I understand", he comments. "It's not necessarily the myeloma itself that will "get you", it's the (potential) complications and (potential) organ failure and compromised immune system, that "gets" most patients..."

Process, Julie, process...

I ask: "so when would be the best time for me to take a trip, if I decided to take the risk?" He replies, "Actually, the best time would be between your upcoming medication change."That would be an ok time to take a little break, go on a trip, then begin the new treatment"... "But be aware", he continues, "something could happen on the trip (like 2012), and this trip may not turn out to be what you "expect" it to be... your energy, stamina, compromised immune system..."

 Process, Julie, process...

I love this Doctor. He's intelligent, insightful, caring, thorough, goes along with my blunt, direct and joking personality. We understand each other. He thinks I'm a bit "off the wall" and nutty, and that's good, I am. I'm not the typical cancer patient. I'm verbally direct, mentally strong, and want reality. Always, reality.

Jim and I drive home just like any other appointment. Navigating the freeways distracts me and forces me to focus on safe driving. I always drive. "So Jim, did you hear what I heard?" Jim's eyes are moist and emotional. "I did", he says... "Did I really hear "MONTHS" I ask him. Jim is having a hard time. We're trying to process what we heard. Did we misunderstand. Hear wrong. We talk about what we "think" we heard. We talk about what it means. Surreal. Unbelievable. Hard to digest.

Process, Julie, process..... Myeloma is Incurable. I've known this from the moment of diagnosis. Myeloma is "treatable", but myeloma is chonic, myeloma is forever. Myeloma changed my life forever and continues to.
Process, Julie, process...


So it's been so hot I haven't taken my lil bug out for a spin in a long time. The other evening, I finally felt I had the energy to clutch and shift, so lil "Bucket List Bug" and I went for a short spin around the block. 

Sunset over Bug


And we have a Rooster! 
Our little grayish/blackish chickie became
"Domino" the Rooster. 
He crowed his first "cockadoodledo" the other day. 
So adorable!!

Baby Domino! Back then, I called him "Charcoal"
Isn't nature amazing!!

One of our new girls- "Henrietta" :))

And so...
That's my life today, 9.6.16.
How's your life, your challenges, successes and joys? What plans and goals do you have? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can! 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Thanks for Stealing My Life Myeloma

Hello 8.26.16
I'm moving like a sloth today, thank you Dex crash, Chemo crash and low blood counts. How about a pictorial update this time!

~ Poof! 35 years as a college counselor... my 35th anniversary recognition celebration recap. So nice to see all my colleagues I rarely get to see anymore.

2017 will be my last... thank you myeloma. Proud I hung in there for 35 years!
Tuesday night's smaller dinner celebration recognition of long term colleagues
Chancellor Dr Dianne at Friday's all-staff Opening Day Celebration
She's such an inspiration, and I admire her so much! 
The "Godfather of Counseling", Dr Al
My Counseling mentor and friend for life!
Friday's all-staff Opening Day celebration. Hundreds of colleagues there

Should have worn a mask, but cross your fingers, I'm still ok!
Without Dr Al and Dr Dianne, (and Joan and Bob)
I wouldn't have ever been Counselor Julie
Love you endlessly and thank you for my COC life!

Hard to believe this chapter in my life book will be coming to a close in 2017. I always thought I would be Counselor Julie forever. Becoming the lil ol lady who's been there since dinosaurs roamed the college hills. Never did I ever think my career would be edited for me, due to cancer. As I've written before, I pushed myself to work during initial treatments, returning back just "months" after my July 2010 stem cell transplant, working while on maintenance chemo, immune compromised, etc, continuing to work after relapse in 2013 to present, while in continuing chemo treatments, so fatigued, so immune compromised, with crazy side effects. What a dedicated goof I am! But I just love helping students realize their dreams and goals, love the mission of our college, and I have so much passion for the educational environment, my students and colleagues. Seriously, it's not an easy decision to give up half your identity. So very fortunate to have had the wonderful career I've had, for 35 years! I still feel half my age (mentally), with so many unfinished, unrealized plans... Hard to process...

