Thanks for checking in and following my ongoing Myeloma cancer blog, which I began June 2010, to document my "summer vacation" at City of Hope Hospital for my Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. I hope you enjoy my candid musings and treatment status updates. Please comment so I know you've stopped by! Look for my 2021 status updates on the 1's, but I'll surprise you and post in-between :)) Thanks for reading, caring and commenting!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
11 - 11 - 11 A Tribute to Heroes and Warriors
And one day, cancer will not have won!
11 - 11 - 11, a day of celebration of all our Veteran heroes being #1
I thank all of you I know personally and those I've never met, for your service to our country fighting for freedom.
You truly are #1 for all you've done, and represent!
I haven't ever battled famous World Wars
Just my own Myeloma war
I haven't fought with bullets and guns
But I've fought, battled and won
I don't know much about military missions
But I do know life for me, equals Remission!
I haven't experienced the sadness of battlefield death
But I have fiercely battled life and death
I haven't any experience with bombs and explosives
But I know the assault of internal chemical warfare
My war did not include far away oceans, deserts or jungles
My battlefield was my body
My bunker, a hospital room
I sported the military buzz
Thrilled when I grew new fuzz
Deadly healing chemicals I ingested
Poisonous IV's infiltrated into my veins
Fortunately not Napalm's deadly rains
My heart aches for those lost, injured, maimed and killed
Yet I reveled in killing
Those deadly Myeloma cells
Telling them all to go to h...
A heartfelt civilian salute
From one fighter to another
Honoring your courage, bravery and battles fought
We've waged our respective battles
Assaulted our different enemies to surrender
So let's celebrate our successes
With hearty toasts and cheers
For we are warriors
Our decisive victory:
Winning at Life!
Happy Veteran's Day!
11 - 11 - 11
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
11 - 1 - 11 ~ Cancer is still # 1 ~ but hasn't won!
Who was it that said 1 "is a lonely number"?
Hello November 2011
Where'd October 2011 go so fast?
October's are COMPLICATED...
October's represent so many milestones in my life... good and bad.
Two years ago October 2009, I took some VERY important BLOOD tests...
Their IMPORTANCE so unknown to me at that time!
Those October 2009 blood tests SCREAMED something was WRONG with me, but I really didn't listen well
Those October 2009 blood tests eventually opened the diagnosis-window to the invasion of Myeloma
This October 2011 was a month of continuing to try to move forward in my "New Normal"...
But WHAM!, slap me in the face BAM!... cancer comes to me in multiple reminders!!!
October 2011 seemed to bring more Cancer diagnoses:
My beautiful doggie Molly, my students, colleagues, close friends, neighbors, and new Myeloma sisters from across the country and the globe.
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?
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.