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

Sunday, April 11, 2021

HOME and Big Challenges- Updated...

4.8 - Hospital Arrival- during the day, my chemo Nurse arranged Admission (8pm) and Private room for me in advance for my 2 bags of Platelets and 2 bags of Blood :))  Scott had to take me in and out, in a wheelchair. How sad is that. Pallative delivered one here a few weeks ago :((

4.9 - Hospital all night long, came home in the late morning exhausted. No Sleep. Wonderful Nurses, just too much monitoring all the time, but I understand why.

4.9 - Home, Shower, sleep, super weak legs, problems from that, etc. Taking Zarxio to raise WBC.        

4.11 - Pallative Home Health Nursing Team came and will come again 4.14 to set me up with more help. Get this! It's the same wonderful team we had for Jim. They cannot believe how fast I've gone down hill, and how Myeloma is totally eating me up alive. I'll arrange for a Remote bed, continue with the Phlebotomist coming here for weekly for labs. as I'm too weak to go anywhere. Will take more steroids for strength and functioning. Cannot believe the weakness I've been experiencing for weeks, months..., especially recently. Never appreciated the power and job of Red Blood cells. Used to always worry so much about my super Low Immune System. Now, I would be happy to completely completely completely Bubblize myself and not worry about my low WBC, if I could strengthen my Reds for mobility and functionality. Getting places in my house is a big challenge and a "catch 22", and scary. But I force myself every morning to get to the bathroom, then walk to the family room from our bedroom so I don't loose muscle and strength. I will not stay in bed all day, besides it's not comfortable, and the little doggies need outside in the morning. I'm also in such a "catch 22" where my stupid Extramedulary Alien Mass won't let me eat much, so I get more weak from not eating much, preventing me from strengthening my legs, arms, body, etc for mobility. So then my mobility and functionality is so super weak, I fear not being able to get off the pottie, or falling. So then I eat and drink less, so I am not challenged by bathroom event all the time. But that's not good either, as I'm so thirsty all the time, and my body needs hydration, or stupid Extramedularlly tumors are sucking up all my hydration... But often when I do eat... a few hours later... oh boy, move out of the way fast... I laugh, cry at my circumstances. Worst case, I will crawl to my bed or couch in our bedroom for stability getting up. How ridiculous is this, for me, used to be "cowgirl Julie. And of course, Nothing really tastes good anymore. I watch the travel cooking channels and dream of eating some of the things I see there. Oh well, next life... Doggies are getting lots of left over treats now lol, cuz I barely eat anything I prepare. It's all so CRAZY! And to think who I used to be :((

LOL Hospital blanket, not Spa robe lol

Lots to tell, be back later. Thanks for caring and reading as you do. This is the best way to let everyone know what's going on with me... xoxo 

4.12.21 UPDATE:
- Dr appt on Wed (4.14) for my eye status (side effect from Blenrep and Low Red Cells). Monthly meeting with my regular Dr.
- Since being on Blenrep, I have experienced (a week after infusion), low grade fever for a few days at night. Fortunately that has been gone for over a week. And did I mention previously, I had more 24hrs of nose blood hemorraging. Couldn't believe what few Platelets causes! That finally ended when I took steroids.  
- Blurry vision, especially Left eye, but that could be from the low Red Blood too
- Grew another weird Right side soft Hematoma tumor out of no where, fast, between my Collarbone and Neck. Has gone down a lot thankfully!
- Grew some weird black and blue bump, lump on my inside Right side, inside my mouth, cheek. Mostly gone, thankfully!
- Have become more weak and imobilized each day. Pain keeps increasing on my Right side leg. Trying not to eat Tylenol like candy. Main thing that helps always, with EVERYTHING for me is Steroids, as they are such a powerful anti inflamatory. Starting to take one 4mg before bed nightly, or first thing in the morning. I always told my Drs that when the "late stage" comes, Dexamethasone Steroids will be my Go To medication. All the other hard core drugs would probably affect my mental state and psychological processing, which I don't want.... But who knows, maybe I will. I don't need to relax, I don't have "anxiety", I just want to feel good and be painfree, with my mind intact and get back to mobility options. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR CARDS, CALLS, MESSAGES, ETC. Sorry I cannot always answer you always, as I am so beat up physically. Thank you for all your offers of help and assistance. My Adult kids come daily to help with all the outside animal chores. Can't believe all the critters have greater logevity that me and Jim! We used to talk about that... never expected it...

