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

Thursday, July 5, 2018

8 Years Ago Today, SCT Anniversary Birthday!

Hello 7.5.18

8 years ago Today, I received my cleansed and cancer-sanitized Stem Cells back into my Myeloma ravaged body. I am proud and thrilled to still be here, able to tell my story and be as "functional" as I am, thank you to modern medicine, amazing people in my life, and my body's ability to handle cancer killing chemicals!

I reflect annually, July 2 - 5 on my initial hospitalization for my Stem Cell Transplant, on July 5th, the Day My 5 Million little Stemmies were infused, and then for the entire month of July. Always I reflect. 24 7, I reflect on my life and my situation. Still so incomprehensible for me...

Sorry if you already read this on my FB page...

"On July 5th, 2010, at about 11:30am, after 2 days of high dose Melphalan chemo, and more supportive meds than I can remember, I received about 5 million of my own Stem Cells infused back into my cancerous body😮
The expectation is that this intensive chemo (after the previous 5 months I had already had), will kill off the myeloma cells, but not me, and the baby stem cells will revitalize, regenerate, renew my system. Lol that's a ridiculously simplistic explanation, but essentially the process😵

In the days following, I became extremely sick, which is to be expected, but my body took it to another level, as my "infusion tubes", aka Hickman Catheter, became horribly infected. I had emergency "room service" surgery to remove it, and was on 5+ antibiotics simultaneously, and bags and bags of supportive meds and nutrition for the whole month of July 2010!😢😭
I was finally well enough to be released home July 28th, and treated with home health care for another month. I slowly recovered, lost my hair, and slowly rediscovered myself again. No doubt being isolated in a hospital room and very very sick is a life altering experience😲
But here I am, 8 years later, able to share my (very edited) anniversary story with you! I am so grateful to be alive, and still able to battle these vicious, unrelentling myeloma cells trying to do me in🤣
Tuesday's chemo has now stolen my celebratory helium, and those energy producing steroids that allowed me to play yesterday, is biting back. So I will conclude my stories for now, and rejoin the world in a few days, which will be just in time to brave up for my new "bone strengthening" IV next Tuesday. The hope is this new med will make my bones, lesions and holes stronger, where myeloma has turned me in to swiss cheese🧀😲
On and on and on goes the unrelenting battle for my life. It's as unbelievable to me, as it is to you! But one day at a time, one treatment at a time, and I live today, fighting for many more tomorrows😀

Here's a look back on my 8 years of reflective posts.
They're all so different, yet so similar.
Some years I was more reflective than others.
Some years I didn't write as much as I do now.
Half of 2012, 2013 I wasn't on Myeloma maintenance, and trying to be "normal" again. My Dr and I wanted to test my system and see how I would do without Revlimid continuing to battle on my behalf. Well, soon we found out Myeloma's stealth and vengeance, and back into treatment I went, Fall 2013, and have been there ever since.

As I've mentioned so many times before, the longer I live, the more intense my situation and status becomes to me. I guess my "cancer reality" just sets in deeper, the longer I survive and battle this monster, and "suffer the consequences" of  continual treatments...

2017 Hospital Admission Day

2017 SCT Memories

2016 Reflections

2015 Hospital Admission Day

2015 SCT Anniversary

2014 Hospital Admission Day

2014 SCT Anniversary

2014 SCT Reflections

2013 Not much reflecting!

2012 Unsuccessful Celebration

2011 One Year SCT Reflections

2010 The Whole SCT Experience!

It was a very busy first week of July, as I had my monthly Darzalex infusion on Tuesday, July 3, then the 4th of July holiday was yesterday, and here I am, July 5th, exhausted from "playing" yesterday. Tuesday's steroids are now waning, and the Darzalex and Dex steroids side effects creeping up on me...

To be continued.... as I have test results to report, and Dr conversations to share... Thanks for reading and caring as you all do, and I'll post more medical details on my upcoming July 8th post.

Happy 4th of July

Thanks for going to the Parade with me!

So fun to see these sweet Princesses at the Parade 

Yep, Pomalyst crashed my system this month,
back on 4 days of immune system boosting Zarxio Neupogen shots

Shots and pie!
Happy 4th of July to America

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


  1. AnonymousJuly 06, 2018

    So glad you share your story with all of us. One special lady. JC

    1. Aww, thanks for being such a loyal reader Cowgirl Jan! Enjoy all your rides with your beautiful family xoxo

  2. Glad that you are doing well! Happy re-birthday!

    1. Thank you Scott for reading and commenting, and following my crazy story! How are you feeling after you amazing backpacking trek?


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.