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

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jelly Beans and Other Thoughtful Thoughts and Realties

Just in case you're tired of my silly musings...
Here's some inspiring and thoughtful thoughts from others:

Our Lives Represented in 
Jelly Beans




And Thanksgiving diagnosis reflections
by another blogger diagnosed with the evil Myeloma:

Sean’s Burgundy Thread: Dear Multiple Myeloma-

 "Dear Multiple Myeloma", Sean writes, "Do you remember me? 
I am the poor sap that you decided to terrorize during Thanksgiving week of 2008... "

========================================================
 And so.............

Ugh! I've been sick more than well recently and I am not fond of not feeling well.
Everyone thinks I am so strong for handling cancer as I have, but honestly friends... I really am not that strong at all. I am strong when I feel well. I am not that strong when I don't feel so well. Suffering for days with a fever leads me down philosophical roads of unsettling realities...

These last 2 high fever viruses that attacked me have awakened NEW realizations of OLD realities... that my immune system really is compromised due to an "immune system cancer", and naive me, I really do have to continue to be ultra CAREFUL, make that PARANOID of all the germs out to attack me. Duh! Note to self!!

I've tried to trace the trail of my recent illnesses, and the only thing I come up with is that I slacked off on staying in my sterile bubble. I tried living life somewhat "normally" again...
I slacked off a bit and shook some hands, hugged some friends
I slacked off a bit and opened some doors without a protective tissue
I slacked off a bit and ate at buffets and restaurants and risked cross contamination galore
I slacked off a bit and threw caution to the wind and went places, had fun, commingled with people in public places.
I slacked off a bit and started scheduling appointments with random students.
I slacked off a bit by being "normal", and paid for it... dearly... with piercing pounding headaches which lead to high fevers for days on end, which lead to crazy viruses in my upper and lower body... I will spare you the details.

I felt awful and I don't do well when I feel awful.
Awful takes the helium out of my happy filled balloons.
Sorry, I really am not that brave and strong when I don't feel good.  
I have learned my lesson:
Hello stupid antibacterial cautious bubble life...AGAIN
Hello to being forced to accept I am not a well person and facing up to the reality that I won't ever be "cowgirl-well" again.
Hello to being sick of being sick, but having little choice in the matter.
I don't like not having choices
I don't like external factors controlling me
I don't like being sick and I don't do well not being well.
I have never been of the victim mentality and I don't like being victimized and controlled by cancer!
But, I am better now and I do thank what minimal immune system I do still have, for battling on my behalf!

Every other day, my sweet hubby Jim would pick
some of his spectacular roses to boost my spirits
and help me feel better!

Ugh! I haven't even begun my Dex steroid meds yet, but I will this Friday as I have an oncology check up on Nov 14 with my City of Hope oncologist, and then another on Nov 18 with my local oncologist (love them both!)
I think I should know by then, what treatment plan they have in mind for me...
Just in time for my November birthday,
Cheers! Happy November cancerous birthday to me!

So on a happier note, on Saturday when I could finally walk without being dizzy and dared being away from the bathroom, Scott said... "Mom, let's go for a drive in your bug! That will make you feel better!" and feel better it did! Here's to our first 5 mile road trip (to Coco's and back lol!) in the "baby blue tin can bug", with Scott driving and the rest of us praying we survive!


My bucket list baby blue bug makes me happy :)


And Birdie makes me so happy too! 


And of course!!! Everyone and Everything else in my life makes me happy!!!
I am blessed and I am grateful for so much
You can't take that from me stupid cancer!!!


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

3 comments:

  1. Julie,
    You are stronger than you think. All of your friends are here for you in any way that you need. I love you a lot and really enjoyed seeing you on Saturday. You are an amazing woman and your strength will get you through this! Stay strong and let others help you when you aren't feeling as strong as you'd like. You are in my daily prayers. Love always, Leslie

    ReplyDelete
  2. It IS hard to be happy when you don't feel well! So sorry to hear you have been under the weather...how quickly we forget when we're feeling well, how fragile the immune system really is! EZ is suffering from a cold right now and though he rarely runs a fever when he is sick, it's no fun and seems to take forever to get over! Glad Scott got you outside to enjoy the scenery from inside your Baby Blue Bug. Will be praying for your upcoming appointments and that you will tolerate the treatment and beat that MM back into submission...I know you can!! In the meantime, your hubby is the sweetest with those roses and I love your little birdie friend. Sure wish we could share a cup of coffee together!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for letting us know you are feeling better and are out and about.Glad
    you are enjoying your bug.Jim sure does a great job on flowers!Let us all
    know on appointments.We are all praying.Stay strong.
    Ron

    ReplyDelete

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.