Nala Hanna Jack 




So thank you so much for your offers of HELP! At this time, only help I need, is too sporatic for an outsider to help LOL. You'd have to be 24 7 "on call", or I'd need an old fashion bell for help needed, like when I need help getting up from bed, getting up in the bathroom or other areas of the house, then doggies need letting out in the morning, the kitty liter box needs to be cleaned several times a day, as poor Luci has GI issues. Yes, so many of you would say donate the animals somewhere, but No, we made a lifetime commitment to them. Did I mention the Turtle, Tortoise, wild Birdies, Chickens, etc too? And it all used to be so routine and easy for me and Jim...
And all I want now, is to be out there with all of them... What happened? Why? I just don't understand. I am needed here, "not there"...

Thank you Everyone for Caring as YOU do xoxoxoxo

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Happy Birthday Best Daughter, Hello ER today!!! We were in the Hospital together 33 years ago!


33 years ago, I was in the Hospital having my daughter Alissa. Ironically today, I'm headed back to the Hospital, this time ER, the place I've been trying to avoid, but can't now, due to needing 2 bags of Plateles, and 2 bags of Blood. My levels are so ridiculously LOW, it's RIDICULOUS!!!! Stupid Myeloma, I just hate you so much!. Myeloma trying to kill me in any way it can, and Covid not allowing us to celebrate together. Would have had a party in the Hospital ER with all the kids while getting the Blood Products. Oh this life is so IRONIC, right!!! What a difference 33 years makes!!!! 

My daughter and I were in Hospital together, 33 years ago! 
Today, a totally different story. Stupid Myeloma


So much has gone on in the last 24 hours..., medical communication misunderstandings, etc. I should have had all the complex blood typing yesterday so I could have done the Blood Transfusions at the Chemo Lab today, not E frkn R!!! But then again, the amount of Blood Products I need to keep me alive, take too much time for the Chemo Lab, as they close a 5pm, so I'll be in the ER Hospital all night long. My blood has become so complex because of all the chemo, immunotherapies, 2010 stem cell transplant, etc, it has to be put thru the dishwasher and radiated like non other!  Can you believe all of this? I can't! Can you please help me STOP this insane movie. I do not want this to be my life!!!!

So all Bday Celebrations will have to wait, I will hope I will survive all the COOTIES in the Hospital ER, and hope I make it outta there. I told the kids, if it looks like I'm passing off to the next realm, get me the heck outta there, sign all the papers, pull that plug on the Blood and get me home. Or put the IV stand in the car, and let's gooooooo... Party at Visneyland this weekend if that happens. Should I be in a Hospital bed in the backyard, or inside the house, looking out? 

Leaving soon and the laughs are that I ate Olive Garden leftovers from last night. Fk u Abdominal Alien Mass, I ate today after coming home from the Blood Lab crazy blood typing labs, and ate. Yes move aside you resident softball size Extramedullary waste of my body space Mass, I had grilled chicken and grilled broccoli, and with my GI luck, I'll probably have to poop when I arrive at ER. Hopefully not before LOL. One time when I had a bag of hydration with my chemo and blood products, and a bottle of my personal water, I stood up from the chemo chair.... and oooppps I "watered the floor" LOL. Scott could not believe it when he picked me up, so from now on he brings a few doggie pee pads for me sit on... ahahahha, or the Nurses gives me some from my chemo chair station. Overreaaction I'd say, my pee is so clean and chemo'd it probably cleansed his seat, ahahahahaha!

OMG, can all this be REAL??? Come join me in ER, let's make it a PARTY... (Steroids talking)

Happy Birthday to Alissa today, Scott on March 25 and wife Ashley on March 4. Thank goodness I made these landmarks!!! 

