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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

NO April Fools Joke... This Is For Real!


"April Fools' Day (sometimes called All Fools' Day) is celebrated every year on April 1 by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April fools. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting "April Fools"! Some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in small letters. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in any country." (From Wikipedia)

So with a loud cheer and a huge smile on my face, take a look at these results, and THIS IS NO APRIL FOOLS JOKE! I'm still in shock! :))




So even though I have been really challenged with crazy side effects, I would say that it's all worth it, right! This week began with extreme fatigue and surprise diarrhea, but my friend Dex steroids quickly took care of that on Tuesday into Wednesday. I crashed late Wed and into Thursday, Friday. I feel I little better today, but "ache" like I have a mini-fever or sunburn, the diarrhea is starting lol, and I have extreme fatigue, but overall, it's better than it's been all of March!

I have completed 5 Darzalex infusions so far, beginning Feb 28.
First infusion was just Darza and Dex.
Second and Third Darza infusions we tried with Velcade subQ shots (and Dex), but the crazy "pseudo fever" skin pain was unbearable, so I quit that.
Fourth and Fifth Darza infusions were with Pomalyst at 3mg (with Dex).
Fortunately, the ouchy skin side effects lessened just a bit just this week. Pom causes extreme fatigue and no helium, but this cocktail combo is better than what I experienced with the Velcade Darza combo. But now that I am several weeks into Darza, I do believe the ouchy fever-like skin pain is Darza, so perhaps Velcade may just be my friend down the road.

Needless to say, I am beyond thrilled with my current Myeloma stats. Pretty incredible right?!! I always seemed to respond well to the meds and treatments, so when my numbers began to soar, I was truly concerned. I know eventually Myeloma will outsmart Darza and Pom, but I sure hope I get many many months of treatment success. To be honest, at the end of 2016, beginning of 2017, I was getting scared. I wondered if my skyrocketing IgA and MProtein meant the "beginning of the end"... It's a crazy way to live, knowing that if your body does not respond to treatment... that's it...

Thank you magical bag of Darza
coursing thru my veins.
outsmarting and killing those evil myeloma cells!

Here I am at 20ish
I will always wonder 
Read this! ^

Thank you for reading, commenting and caring! It means a lot to me that you care and appreciate my posts! Let me know how you are too!

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


  1. So happy!!! I would say you fooled MM!!! Wonderful, wonderful news. I went for a great ride today-even loped up a long hill..must have known I needed to celebrate early:) Good to know that drug is on the shelf down the road if I need it. This news made my day, my week, my month, heck made 2017! Hopefully the side effects will slow with so many of them dead cells out the back door (pun intended).

    1. Thank you so much for all your continued cowgirl support Jan!!! Yes Darza is amazing for my #s, crazy side effects with all the meds, but what we have to do to keep riding the trail right :)) Thank you!!! xoxo

  2. Wow Julie that is incredible. So happy for you!!! Darzalex must be doing something right. Enjoy these days. Hey BTW, do you know why the Beacon isn't posting and bloggers?? I keep checking. Fortunately, I remembered your blog name...:)

    1. Thank you Christina! Yes Darza is doing the trick. Crazy stuff, but I'll take the great #s, and I will reply on your blog too. Thanks for checking in and your continued support. Glad you are doing so well, and medication free!!! xoxo

  3. Yahoo. Double yahoo. Lovely news.

    1. Yes yippeee, whahoo, yahooo! Go Darza!!! Thank you so much for your continued support and checking in Wendy!! :)) xoxo

  4. Julie, I am so happy this is working for you!! Congrats!

    1. Thank you Sheri! And thank you for your continued support and checking in!! Go Darza!!! Hope all is good with you too! xoxo


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.