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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11 12 13... Numbers and Nonsense

Just had to write a blog entry on 11-12-13 !!!

Not a whole lot to update on except that I started my Dexamethasone steroids last Friday with a few very funny adventures! My Docs are starting me out slow at 20mgs weekly (as we are still consulting about my treatment options), compared to my 40mg 4 days on, 4 day off back in 2010.
Actually I was supposed to have already completed 2 - 3 cycles by now, but all my recent illnesses prevented that. So my first round of Roids was quite the sweet ride! My body revvvved up and I actually felt really good! Surprisingly, very good as a matter of fact!

I took the 5 pills
Ate some breakfast
And waited to freak out!

No freak out! Just revvved up! Felt good to feel good for a change! I've been waning and decreasing in energy lately, feeling rather fatigued often and always sickly in the last several months since Myeloma has resurfaced and dragged me down again.

So....
Jim and I went to lunch and I was actually hungry, but I didn't steroid-order the whole entire menu... just a tame healthy greens salad and spicy edemame. I remember now from before, I liked foods with a bite, while on Dex. We then ran a few errands, came home, did our ranch chores... and I was stilllllllllll fullllllllllllllllllll of ENERGY !!! Whoooo hoooooo, let the roid-rage begin!

By this time, is was dark out, but that didn't stop me from walking laps and laps and laps and laps and laps around the barn. I registered close to 11,000 steps on my pedometer for the day!! Yippeee for feeling good!! Took a Benedryl to send me off to sleep... and prevent me from crazy steroid snacking!!! No "moon-face", roid-belly for me!!!

Woke up feeling a bit dizzy and dehydrated with a slight headache, but overall ok! With how pumped up I was feeling, Jim and I decided to venture out for more errands and drive my sweet Bug!!! Generally I would be hesitant to compete for road space on a Saturday in my "tin can Beetle" with the crazy fast drivers in our area, but Dex gave me clutch-shifting confidence and off we went!

I don't even remember all the errands we ran, but we finished off with a refreshing stop at Jamba Juice and that's when the roid-rage strength fully kicked in!!!
Since my lil ol Bug is a 1974, no remote locks of course... so when I went to unlock my door manually... I totally BROKE THE KEY IN THE LOCK!!! No Joke!!! Broken right in half!!!!
Fortunately I had previously let Jim in first on the passenger side (as he was holder of the Jamba Juices since there aren't "modern" conveniences such as cup holders in ol Beetles!!!), so he was already inside when I shrieked, "OMG!!!! Jim!!!! OMG!!!! I frikn broke the key in the lock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Jim thinks I'm teasing, as I've been kinda silly all day, but I managed to pull out the broken pieces and show him the broken evidence!!! He can't believe what he's seeing in my hand!!!

Roid rage at it's best right here !!!! CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what to do now!!!


I called our son Scott, and thankfully he was home and was able to find the even older thinner SPARE key right where I thought it was, and he came to rescue us!!! Can you even picture this? Jim's sitting in the Bug sipping his Jamba juice laughing and shaking his head, and I'm sitting on the curb by a planter, thinking OMG, this really can't be happening! I BROKE the ignition key in the door lock!!!! We can't drive!!! We're hostages of an ol relic car I bought on a feverish whim!!! We're stuck in a parking lot!!! What if we were far away??? What is wrong with me, I ponder!!! Getting an antique car and thinking nothing of it... thinking it will be no problem, like driving around "back in the day" won't even be an issue! Hello Julie... aren't you too old for these silly adventures... you've got CANCER and you're embarking on some serious medical treatments and you're driving around in an unpredictable 40 year old VW beetle!!

Jim distracts my thoughts with, "Hey Dear... what's that wildlife that just crawled by you?" Whaaaaat? Where? OMG I look to my left on the curb, and off slithers a giant shinny cockroach!!! I think it had crawled right up and over me!!!! OK, that does it... I'm done with silly adventures... take me home!!!!Scotttttttt, hurry and come get us!!! Ha! from a broken blue bug to a slithering bug!! ahahaa oh boy my life!!!!

It all turned out ok, we made it to the locksmith in time to make additional keys (that I just happened to have with us that I had previously ordered on eBay). I fully began to process the difference between a modern car with all the convenient technological features and a super basic classic OLD car! Seriously... note to self... what was I thinking????

But wait, there's more......... on the way home... the turn signals stopped functioning, the gas gauge stopped working and the G for Generator stayed on!!!! Ok, cute lil baby blue bucket list bug... you're going to the doctor ASAP! And there she sits as I write this days later... she's gettn a mechanical make over!!! And don't come home until you're fully functional ol girl!!!!

Next day, my energy began to wane more, my headache intensified and I began to feel that ol after-roid-rush-downer-yucky feeling... but "cowgirl up" as it was a beautiful day, and we had previously planned a ranch day visit day for our dear family friends and their sweet little girls.

First up,  "Apple picking" and stall mucking lessons with Alina

Then Alina gets grooming lessons with sweet, patient Boots
 

It's the "A" team girls:
                Alissa and Aubrielle                                         Alissa and Alina

aawww.... Ashley, Knuckles and Aubrielle

Cowgirl Alina and RedBear!


 And to finish off my roid-rage weekend, 
I took Alissa for her first ride in bucket list baby blue bug 
Gen-light on, no turn signals, and seemingly NO gas!
ok electrical system... time for a make over!

Off to the Doc you go Miss Blue

 And it was all downhill from there for me, 
as I bit the dust on Monday and Tuesday with another intestinal thing...
Maybe I'll make in to work tomorrow...

Thursday, it's off to my City of Hope Doc and then my local oncologist Doc on Monday...

What will they have in store for me?????
Will it be...
Revlimid again?
Velcade?
IV?
Subcutaneous?
More Dex steroids?
Prep for another auto-stem-cell-transpant?

I'm trying to remain positive, have a bit fun between the days and days and days of not feeling well.....
Can I please just wake up from this cancer coma??? 
You've got the wrong girl Myeloma... didn't you get the message???

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

6 comments:

  1. Oh my, you have had quite the adventurous past few days! Hopefully everything is fixable with Miss Blue, and she will become much more reliable. What a roller coaster Dex is, but isn't it wonderful to feel on top of the world, if even for a little while? Good for you pressing on with having your visitors over...what memories you made for them that day with the horsies and doggies! All those "A" girl names in one place really is something to write about...along with 11-12-13! You are a numbers girl aren't you? Praying your course of treatment is known soon so you can get on about the business of beating things into submission! Enjoy your posts and your pictures so much. Keep smiling and finding the joy!!

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    1. Thank you Linda for always checking in and your sweet, positive comments! Thanks for appreciating my silly ramblings here! My best to you and EZ!!

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  2. WOW sounds very interesting and you broke the key :O So glad you are living life to the fullest Julie. Never letting a negative thing take you down, especially a slithering bug. Miss you my friend so much. Thanks for the updates. - Theresa

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    Replies
    1. Theresa?! my COC buddy? Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and reading and commenting. I will send you an email too!

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  3. I laughed through the entire post!!!! Loved it!!!!! And your positivity never seizes to amaze me!!!!! As for the "A" girls Alina and Aubrielle... They had a blast and they are still talking about it :). They are definitely cowgirls In the making. Can't wait for another play date. But for now take care of yourself!!
    Xoxoxox
    Claudia

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    Replies
    1. So glad you were able to comment here Claudia as you are the supermom of the amazing "A team" girls! Looooved seeing all of you, and we must plan another date soon, when we all feel well! Cowgirls in the making for sure!!! <3

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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?

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?”)

Infections

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.