Sorry for my Fk u's, makes Scott crazy as I was the "perfect mom" lol. Alissa just laughs and says, "your're dying Mom, so it's ok, you're allowed to cuss," , she encourages me to cuss, and we laugh together :)) 

Alissa, "ok Mom, time to go "Party with your Platelets!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2021



Just wrote my Dr about all the things happening to me. Don't even know if I wrote it all here previously...

4.6.21 ER Dr called last night re my labs taken by home health Nurse at home. Dr was very worried about my levels... GO TO ER she pleaded ....Again I said noooooooooooooooooooooooo, I will not go to ER, I will NOT DIE in ER.  

Platelets 15 or 16, Used to be in the 100s. Hemoglobulin super low too, forget level... will look up... Other Labs not good...

Today, 4.7.21  My wonderful "regular" Charge Nurse just called me after reading my emails to my DR, Go to ER NOW she begged. Spot in my EYE not good sign. Bledding inside. Nooooooo, I will not go to ER, I said crying.. Spot probably from new chemo Blenrep. Left side eye blurry all day. Blood Alien floating there, changes colors too, if I look at colors lol, when I cover my Right side eye. Fk you side effects and myeloma trying to Kill me. I'm not ready to die... I have too much I still want to do. I cheated myself out life, when I put so much off...

I can still see outside from our kitchen window, blurry, but I can see. Too weak to go outside. Scott will get me Jim's walker tomorrow. I understand more and more of Jim's situation. I See my beautiful property Jim and I created for nearly 29 years. I can still hear, talk and cry. I can see my beautiful Ranch, Animals, and Kids helping everyday. Kids are coming soon to take care of the Animals and bring food, altho there is plenty of food here I can't eat, thank you stupid Extramedullary Mass. I plan to eat, even if stupid Extramedullary Mass objects. Fk you Myeloma and Masses. Mr Tortoise just came out of Hibernation a few days ago. Alissa got beautiful Romaine lettuce for him. Tormorrow is her Birthday. I made it! Scott's was 2 weeks ago. Ashley's was beginning of the month. Doggies Jack and Coco try to find the lettuce, and eat it. Funny, not funny. We were also going to order Sand for the horse Arena, as the old horses have sores from lying down on the hard surface in some places. Jim used to order soft Sand annually. He would exhaust himself, and get blisters raking it smooth. Later in life, Scott would tractor it for him. Jim used to. Sadly I wouldn't know now as I haven't been out there in weeks and weeks.., can't go out there anymore, risking trip and fall. The chickens are finally laying both Brown and Green Eggs. Wish I could eat the fresh eggs. They Look good, but I'm too full from the Frikn Abdominal Extramedullary Mass Alien taking up all the belly room. I have so much to live for. I am sooooooooooo Sad, so Angry, so Shocked. Was not supposed to be my life... Wanted to do so much with our animals and people and house. Wanted to just sit outside in the sun after an indoor career all my life. Wanted to bake like I never had time for. Just do "domestic things" I never had much time for previously. Wanted to organize things I never had time for. Have clothes I wanted to wear. Play tennis with girlfriends and chat superficially. Get my car washed. I just want simple, ordinary things I rarely had time for before, because I was always helping, rescuing others. No regrets on that, I just didn't balance my life well. Gave too much away, cuz I thought I had so much time ahead of me. Ha... Thought I had so much time ahead of me...

Talked to my dad last night. He's 94. He said I can't go yet. He needs me. He wants us to be around another 10 years lol. He probably will, great health, but me ???? Ha.  He's a WWII Vet. Look how long so many of them have survived in a healthy way, even with smoking, drinking, etc. Into their 100's. Very Happy for them. So many wonderful people out there on this globe, living a good life. What did I do to piss off the Universe? I hate you Myeloma. 

4.7.21 Charge Nurse just called. She's so sweet. Stayed late on her shift to call me. "Go to local Chemo Lab tomorrow, if you don't want to go to ER now".. "Maybe we can arrange Platelets and Blood for tomorrow?" I'm Not doing any chemo tomorrow", I cry. Just Steroids," I cry. Maybe I'll get another day. I hate you Myeloma...  No I will not let you win. I will not die in a hospital, even tho the staff is wonderful, and caring. I will not die without my family and animals and friends around me... amaybe Covid rules allow for BIG parties now???

