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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Poodle's going in for a Grooming

1 / 22 / 11    :)
Well be careful what you wish for as they say...

As a young girl I wished for long, curly-wavy dark hair...
During the 1980's I even faked my way to curly hair with perms!! (Hmmm... maybe all those chemicals caused Myeloma?)

But that was long ago... and thanks to cancer and chemo, I did ironically get my wish for curly-wavy hair! So crazy!!! Initially it was novel and fun for a lifelong straight haired blondie! Interesting and fun to work with too. But when I look in the mirror and see pictures of myself, and can't believe "who" I see, and how chemo affects our hair color and texture!

Hello Chia-pet head Julie!

But honestly, I'm kinda over HOW this Fluffy, Curly, Grey Poodle hair looks on me now... it's a been a wonderful ride ... and don't get me wrong... I am very very grateful for how full, soft and plentiful my new reformatted remission mini-locks are... but I'm over it now... BECAUSE... I have been instantly transformed into looking a lot Older and more Serious on the Outside, than I am on the Inside! And as I've mentioned before, I have unwittingly become my own sociological study. It's crazy how DIFFERENT people treat me and look at me while looking like this, compared to being blonde. I know, I know... yes being Blonde has all the "stereotypical" reactions...

Yikes, who's this AARP member on the beach in Malibu??

But if I was still as young and beautiful as these gorgeous girls...

I definitely would be patient enough to grow it out and revel in my curly locks like darling Courtney... but I'm not in my 20's anymore so the grey poodle is going in for a "grooming" this coming week... Hello Jamie L Curtis?
Check back everyone, as I'll post pictures later this week :)

And after posting this, I met the wife of the THIRD person in my IMMEDIATE AREA that has Myeloma.... ok... maybe there IS something to those oil pumping grasshoppers on the hills adjacent to us...


  1. it is of course your hair to do with what you will, but i just want to say i think it’s beautiful. and beautiful on YOU. You don’t look old or serious, but sexy and confident. It’s your beautiful smile and sparkly eyes that matter, really, but I think that the silver is icing on the cake.

    (ps...i stopped dying my hair curly, unruly hair about a year and a half ago, so I’m biased :)

  2. ps. but the jamie lee look is great too!

  3. I agree your eyes and smile show your real youth
    inside and out.Just continue encouraging others
    as I know you do.At least your hair came back.

  4. Julie, whatever you do with your hair, just remember you are beautiful in and out!!
    Love, Gay

  5. My husband was not crazy about his curly locks, that was until women started going nuts about it.He started enjoying the attention, methinks.
    ;o) Alas, it grew out and now his hair is pin straight with none of his natural wave and body.
    He's not happy now either so tries to console himself that at least he has a full head of hair. I never realized how many 40-something men were bald until Tim lost his.

  6. My husband's hair also came in very soft and dark, with much less gray. I love how it feels like peach fuzz! I think you will make a beautiful "Julie version" of Jamie Lee Curtis! Your life looks so amazing with all the animals and I pray you continue to celebrate milestone after milestone. EZ just passed his 5 month post transplant point and I enjoyed reading your post from that time. Blessings to you!


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.