~ My Numbers update: 
Not good as I suspected due to the steady upward climb for months now. Conversations with my local oncology team and my SCT team are: "Maybe time for a medication change Julie"... (as sadly Kyprolis may not be my magic elixir anymore I have to acknowledge)..."Time to change to something else soon Julie" they suggest... Ugh, Cccchange... again. I was hoping Kyprolis and I would be friends for a while... Oh well, such is the nature of myeloma, right. No matter how it is medicated and treated, it will always outsmart any chemo fighting it. I'm finally accepting, myeloma is stronger than my ability to keep it consistently controlled. Next in line will most likely be Pomalyst. We'll see.. the plan though is to stay the course with Dex and Kyprolis for another month or so...

Lol- my arm looks fat and distorted here! Just the camera angle.
I'm IgA Myeloma:

(Normal IgA = 70 - 400, Normal IgG = 700 - 1600, Normal IgM = 40 - 230)

Date                      IgA        IgG         IgM 
8/20/15                1530       258         < 18
9/13/15                1770       268         < 18
10/18/15              1890       240         < 18
11/18/15              1440       233         < 18
12/2/15                862         230         < 18
12/30/15              482         262         < 18
1/18/16                426         228         < 18
1/27/16                432         221         < 18
2/10/16                551         227         < 18
2/28/16                635         226         < 18
3/22/16                533         242         < 17
4/17/16                717         251         < 17
5/15/16                808         232         < 17
6/23/16               1140        267         < 17
7/21/16               1180        247         < 17
8/17/16               1540       238         < 17
                Yep! Up it went...

Normal = 0 ... Zero

July = 1.26
Aug = 1.01
Sept= 1.37
Oct = 1.58
Nov =  1.12
Dec and Jan = Not Detectable! thank you Kyprolis + Dex
Feb =  0.62 Ugh! Quite a jump in a short period of time (Off Dex)
March = Abnormal, but no M-Protein number mentioned (On Dex)
April =  Abnormal,  but M Protein value not detectable (On Dex)
May = .75 That's a BIG upward Trend in just one month!
June = 1.06
July =  1.01 
Aug =  1.58 
Up again... back to where I was in Oct 2015

Awesome Nurse Josie!
My veins are tired. 2 sticks on Mon and Tues :(

I remember arm IV's from my 2010 SCT!

Awesome Nurse Tracy

~ Did I ever tell you about my "cover girl" status for a myeloma magazine? 
Have you seen me in your oncology hematology office yet?

I was interviewed waaaaay back in November 2015 and the magazine is just now being published! Unfortunately, things have changed quite a bit for me since the interview, and I am not doing as well now, as I was then. My hair was still full from Revlimid and Dex, and now it's thinner and short. Kyprolis and I were best friends (see my stats above for Dec - Mar), and I was so hopeful myeloma would be controlled for loooooong time. I laugh at the front cover quote: "I feel more alive than ever"... as that was in reference to when I am on steroids LOL!, or my excitement that Kyprolis was working so well...  

My interviewer Debbie was super positive, caring and a really sweet person. She wrote the article from a positive, all is great and well in myelomaville perspective. I appreciate all the effort that went into interviewing me, the photographer Dana's personalized photo session, and all the effort the editors and publisher have done to make this a great magazine for myeloma patients. I still haven't seen the physical copy, but you can read online here at Guide2MultipleMyeloma and Patient Stories and HealthMonitor.  It loads really really slow, so be patient (lol no pun intended!). I have to let them know something's up with their website. 

~ And I have a psychological/philosophical question for you... But I'll do that next blog, as this post long enough!! I asked my Doctor a difficult (timeline) question, and received an answer I didn't quite expect...

Crazy how fatiguing myeloma is! I push myself so much, but my helium tank is empty

Thanks for checking in and reading and caring about my myeloma journey. Let me know you've stopped by, tell me your story, and where you're from!

Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can!   

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, my daughter and I went for our annual and very routine physicals.

