Month: June 2005


I’m on vacation in CA. Actually, it’s just a few days away from being over. I’ve had a nice time. I even flew first class, so I wouldn’t have to sit crammed in with a bunch of germ-infested people. I realize we’re all breathing the same air, but I had a lot of anxiety about flying again. The last time I flew, I was sick within 48 hours with a bad cold that seemed to last forever, and I also had a GI virus. I was sick for weeks. That didn’t happen this time, thank goodness. That last time, it was cold & flu season though. I think summer is the best time for me to travel. :)


I had my annual skeletal survey a few days ago. I have osteopenia! That wasn’t there last year. The doctor says it can be from the MM or from the steroids. I don’t have any other details, like where it is.

Osteopenia = decreased bone mineral density, but not as severe as osteoporosis.

It can be fairly difficult to diagnose osteopenia accurately on plain radiographs. First of all, plain films are hideously insensitive to changes in bone mineral. One must lose 30 – 50 % of the bone mass before it can be detected on a plain film.

IgA Up Again

I have my lab results from Tuesday, and I see that my IgA is up to 1559 g/dL. This tells me that 40mg dex and 50 mg thal each week isn’t working for me. I don’t want to take more steroids or thalidomide. The steroids are really rough, as most of you know. I don’t want to increase the thalidomide because I already have PN and don’t want it to get worse.

Dr. Orlowski told me about a trial for a new treatment coming up. I don’t know a whole lot about it. It involves an anti-Interleuken-6 agent. I’ll have to ask for more details.

Did you know this about melatonin?

If you’re on steroids, you should avoid melatonin.

Precautions: There are no known serious side effects to regulated melatonin supplementation. Some people may experience vivid dreams or nightmares. Overuse or incorrect use of melatonin could disrupt circadian rhythms. Long-term effects have not been well studied. In rats, melatonin decreases T4 and T3 uptake levels.

Melatonin can cause drowsiness if taken during the day. If morning drowsiness is experienced after taking melatonin at night, reduce dosage levels. In some cases of depression, daytime doses of melatonin can increase depression.

May be contraindicated for those with autoimmune disorders and immune system cancers (e.g., lymphoma, leukemia).

Because melatonin suppresses corticosteroid activity, those who are taking corticosteroids for anti-inflammatory or immune suppressive purposes (e.g., transplant patients) should exercise caution with melatonin supplementation.

Melatonin could interfere with fertility. It is also contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation.

Lack of sleep and insufficient exposure to darkness may suppress natural production of melatonin.