January 28, 2010

My Report Card

         Going on a "Dog Walk" with Trent and Spencer. (I walk they run)

Last week I went to Huntsman for tests.  Labs, a PET/CT scan and a bone marrow biopsy.  I must be getting better at this.  It all seemed very routine.  I felt little anxiety and even the biopsy was easier. I guess this is a good thing since I will be having these, hopefully at much longer intervals, for the rest of my life.   On Tuesday we met with Dr. Tricot to go over all the results.  

     

My numbers are good. I pour over the lab reports trying to understand what each of the results mean.  This is a huge and overwhelming task for me in my "Chemo foggy" brain.  but I guess it is a good mental exercise.  I borrowed some of the analogy's from several other cancer blogs.  (I hope they don't mind.)

Here are a few of the lab test results compared to when I was diagnosed.  I was sure one “sick puppy” when I was diagnosed.  It is amazing looking back that I was as sick and tired as I was and thought it was just from being a busy wife and mother.

 When a person has myeloma they have an unusually high number of plasma cells in the bone marrow.  These are completely different then the white plasma cells in the blood.  Somewhere along the line one of these plasma cells turned to the "dark side" and begin multiplying itself over and over and never dying like a normal cell.  In most people there are 1% to 2% plasma cells in the marrow.  At diagnosis I had 80% plasma cells!!  I even have some lovely pictures taken from the first biopsy magnified 1000X.   They were crowding out other good cells which produce immunoglobulins or proteins to help fight infections.  Because I had evil cancer cells lurking in my marrow they sent out way too much protein into the blood and that was the first red flag.  Now for the good news.  I now have 1% plasma cells!

The next myeloma marker is the Beta 2 Microglobulin.  This shows how advanced the disease is. You want it to be less than 3. At diagnosis mine was 4.4.  It is now 2.8mg/l.

Your total protein is made up of several specific types.  The myeloma is classified by one of these.  I have IgG. The normal range is between 600 - 1500. At diagnosis my IgG was 9,286 mg/dl!!  It was 164 in Oct. but bounced up to 850 this time.  I panicked when I saw this but the Dr. explained that this is because I have been getting IVIG infusions every month to boost my immunities through the winter and that this is nothing to worry about. wheww.

Hemoglobin is an iron level is important because mm can cause sever anemia.  Normal levels are 12 to 15.5)  If it goes below 9 then I have to get a blood infusion.  I haven’t had one for months. It was 11.5 this last time.  

The PET/CT scan reported lots of different findings which I don’t understand however I do see lots of “normal” findings. Yea!  At diagnosis there were hundreds of lytic lesions throughout the skeleton.  They now report no focal lesions and no sites of tumor involvement.  I continue to receive 

Aredia infusions once a month to harden and strengthen the bones. They must be working. 

Have I lost you yet?  Those are a few of the test results that I quickly wrote down while visiting with the Dr.  I will be getting the lab report in the mail in a few days.  

So the good news is I am in Complete Remission.  There is no signs of active cancer. But we have chosen not to just treat this rare cancer but to aggressively work towards curing it and for that I am now on maintenance treatment of Velcade, Thalidomide, and Dexamethasone for a year.  I am half way through.  It is grueling.  I feel like Bozo the clown punching bag.  I am just starting to stand upright and then someone comes along and punches me back down.  It’s quite the life.  But it’s my life and I have much to live for and so much to be thankful for.  

   

I have an amazing husband and family.  I find so much joy just being around the love and energy of a household full of active, involved, good children.  I have faith in God that this mountain I am on is part of God’s plan for me.  That this mountain under me moves as I continue to climb and overcome the obstacles in my path with help from God and the support of my family and friends.  I am blessed!

15 comments:

Mel and Angus said...

WOW! That is fantastic news!!!

Beth said...

Hang in there! Keep up the blogging. Lots of us are rooting for you.

Beth

Andy and Robyn said...

Oh HAPPY day! :) Also, your dogs are SO big, especially the one with Trent--she has like quadrupled since I saw her last-wow!!! I really am SO happy for you!

Dan said...

You are amazing! That was quite the mouthful for you to type, huh? I am so happy to hear that all your tests came back good, especially hearing how bad it was before! Love ya!

Dan said...

p.s. this is Saedi. I'm just on Dan's computer :)

Nick and Amera said...

This is such amazing great news! I love you Kris and I am soooo happy for you and your family! What a great life you are living! Im so admirable of your faith adn courage through it all, since day one till now! You just brighten my day!! Lots of love from me! I sure miss you :)

Book Girl said...

So glad to hear your good news! It wasn't without ups and downs but you have just kept moving upward. We wish you the best in the next phase! Lynn and Steve Tanner

Beth said...

So glad your report card shows all "A"'s!! I know it's still rough for you but hang in there. Love ya!

Kim, denese and kd dog said...

Kris,

The scary part is I actually understood your labs and testing. Amazing how much we've all learned this past year. Kim just began Cycle 8 of the Velcade, Dex, Thalidomide mix. Day 4 of Dex is always shaky, but so much better than a year ago. Kim's tests also came back good, so we say "Thank You God!" a lot these days.

Susie Hemingway said...

A great post and a good positive one with such good news contained within. Well done and may you continue well and all very best wishes to you.

Brenda said...

Wonderful news, Chris! Thinking of you ....

Brenda

vivian said...

Great news Chris, you are so tough. I am so happy for you and your family. I knew you had the strength to be this nasty cancer. Keep on looking towards your future it will be a great one.

Love ya
Viv

Anonymous said...

Great article as for me. It would be great to read more concerning this matter. Thanx for posting this info.

Cindy K. said...

Thanks for visiting my blog & your comments...I appreciate your positive thoughts. I truly enjoyed your 'report card' - especially since it was full of good grades!! But I enjoyed it also because you made sense of the tests for me!! MM is so very complicated! I like the way you explained the purpose for each test...it made me pull out my last lab report! :) I look forward to keeping up with you....and sharing the faith, too! Be well! Cindy

Anderson Adventures said...

Kris I just found your blog again and was so happy to see that you are in remission. I know that it's been a tough climb and like you said it continues to be a tough climb.... but know that you are an angel and I am so thankful for you strength and example to me.

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