Why do I still write and update, you wonder... it's cathartic for me, and I won't let Myeloma take my last thoughts and freedom away. I will write from my death bed, or have my kids update here... we'll see... my outside view is still so beautiful, even tho I cannot easily go out there... it's not that ER that's so bad, it's my home I need finality with, and this is where I will pass, just like all our animals and Jim did... I hear our beautiful Foutain. 15, 20 years old? I had it fixed last year so Jim could enjoy it. He did. 

Thank you for reading and caring as you do... Thank you for wanting to come over and visit. I look awful, feel so weak, sometimes worry I can't get off the pottie, even tho Scott's metal bars are there. Scary. I will crawl to to the bed lol.All the canes and walkers I bought Jim have come full circle now.  I still have my brain and my voice and I can still be in partial "control" here, unlike hospital ER, even tho the staff is wonderful and will care for me kindly. I will order a hospice bed soon. Too hard to get in and out of our bed. I remember Jim having that problem. I will probably have them set it up like I did for Jim, in the family room, so visitors can come see me easily. Be clean, wash up, wear shoe booties lol. Or maybe, just maybe, things will turn around, and this was all just a "practice run" or joke was on me... 

Live Like You Were Dying- Tim McGraw 

Happy Is As Happy Does- Kenny Chesney 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

I Spoke Too Soon... April Fool's on Me!!!


Hello Friends, 

I'm way too beat up to write much, but I had to update, so you all don't have my other post as what's actually going on...

Later on Thursday night, APRIL 1, I had two CRAZY things happen. 

1- I suddenly got a NON STOP bloody nose hemorrage on my Left side. My night was absolutely miserable, and I thought, ok Myeloma, this is IT, you got me, we're done... I won't describe all the bloody details, but let's say I went thru several several boxes of  Kleenex all night long, bleeding out and and choking on huge globs and clots in my throat, that I had to spit up, almost aspirating on... I really thought I would Hemorrhage to death. Yes, I know, call my Dr, go to ER... but why, for what? What are they going to do different for me there, that I can't do at home... except give me more bags of Platelets and Blood, but also get Pneumonia or Corona, etc at the same time... 

So I suffer at home,... 

2- When I woke up, and you won't believe this... I suddenly and I mean suddenly realized I had developed a crazy giant soft Hematoma Extramedually tumor mass on my Right side collarbone area like I developed one my Right side, last summer on Elotuzumab!!! This THING seriously was going to choke me, just like before, last summer/fall. It grew between the Left side collarbone and the neck. What the heck! This Bleeding and Monster Tumor stayed there until I took steroids (Sat 4.3), after another night bleeding out, and choking, I took two 4mg Dex Steroid pills, knowing they are prescribed for both situations like this,... as anti inflamatories...

OMG is Blenrep going to do a similar thing to me as Elotuzumab did, which I mention all the time, thinking it caused the evolution of my Extramedullary Myeloma??? 

I slept most of the day, tried to eat this evening, Scott came over to do the animal chores and take out bags and bags of bloody kleenexes lol. So how am I doing right now, Weak, tired, overwhelmed, so done with being SICK all the time, ready to try nothing but Steroids, but scared to do that. As I discuss with my adult kids all the time, Am I just existing and prolonging death, or am I living and prolonging life, in hopes that a "miracle might happen, and I can survive this EVIL DEVIL of a cancer. Just had NO idea what would eventually happen to me :(( 

Feeling stuffed from 2 eggs, 1 avocado, exhausted from the 48 hours of nose hemoraging, but good news, I think the Steroids are helping.  We'll see...

Just had to update all of you, as I feel and look awful and seriously cannot believe what is happening to me :((((

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Wish It was April Fool's Day on You Myeloma!


Hello Friends and Loyal Readers- 

 I used to post a silly April Fool's blog, but not much is funny or silly in my life anymore. I'd say something about being "Cured", and I don't have to do chemo or treatments anymore, etc. hahahaha what a joke on me! So no Jokes today, here's the real life Update:

First of all, thank you so very much for all your loving, caring and encouraging comments. You do really very much "matter" to me, and what you write and comment, I appreciate you being out there and connecting with me, very very much!

