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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mega Millions Win!!! Update

Breaking News!!!

My Stemmies behaved so well on Monday and Tuesday! .... Millions were collected! So great was the collection... I only had to be hooked up for harvest 2 days !!!
Interesting finding regarding my crazy allergic reaction on both collection days.... the Drs on staff were able to identify my allergic reaction. Turns out I wasn't able to tolerate the "Ethylene Oxide" that is used in the stem cell collection-machine and tubing! Ugh!!! Collection Day 2 they hung a constant Benadryl drip to counter-act my allergy! I am just such a drama-queen of opposites! Great results, but "death-defying" complications!!!
(Picture is of bone marrow stem cells I found online- loved the colors!)

Currently, I'm enjoying not being on ANY pills, chemo, IV's, medications, etc!!! wow!
Altho, you should see me trying to properly take care of my Hickman lines. I'll probably OD on Heparin, as I sometimes forget which line... nevermind... I'll panic all my medical friends following this!!! LOL... I've got the system down now! Funny stories tho...

HERE'S the Stemmies UPDATE:
5.55 million collected on Monday 6/22
3.81 million collected on Tuesday 6/23
For an amazing TOTAL of 9.36 mill stemmies waiting to invigorate and rejuvenate my dysfunctional bone marrow and blood plasma!

How they count them, and so exactly, is beyond my blonde knowledge... but that's my next research project! Thank you MD's, PhD's and RN's for all your expert care of me and my Stemmies!

So I'm feeling fairly 'normal'.... hahahaha I know... 'normal' and Julie is an oxymoron! But Havasu, Horsebackriding, and all my fun things will have to wait for later 2010/2011 ... just enjoying all the success of my Jan-June treatments and thinking about my July COH inpatient-vacation plan... did I mention... I have a date now!

And... I have a Haircut date too... short-cut recommendations welcomed... as I know so many of you didn't like my "mushroom-wedge" cut of the 1990's hahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa

Love and thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments!!! I just looooooove what you write!!!! Thank you from my MM-contaminated heart!!!  :)


  1. AnonymousJune 23, 2010 should call MTV and do a reality show.....:)

    You are awesome..... :)

  2. AnonymousJune 23, 2010

    HEY - you got geegee to post! ;) That's so funny!

    So - CONGRATS on having well behaved stemmies! I'm so happy to hear that everything went better than expected and you only had to harvest 2 days!

    Enjoy your day off! Hope you're doing something fun!

    Miss you!

  3. Jennifer AbramsJune 24, 2010

    Go Shopping! Well, maybe in the gift shop? Yay stem cells-yay only two days with a day off! Hope it's restful and you have a good book and company.

  4. Awesome news! Enjoy being off chemo!!! -Phil

  5. AnonymousJune 24, 2010

    Wonderful news. Thanks for keeping us informed on continuing successful news. Good thoughts and love to you. You are awesome.

  6. Michelle AnthonyJune 24, 2010

    So glad you're keeping us informed of all the GOOD NEWS via blog!! Will definitely keep checking in for updates. Well done, stemmies... keep it up! Love you, Julie!!!

  7. AnonymousJune 24, 2010

    Awesome news on the stemmies. We need to have another "CC" cancer club meeting. The last one was so much fun. Hope nurse Jim is doing a good job.


  8. So glad the 23rd was a good day for you. I hope each day continues to bring you the news you want and need.

  9. AnonymousJune 24, 2010


    Thanks for the updates and keeping us a part of your life. I love your positive attitude and your humor through this rough time. You inspire me girl...

    Keep up the good work and all this will be behind you before you know it.

    We WILL see you at the wedding on Nov 6th...
    Oh, by the way, Megan graduated. Thanks so much for all your help..

    Love you Jules,


  10. AnonymousJune 25, 2010

    Hi Julie!
    I am so happy and grateful everything's going well for you. If anyone can kick this thing to the curb, it's YOU!!
    Love ya, and praying for you.
    Leslie Carr :)

  11. Julie,this is facinating event following your blog.I am impressed by everything medical you
    are going through painful or not.You really bring out the best in people as I have seen many times before.You truly are educating and helping
    a great deal of people by your openness.
    Many of us are praying for you and your family.
    You will overcome this and have a fabulous story to tell

  12. AnonymousJune 26, 2010

    Way to go, girlfriend!!
    You missed your calling, Jules. Never, have I laughed so much while reading about you treatment experience. Your writing needs to be turned into a book so others can see that there are still ways to find humor inside fear.
    Hugs to you, Jim and the kids.
    x0x0x Linda R.

  13. Julie,
    I'm so happy to hear that you are doing so well and I'm sure that this is due in large part to your awsome attitude and unmatched sense of humor. I just wanted to say hi and let you know that we are all thinking about you here at CCC. Love you...Jamie

  14. AnonymousJuly 26, 2010

    Julie....we need to have Newhall Moms reunion!!! You know the East Side has to represent! ha ha. So glad to hear of your progress. Keep up the hard work and we will keep up the prayers....Keep's contagious ;D Love you lots Julie!!!!!
    Marri "Scooter"

  15. Julie
    Edel just told me what was happening. I know you think I don't care but I didn't know.

    Do you need someone to take your pals and love them for a while (I will). I have 10 horses and mules now, and am training a barrell racing champion and a cutting cow horse when not at work. I am hoping to bring them here as I miss them when I am away at work not on my ranch in Inyokern. I learned to drive teams of mules and pack mules and horses also in the mountains.

    I would like to visit but I know that is impossible.

    Let me know about your friends. You started me on this path, cowgirl.....remember????

    Diana Watkins

  16. Hi Julie!

    I found you! I hope you are doing well. My prayers are with you. Keep being the strong spirit I know your are. You've influenced my life quite a bit and in so many ways. I hope you know that :)

    Take care!


  17. Julia, no matter what happens here, you're going to be alright - even better than alright, and so is everyone. Just my feelings. "Obnoxious J."


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, 15mg capsules)
Pill form Dexamethasone Steroids (40 mg, 4 days on, 4 days off!
Omeprazole for steroid acid reflux
Mepron (looks like yellow finger paint) Anti-fungal, Anti-viral, etc for my very compromised immune system
.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?

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.