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

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kyprolis Happened! My Life in Pictures...

KYPROLIS IV Chemo Finally Happened Yesterday...and Today... Forward on to Infinity!

My WBCs improved a bit. Whites up to a "whopping" 2.4 .. LOL!
ANC up to a "huge" 1.4.. LOL!
Platelets considered "Adequate"
RBCs only 3.64
Etc Etc Etc.
Here we go. Hello Chemo Lab: Mon Tues. Mon Tues. Mon Tues. One week off. Repeat to Infinity...  

Enough words. I've bombarded this blog with way too much text recently!
Here's my life in pictures. Thank you for reading, caring, commenting, and following my cancer adventures. I don't know who many of my readers are (unless you leave me a comment :), but I thank you for your interest in my crazy myeloma cancer story...

So scaredy cat me braved up Nov 9, 2015 and in I went. Hoping my low low low immune system would perk up just enough to hook up. Such a symbolic moment for me, as it brings back all my memories of my 2010 IV chemo infusions and my COH inpatient horrors, I mean life saving challenges and experiences!
I only had an Ensure several hours before going, as... well you know, I'm a GI side effect wimp! The medical staff wasn't happy I didn't have anything in me, but oh well, that's me. They said, drink this, eat these, take this... I complied :)

So in the IV went. Bags of helpful hydration hooked up. 
Small dose of Dex down the hatch.

 Begin the bags of life saving chemicals 
Coursing thru my veins,
Saving life, but killing at the same time. O the irony...

Kyprolis attached and ready to attack!
That brown symbolic. 
And then, that emotional lump in my throat happened.
I get weepy, but I pushed it down,
pushing away painful past memories,
accepting painful new realities...
 I powered forward 

 Hello Kyprolis!
Get in there like "PacMen" and
Pummel and Gobble up all those evil, 
waste of time myeloma cells!

 Yep, be SCARED myeloma cells

 How Jim does "chemo support" lol!

 No super powers for sure, 
just cancer killing power!

 I'm not always very brave
Nor that courageous
I just do what I know I have to do
To STAY alive

This beautiful "Mare's tails" sky I'm able to see
Still so very lucky me
One view, one day, one moment, deep breaths...
One chemo treatment at a time

And so
I dream forward...
Hoping one day to ride the whistling Wind
Bask in the wilds, warmed by radiant Sun
Or guided by the glistening Moon's glowing flashlight
Or splashed by hooves galloping the salty Beach
Or just circling my backyard, my arms embracing
Absorbing the sweet scent of Horse
Hearing, Feeling, Carried by hoof beats gently pounding the Earth

Hello Kyprolis round #2 onward to infinity! I'm coming for you. And you get in my blood stream and do your magical medical chemical job of annihilating myeloma! Give me back my life!

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


  1. Hi Julie,
    Glad to see your medical team is taking good care of you. Your current treatment is the trial Cecilia was on from March 2010-March 2013.
    Praying it runs smoothly & works for you, and praying for good health! Hugs to you! <3 - Arlene

    1. Awww thanks so much for checking in Arlene! I will email you too, as I want to hear how Cecilia is! Thank her please for participating in the Kyprolis trial so that I and countless others can benefit from this fairly new drug. Love and hugs to you and your beautiful family!

  2. Hi Julie
    Hope it has gone well. Let us know how do you feel?? I'm probably going to start krypolis soon so.. Was it a long infusion? I understand it's only 30 minutes or so?? Did you have to stay longer so they could monitor you?? Did you spike a fever?? Anything??
    Best to you ...keep in touch!!

    1. So far so good Christina... but I fear the crash is near. 20mg Dex steroids still propping me up. Infusion is a couple hours as they hydrate then flush and then administer Kyprolis. I asked for the smaller than standard dose to start, maybe that will calm the storm. I'll keep you and everyone posted on my Kyprolis travels :)

  3. Julie- Just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you and your family. We are sending positive thoughts and prayers. We are hoping for a great "whoop-ass" response with minimal side effects. Laurie & Roger Tilden

    1. Hi Laurie and Roger! wow! so great to hear from you 2! Thanks for checking in and saying hello and letting me know you're reading my blog! Hoping all is great with you and your family! Thank you for your support! :) xoxo

  4. So far, so good! Hopefully this is a giant step toward dominating your MM and returning to a more normal daily routine! Praying for you and keep us in the loop!

    1. Hi "loyal Linda", thank you so much for all your support and comments and always checking in on me :) Hoping all is great with you and EZ and your beautiful family! xoxo

  5. Julie,i hope you are doing well with the new chemo drug! it made me laugh
    when you were joking in the waiting room when your name was called.Keep
    trusting and know a lot of people are caring and praying for you.

    1. Hi Ron, thanks for checking in and enjoying my silly writing. Yes, I always still try to have a sense of humor about all of this... it's still such a surreal experience, but some pretty funny moments too! Thank you for all your support, and get out there and golf and and have fun!

  6. Hi Julie, just stopping by to check in as it's the 15th. Im thinking about you today and wondering how you are handling the PAC MAN treatments.. Love to visualize PAC MAN destroying those fucking MM cells.....!!!! How are the birdies? Love you Julie and hope you can enjoy Thanksgiving with your awesome family.. Talk soon, Madonna

    1. DAMN IT!! It's the 16th not the 15th...

    2. Hey Madonna! Thanks for checking in and being such a loyal follower of my PacMan activities! Hoping this will be my magic for a few months, years :) Get rid of all your cooties, and we can finally get together after all these years! xoxo <3


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.