Happy Spring, Happy Easter 2021

So for as long as Myeloma has been affecting my life, I was very very fortunate that I did not experience ALL the Myeloma symptoms ALL the time, nor was I completely aware of all the individual side effects of all my CBCs, bone damage, tumors, fractures, etc. I was aware what meds to take, side effects from them, and I read so much, and I asked so much, but it all still remained so surreal to me, and it always seemed to somewhat resolve itself with time, medication or a chemo change. I was "tortured" in intense incriments, surprised by what my body could do to me, based on the where the attack was. Each symptom was different, each side effect was different, but it wasn't my whole body, all the time thankfully! And again, there always was some sort of resolution eventually, be it GI meds, body pain meds, bone pain meds, fracture pain relieved by Radiation, etc.  Hopefully I am not diminishing the depth and extent, and pain of the past 11 years, as it was truly awful. but what I have been going thru since last summer 2020, just gets worse and more inconprehensible.

At this time, my IGA Immunoglobulin labs are sooooooooooooooooooo HIGH the testing machine cannot even measure it. Normal is between 70-400 and shows at  >  yes, a greater than sign  >  .... now stuck at   > 5933. 


Ha! Maybe this is my Joke on me LOL... >  >  >

Here's my other labs:


Never had Light Chain issues before.
This is insane!


Normal is Zero!

Kid you not friends! If I was to just TELL you this, you may not believe me. What's that saying- Numbers Don't Lie! Again, I never knew how weak the human body can become without both Red and White blood support, not to mention FOOD...

My crazy Abdominal Alien has taken up so much room, I can hardly eat. I am hungry psychologically, and I feel hungry as I write, but it is soooooo uncomfortable to feel full and bloated with basically nothing in my stomach. I made myself 2 eggs earlier and 1 piece of raisin cinnamon bread, and earlier had a protein shake box with some pills, vitimins, and know I should drink more water, but I just can't stand the fullness feeling. Dang you Extramedullary Myeloma. Would just like to insert a needle in you and incinerate you. Wouldn't that be Amazing LOL! 

My memory is going too, not enough oxygen in the blood going to the brain LOL....  So if I recall correctly, last week was putting me on "Pallative Care", and I soon received a "light weight" wheelchair  (just like Jim), and then this week they sent a home health care Nurse to do my Labs at home (just like Jim). 
Yes, those CBC lab results were alarming, so the the Urgent Care, ER Doctor called me in the evening and said what I am told all the time.... " Get to ER now"... your labs are not good, they're dangerous".... I thanked her asked if she had seen my entire myeloma history, and that I was a 11+ year Myeloma survivor, and my Labs are always LOW, Blah Blah Blah..... I nicely told her I won't go to ER, I will die at home, and I'm scheduled for chemo the next day, so they will call me and give me direction as to what infusions, meds are next, and what we'll do about the lousy labs. She was very kind, and I might have been a bit edgy, as I think I had fallen asleep on my old lady recliner chair LOL...

So yes indeed, chemo Nurse calls first thing in the morning, that they wanted me to get the chemo clinic asap for 2 bags of Platelets, before my Velcade injection. Ugh, that was 9:00ish I think. Fortunately I had already taken my split dose of 20mg Dex Steroids, so I was ready to be infused in a few hours. I let my adult kids know, and they were so amazing to plan together and split the ride there and back. I received 2 bags of Platelets no problem. No reaction, thank goodness. Then Velcade shot time. I still have big bruise where I asked my Nurse to find that stikn Abdominal Alien Mass a few weeks ago, and shoot it with the Velcade shot LOL. Well we did the same thing again, and I have 2 bruises now on the right side, and have hopefully pissed of the Mass... eh, who cares at this point right. Have a little fun. Play some "hit that Alien Mass Pin Ball" ... ahahahahhaaaa.

This was bag 2, almost done. 

