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

Friday, April 10, 2020

Yep, I've Been Saying It for Years! :))

Hello Everyone!

Hope you are staying well and CoronaV free. There's so much to say about the craziness in the world right now, but I know you are reading and watching what I am, and you know what I know, so no need to rehash it all here :))

BUT, I will say (with a big smile...) all the sanitizing guidelines and new epiphanies about cleanliness and not cross contaminating cooties between everyone, continues to crack me up. If you've been reading this blog for a while, or know me personally, you know what I've been saying forever about "air hugs", "air shakes", wash your hands, don't cross contaminate, etc etc etc etc.... right :))))

BUT what I loved most this week was Dr Fauci recommending NO MORE HAND SHAKING! Wellllll duh world!!! If you think about it, what really is the best guarantee of transferring germs? Yep, Dirty Hands! Again, sorry, not sorry, haven't I been saying this for years and years and years. OMG if everyone would just use common sense, I don't think we'd be in the situation we're in. Keep it clean, and keep yo self clean!

I wasn't an OCD cautious cleaner all my life. In fact, I've always worked with students and the public, and always lived with, and been around many types of animals all my life. I used common sense, but I never had antibacterial wipes in the barn when I was young. I never sprayed surfaces (and people) down with Isopropl Alchohol in my early life. You know when all my super smart and careful cleaning began? It began when my son went thru the "reptile stage", and we acquired Iguanas, Snakes, Turtles, a Tortoise, etc. Reptiles are known for Salmonella and eColi! We just used common sense;  washed our hands after handling the animals, and their cage. Thinking back, I shared carrots and apples with my horses (well I did take the first bite). didn't always wash my hands when eating around them, and when my kids were little, they crawled around and played in the dirt. We were a very healthy family, only the "normal" amount of colds and flu when they were growing up. 

So if I was so "healthy", where did my Myeloma come from? Probably from all the chemicals I was exposed to. Horse fly spray, grooming sprays, things my husband sprayed around our property before I banned them, lol, dirty smoggy air, chemicals in things and foods, etc. But germs, I was aware of them, illness and staying well, but nothing like what's going on now with CoronaV, and being on chemo. 

All else is status quo with me. Same compromised immune system since my last post, and same Myeloma numbers. Everyone asks me what I plan to do with my increasing Myeloma status. Well nothing right now. Can't handle another challenge right now, don't want to deal with new side effects of new chemos. How high will I let my IGA and M Protein go until I brave up and do something? I don't know. Been super high before, and I'm still here. Been up and down a lot over the last 10 and a half years. How High will I Let my IGA go... hmmmmm.... good question... I'm just living one day at a time, staying away from most everything and everyone, and trying to be ok physically and mentally... just like everyone else. 

Just loooove Kaiser's screening protocol
Keeping all of us safe and healthy!

My super amazing, incredible, wonderful 
Kaiser chemo nurses!
I gave them "Corona" chocolate :))

Stay well, stay safe, take care of yourself and your loved ones, and appreciate anything positive that comes your way!

And for my Myeloma buddies, I'd love to know what chemos, immunotherapies, protocols you're on, or have been on, and your success, side effects, time line on them, etc, so I can get an idea of what might be next for me. I read about all the options, but it's great to hear personally from those that have direct experience with specific treatments. Thank you for in advance for sharing :))

Until next time... 


  1. Hi Julie!
    Sending you socially-distanced and appropriately sanitized greetings! :-)
    Sounds like you and yours are doing your best to hang in there, same with me and mine. I agree that now is not a good time to be changing around a lot of stuff, you have plenty on your plate right now, and that seems to be the prevailing advice from the reputable treatment centers. They're recommending people postpone ASCTs and refrain as much as possible from making hospital visits, up to and including moving to all-oral treatment regimens. If you have to switch up your regimen in the near term, you might consider that too...I'm still on treatment hiatus for now, crossing my fingers that I can stay on hiatus till after things open up. Keeping you and yours in my thoughts and sending the most positive of vibes :-) Bernadette

    1. Ah, sweet Bernadette! Thank you for your support and understanding. Yes, I totally I agree, now is not the time to make major changes with anything, especially treatment... but alas myeloma rears it's invincible self, and my Dr feels strongly about changing things up now, and not letting my status continue to decline :(( See my 4.30.20 update...
      I am so very happy to read that you remain on a treatment hiatus and that your body is stronger than myeloma. That warms my heart and makes me so happy for your success.
      Stay well, and may you and your family be safe and away from all the cooties, and thank you for being such a loyal reader friend Bernadette! 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.