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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sick, so Sick. Big Fever. Stupid Immune System Fail

So if being sick from all my cancer related stuff isn't enough stupid body, you have to allow awful germs in to invade!

I've been sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sick since late Monday Feb 15. I started to feel lousy in the morning. Just weird achiness. But I had my prescheduled, every few month appointment with my SCT specialist, so I pushed aside my symptoms and went. I just thought it was treatment related aches, fatigue, headache, etc. I NEVER dreamed I was getting sick!

I registered a 98.9 temp there. Nothing to cause much notice. (I did take note tho, since I "normally" run normal or bit below.) "Relatively good" appointment with wonderful staff. I'll update on my details next post.
I began to feel rotten while driving home. Worse when we got home and when doing all our usual evening animal chores. I still didn't think I could be getting sick! Not me!

THEN it HIT! It really HIT! You know when a fever is real and it's invading. Moving in. Taking Over. You just feel so awful. Your body just aches all over, and there's little relief. You hurt from the inside out, and the outside in.You can't function. Nothing helps. Nothing relieves. You start begging for relief. Bargaining with the "germ g*ds". Promising all kinds of things, if the pain can just GO AWAY.

I didn't realize how doomed I was. But I hoped for the best, took some Jr strength Tylenol, and pretended I'd be fine in the morning. I got worse. And worse. Each day, each night. It got worse. I sent a message to my oncology office. They called. I couldn't even answer the phone. I was soooooooooooooo sick. I should have gone to ER, Urgent Care. But I barely made it from my bed to the bathroom to the couch, etc. I kept popping Jr strength Tylenol and Advil to take the edge off the fever. When it wore off, I'd take my temp. 102, 103+.  I hadn't felt this awful since.... I don't know... maybe my out of remission bug in 2013? Hawaii hotel disaster 2012? SCT fevers 2010? Just awful. Just fever awful. I couldn't eat. Hydrating was a huge effort.

Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, sick sick sick sick. Fever sick. Not much else. A cough here and there, but not an awful cough. Just an awful fever. I should have gone to be checked, everyone says. But I couldn't. I couldn't function, communicate, do much of anything. I haven't felt this awfulness in years... Jim gets sick too. We're messed up. What a great life. The weather is stunningly beautiful outside and where am I? I can't believe what has happened to me on so many levels.

Friday my fever finally broke a bit and came down between 102-100.
Saturday down more to 100-99. Starting to think I'll make it.
Sunday, today, down to 98.9. I finally called the "Nurse Advice Hotline". They couldn't believe what I've endured this week. It was "highly" recommended I go in and be checked.
We're going in now...

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


  1. OMG, I hope you're ok. I started feeling off this morning , I hope I'm not getting something too. I understand there's a very bad bug, cold. .? Going around .
    I hope you've gotten some antibiotics or something. Keep me posted.

    1. Hi Christina, sure hope you don't get this awful bug. Never had anything like it. I know my low WBCs are affecting my ability to heal. Stay well friend!

  2. Oh Julie...please don't wait so long to be checked! Fevers can be indicative of so much, you just can't risk waiting. My daughter, Leah, always described it as, 'my skin hurts', and I agree. Last time we all had fevers like that we were diagnosed with the flu. I am praying for you and anxiously waiting to hear what the doctor said.

    1. Hi Linda, yes you are right. I'm sure this was the flu. I didn't get the flu shot. Does EZ? Does your family? I am slowly better, but the residual of the fever is so awful. Thank you so much for your prayers and caring Linda! Hoping you and EZ are out enjoying life!

    2. We all got the flu shot last year, but H2N1 still got all three of us (Mom, EZ, me). Didn't get out of our pjs for 2 weeks, barely left the house for 3 weeks. Worst we can remember feeling for a long time...miserable! We had the horrible congestion, fever and relentless coughing! We got the more high powered shot this year, and are hoping we are protected better! I'm sure it will take you while to get sure to take it easy and let your body heal. I'm so sorry it's taking so long, but you WILL feel better eventually! We watched too many Hallmark movies to count! Praying for you!

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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?”)


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.