Blood last week
2 bags

I used to think and say how caring for my hubby Jim was practice for my furture, and some would get upset with me, and say that was a long time away, as Alzheimers is very different than cancer. Well so much of what's happening to me physically, happened to Jim... so ironic, so sad. All the help we gave him, I am now needing. Hard for me get in a car, I use the canes I gave him, I use the wall support bars and floor step ups Scott installed for him, I fear going outside alone, fear of falling inside and out, trouble getting up from the toilet, but Scott's bars are there, I don't have much of an appetite, drink mainly protein shake boxes, even though all food sounds and looks good, can't do many, if any, chores around here, walking from one room to another is a great effort, doing anything is a great effort, can barely get in and out of our bed, unlocking the gates for hay delivery today was an effort, feeding the little doggies is an effort, anything jumping on me hurts and I bleed, writing and talking is an effort, I sorted my laundry a while ago in color piles, and it's still there like that weeks later. I try different foods and they don't taste as I anticipated. I hear from friends wanting to stop by, and mentally it sounds wonderful, but so physically draining. Opening doors and windows feels what you all feel like when working out a Gym lol. So I don't do anything, anymore trying to prevent further pain and drama. I opened a window I had to lean up and into over the kitchen sick, and pulled muscles, nerves, or fractured something. Steroids help suppress the pain, but on non-steroid days I eat Tylenol (don't worry I only do about 2500 a day) then do Flexeril at night. My Drs, Pharmacist, Nurses etc always ask why I don't do the stronger meds, well I don't want to be mentally unsharp. At least I still have brain and analytical self. 

AND OMG, I FORGOT TO MENTION THE "BIGGEST" PART OF ALL OF THIS... I STOPPED DARZALEX AND POMALYST AND BEGAN BLENREP LAST WEEK. The infusions are every 3 weeks, (so it must be pretty powerful stuff), continue on Velcade, and 40mg Dex Steroids weekly, which I will never stop, as it helps me in so many ways with pain, and preventing chemo, immunotherapy, side effects. I will never understand why Drs don't prescribe it with all infusions and for all cancer patients suffering with all the awful side effects. Anyway, thankfully I haven't had any of awful and feared side effects. Some Nausea, loss of appetite, etc, but that was there before anyway... But if you "know me", you know I am very OCD about being cautious and careful on chemo days, and for a few days afterwards, so I don't get sick. I did try to eat Wood Ranch with the kids last night (a week after Blenrep), something I haven't allowed myself to do for weeks. I had Broccoli, a very small steak, a little Mac n Cheese, a roll. Have been ok, and ate today too. THANK YOU STEROIDS. I did have several "cleanses", but nothing new with that LOL. And I've been doing the required Eye Drops 2x per day, and so far, so good. We'll see. All I want is the Extramedullary Masses to shrink, so I be physically comfortable again.

Lovely selfie lol
I was really tired and achy,
and also didn't fluff my hair much. 
Funny how my Nurses always ask how I am,
and know by how I look. I tease them that one day
I will come in right out of best and scare the heck out of them :)))

Well it's taken me all day sporadically to write this, so I have to quit and sit and watch "Heartland" until I fall asleep. If I can't ride my own horses, and see beautiful scenery, then I can binge watch it on TV. Never did this before, such a new lifestyle for me. If you are a "horsey" person, you'll enjoy this series a lot. It's not the typical "adult" series, not a lot of scary drama, etc, but situational people issues, beautiful scenery, lots and lots of beautiful horses and ranches. You can watch it with your kids and grandkids, that's how "G" rated it is :))))) 

Here are some links to random things and shows I've been watching lately, if i'm not asleep or in the bathroom LOL

Walmart grocery pick up is amazing. My kids pick up for me. I used to eat baby food years ago when I just don't feel like heavy roughage foods. Just ordered a bunch and we'll see how that goes lol. 

I'm always looking up medical info all the time, and prescriptions, and just anything that comes into my mind relative to my limited life lol, but hoping to do one day... hello Hawaii, coastal beach hotels, dude ranches, etc, lol 

Always on the Myeloma sites, keeping up with research and new FDA approved meds:

And all the other legit clinical, medical sites

I'll probably be editing this for the next week, and commenting on your amazing comments too :))

Thank you everyone for caring as you do!

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.