Month: March 2007

Lab report

On Tuesday, I went to UNC with a friend. We often ride together, since we see the same doctor. I asked for a printout of may lab results, and here it is.

Test Name                Result     Flag     Units     Range
IGG, Serum               347        L        MG/DL     600-1700
IGM, Serum               <25        L        MG/DL     35-290
IGA, Serum               676        H        MG/DL     40-400
SPE Interpretation      The SPE pattern demonstrates a
single band of restricted mobility in the gamma region, which
may represent monoclonal protein.
Total Protein, SPE      7.5                 G/DL      6.6-8.0
Immunofix, Serum     Monoclonal component typed as IgA Lambda.
Concentration of monoclonal protein determined
by serum protein electrophoresis is 0.7 g/dL.
Kappa Free, Serum     <0.30      L        MG/DL     0.33-1.94
Lambda Free, Serum   1.29                MG/DL     0.57-2.63
K/L FLC Ratio             Unable to calculate the ratio due to a free light chain
concentration that is too low to accurately quantify.

After my friend’s appointment, we left, and were in the parking garage when she got a call on her cell phone from the doctor. He asked her to come back so she could be admitted. Her creatinine level had risen to 4.4 mg/dL! She has spent the last few days in the hospital at UNC, undergoing tests and receiving IV normal saline. Tomorrow is a kidney biopsy. It’s likely she’ll be able to go home on Saturday. We all hope her kidneys will recover quickly.

IgA is down again

My IgA was 676 mg/dL as reported by the lab at UNC today. That’s down almost 300 mg/dL from last month (964). It continues to move in the right direction. My doctor said that he has people who have done Velcade & Doxil who have gotten 2 year remissions from it.

Hives

I have hives again from Velcade. This time there are more, and they itch! When my sister called to ask if I wanted anything while she was out shopping, I asked her to get some Benedryl for me.

Im watching Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. I just love Mike Rowe.

I also really like The Worst Jobs in History, but I watch that more for the content, rather than the host. Tony Robinson is no match for Mike Rowe. If they had a fight, Mike would win. :)

From the BBC: ‘Personal’ health websites sought

People searching online for health advice often reject sites giving high quality information in favour of those with a human touch, a study suggests.

Researchers found people use an initial weeding out process to deal with the minefield of health information of variable quality available.

However, this tends to mean they quickly eliminate most NHS and drug company websites, they said.

The study was funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council.

People don’t have the patience to scroll through pages in order to find something useful
Professor Pamela Briggs
Northumbria University
The researchers examined the internet search strategies of people who wanted to find specific health information on topics such as high blood pressure, the menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

They found that many websites were dismissed at quite amazing speeds.

Lead researcher Professor Pamela Briggs, from Northumbria University, said: “One thing that really put people off was advertising, so people clicked off drug company websites straight away.

“Generally, the medical information on drug company sites is very accurate but people question the authors’ motivation and agenda.

“The issue of impartiality is quite crucial in building trust.”

Personal stories

NHS websites fared little better. Often these were rejected because the first page participants were directed to was a portal or they had too much background or generic content.

Professor Briggs said: “People don’t have the patience to scroll through pages in order to find something useful.

“Ease of access is so important.”

The research also found that even if a site made a favourable first impression, it was unlikely to keep the attention if it did not include personal stories to which the reader could relate.

Many were specifically drawn to sites where they could read about the experiences of other people who have the same problems and concerns.

But Professor Briggs warned that the tendency to trust sites with personal testimonies from like-minded peers was potentially flawed, as it could reinforce unhealthy behaviour patterns.

Dr Paul Cundy, a GP and member of the British Medical Association’s IT committee, said there was also a danger that personal testimonies were planted by drugs companies.

He said drugs companies had been known to sponsor self-help sites which appeared at first glance to be independent.

“People should be encouraged to gather information from the web, but they should then take it to a doctor to discuss face-to-face rather than immediately taking action based on what they have found,” he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/6422157.stm

Published: 2007/03/07 00:13:29 GMT

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Miscellaneous

I just finished watching Gallipoli, with Mel Gibson (from 1981). That movie makes me think of Chris Hollyer. Each year, on ANZAC day, he would write to the list about the meaning of the day to people in Australia and New Zealand. We’ll have to maintain the tradition for him.

If you’re interested in reading health news, and would like one place to go to get the headlines and discuss the news, try http://digged.healthblogs.org/. I’m sort of addicted to news, so I hang out there a lot now. If you know of any good RSS newsfeeds for health, let me know.

Does anyone know what the lifetime limit is for Doxil? That’s something I need to look up and stay aware of. I looked at my chart last week, and thought I saw that I’m getting 65 mg/m2. The usual dose for this regimen is 30. I need to see the doctor and make sure. I could have misread something!

Quick update

I just got off the phone with the nurse at my oncologist’s office and got some good lab results. She read off everything, but I didn’t have a pen and paper. I just remember the immunoglobulins, so here goes:

IgA 964 mg/dL
IgG 316
IgM 23

I think she said my 2 m-spikes added up to something like 0.4 g/dL. I’ll be there Tuesday to start another cycle of Velcade and Doxil, so I’ll get a copy of the report then. Last month, my IgA was in the 1300s. Before I started, it was in th 2200s. 964 is good! Maybe another cycle will get me into the normal range, which is a place I haven’t been since my diagnosis. A remission would be nice.