Surprise, surprise... my routine blood tests revealed extreme Anemia, significant 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 of his referral appointment to the Hematology Dept until the end of the Fall academic 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 surprise 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/Hematology team's plan and began my "New Normal" as a cancer patient.
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 did well on my initial pill-form Revlimid Chemo, "roid-rage" Dex 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!

My treatment 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:
My initial chemo regimen:

Pill form Chemo= Revlimid (10mg capsules)
Pill form Dexamethasone Steroids (40 mg!) paired with Omeprazole
Mepron (looks like yellow finger paint) Anti-fungal, Anti-viral, etc for my very compromised immune system
B-12- to build those cells!
.81 Aspirin to prevent DVT, Revlimid complications
Allopurinol- keeping the kidneys healthy
Acyclovir- anti-Shingles, anti-viral

June 2010:
High dose IV Cytoxan chemo
Neupogen to build up stem cells for Apheresis, stem cell harvest, which was very successful, as City of Hope was able to collect 9.5 million of my own stem cells

July 2010 Hospitalization:
Two days of high dose Melphalan chemo
Then July 5, 2010 = my Autologous Stem Cell transplant infusion!

And you can read my whole story from that point forward in this blog!

What is multiple myeloma?

Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body. To learn more about how cancers start and spread, see What Is Cancer?

Multiple myeloma is a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system.

The immune system is made up of several types of cells that work together to fight infections and other diseases. Lymphocytes (lymph cells) are the main cell type of the immune system. The major types of lymphocytes are T cells and B cells.

When B cells respond to an infection, they mature and change into plasma cells. Plasma cells make the antibodies (also called immunoglobulins) that help the body attack and kill germs. Lymphocytes are in many areas of the body, such as lymph nodes, the bone marrow, the intestines, and the bloodstream. Plasma cells, however, are mainly found in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside some hollow bones. In addition to plasma cells, normal bone marrow has cells that make the different normal blood cells.

When plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, they can produce a tumor called a plasmacytoma. These tumors generally develop in a bone, but they are also rarely found in other tissues. If someone has only a single plasma cell tumor, the disease is called an isolated (or solitary) plasmacytoma. If someone has more than one plasmacytoma, they have multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is characterized by several features, including:

Low blood counts

In multiple myeloma, the overgrowth of plasma cells in the bone marrow can crowd out normal blood-forming cells, leading to low blood counts. This can cause anemia – a shortage of red blood cells. People with anemia become pale, weak, and fatigued. Multiple myeloma can also cause the level of platelets in the blood to become low (called thrombocytopenia). This can lead to increased bleeding and bruising. Another condition that can develop is leukopenia – a shortage of normal white blood cells. This can lead to problems fighting infections.

Bone and calcium problems

Myeloma cells also interfere with cells that help keep the bones strong. Bones are constantly being remade to keep them strong. Two major kinds of bone cells normally work together to keep bones healthy and strong. The cells that lay down new bone are called osteoblasts. The cells that break down old bone are called osteoclasts. Myeloma cells make a substance that tells the osteoclasts to speed up dissolving the bone. Since the osteoblasts do not get a signal to put down new bone, old bone is broken down without new bone to replace it. This makes the bones weak and they break easily. Fractured bones are a major problem in people with myeloma. This increase in bone break-down can also raise calcium levels in the blood. (Problems caused by high calcium levels are discussed in the section “How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?”)


Abnormal plasma cells do not protect the body from infections. As mentioned before, normal plasma cells produce antibodies that attack germs. For example, if you developed pneumonia, normal plasma cells would produce antibodies aimed at the specific bacteria that were causing the illness. These antibodies help the body attack and kill the bacteria. In multiple myeloma, the myeloma cells crowd out the normal plasma cells, so that antibodies to fight the infection can’t be made. The antibody made by the myeloma cells does not help fight infections. That’s because the myeloma cells are just many copies of the same plasma cell – all making copies of the same exact (or monoclonal) antibody.

Kidney problems

The antibody made by myeloma cells can harm the kidneys. This can lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure.