Friday, July 30, 2010
H O M E !!!!!!!!!!!
Late Wednesday July 28, Jim and Scott packed me up and brought me home, as Alissa STERILIZED AND ANTIBACTERIALIZED the house. I was a weeping mess on the way home, not believing my hospital ordeal was finally over. I am grateful for all the wonderful care I received... but being there for the time I was and going through everything I did, minute by minute, day by day... was truly the greatest challenge I have experienced...
I am physically and mentally exhausted... but so enjoying my beautiful home, incredible views of Jim's Greenthumb talents that have created our beautiful parklike front and back yards, loving seeing my animals, horses, love being able to have windows open and breathe fresh air and I love feeling pseudo normal... even though I am far from normal or well. And I love not being attached to the giant IV on wheels. Still wake up in the middle of the night disoriented, ready to roll Mr. IV into the bathroom with me LOL
So glad I bit the bullet and agreed to the PICC line as it was my ticket to FREEDOM :) Enjoying not being a human pin cushion and several of my IV bruises are fading...
I now have a wonderful home health care nurse and this amazing portable IV infusion bottle! Looks like a little mini baby bottle with a rubberized ballon inside. Shrinks with the antibiotic infusion. Amazing! I have such repsect for all these brilliant inventors!
Just returned from City of Hope for my first re-check and I'm gonna make it :) Blood work ok and my lovely infection is shrinking slowly and not as angry. Still really gross tho... so I will have to charge for viewings!
--------------------------> THANK YOUS TO ALL THE WONDERFUL MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IN MY LIFE, THANK YOUS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR LOVING SUPPORT, THANK YOUS TO MY FAMILY FOR taking over and helping out (Alissa and Scott have such a new reality about all the chores and animal maintenance mom and dad have done for years LOL. Just ask them how much they love their cats especially now ahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!)
I appreciate your desire to visit, cook, help, etc... but we are ok... and I just need alone re-adjustment time. You really don't want to see me now... I'm not much fun and don't have much energy. Not to mention, I fear everyone's GERMS more than ever!!!!
I will love to see you in the future, but be ready to mask and glove up, shower before you come, anti-bacterialize every 5 min while you're here, or talk to me from outside... LOL
I'm a bit changed now... not as light and funny and carefree... and I certainly do not have the mental acuity I once had... blonde moments are now continual Chemo-Fog!!!!
But funny thing... I still have 1/3 my hair left and it looks like I just had it high-lighted LOL... perhaps my baby stemmies brought back my baby blonde hair from my childhood...
As always, my deep love and appreciation for your continued interest in my crazy journey, your love and support and your wonderful, life saving postings!!! I love you all!!!
Helpful Myeloma Links
- American Cancer Society- Multiple Myeloma
- American Society of Hematology
- Ask Dr Durie
- Cancer Therapy Advisor - MM
- Chemo Care- Drug definitions
- Dexamethasone Steroids
- Health Monitor Magazine
- International Myeloma Foundation
- LLS- Myeloma
- MM resources
- Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
- Myeloma Beacon
- Myeloma Blogs
- Myeloma Central
- Myeloma Crowd
- Myeloma Symptoms
- Patient Power
- Support Groups
- Understanding Multiple Myeloma
My Story... How my MM was diagnosed
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!
My initial chemo regimen:
Pill form Chemo= Revlimid (10mg, 15mg capsules)
Allopurinol- keeping the kidneys healthy
Acyclovir- anti-Shingles, anti-viral
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.
The antibody made by myeloma cells can harm the kidneys. This can lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure.