Month: April 2007

B vitamins to improve neuropathy?

I had a visit to the podiatrist Friday to have a foot problem checked out. I also let him know about my grade 1 neuropathy. He suggested something called Metanx, and gave me two 5 day sample packs. It’s a Rx only supplement. It actually says, “Medical food” on the box. That means it won’t be covered by insurance, unfortunately. I’ll give it a try though, and let you know how it works. He said it’s not for the painful kind of neuropathy. For that, he prescribes Lyrica or Cymbalta, which he says are well-tolerated.
Here’s the Metanx web site if you’re interested.


Tom posted this on the list today.

A Reunion of Friends
Eighteen years ago, Pete Slosberg, of Pete’s Wicked Ale fame, brought Alan Shapiro and Virginia MacLean into his company. While these long-time friends later pursued different professional paths, the news that MacLean had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone cancer, brought them back together. They have reunited to create a beer inspired by Pete’s early recipes, and dedicated to raising awareness and support for the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research in Los Angeles.

Reunion-A Beer for Hope is an organic imperial brown ale brewed by Slosberg and Dan Del Grande at Bison Brewing Company’s organic brewery in Berkeley, CA. It is brewed with six different organic malts, three different hops and dryhopped. It is 7.5% alcohol by volume. Reunion will be sold in 22 ounce screen-printed bottles via Shapiro’s SBS-Imports distributor network in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Illinois. It has a suggested price of $4.99 per bottle.
All profits generated by SBS from the sale of REUNION will benefit IMBCR.

The web site is

Visit the IMBCR web site to see a video of Debbie Reynolds talking about MM!

This is for my neighbor

Who give his kids rides on the mower. I have personally known 2 kids who had very serious mower injuries. One was almost killed. One had a partial amputation of a foot. Imagine how easy this kind of injury is to prevent, just by following the rules below.

Change of Season Brings Lawn Mower Warning

SUNDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) — Each year in the United States, about 9,400 children are treated for lawn-mower related injuries such as lacerations, fractures and amputations of the fingers, hands, toes, feet and legs, say experts at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

“The No. 1 advice to parents is: Treat the lawn mower as hazardous equipment, not a toy. You don’t let a child play with an electric saw, and that’s exactly what a lawn mower is,” Carol Gentry, pediatric OR nurse manager, said in a prepared statement.

Of the lawn mower accident cases treated at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center between 2000 and 2005, 95 percent involved amputations that required reattachment or reconstructive surgery.

The Hopkins experts offer tips for preventing mower-related injuries:

  • Children younger than age 6 should be kept indoors while a power mower is being used.
  • No child younger than age 12 should use a walk-behind mower.
  • Children under age 16 should not be on riding mowers, even if they’re with an adult.
  • If you’re mowing and see a child running toward you, turn off the mower immediately. Children can fall and slip into the blade, especially if the grass is wet.
  • Wear protective goggles and closed-toe shoes when operating a mower or when near one.
  • Before mowing, clear the lawn of debris such as sticks and stones, which may get caught in the mower blades and be propelled out.
  • If someone suffers a mower-related injury, call 911 immediately and apply pressure to the wound to stop bleeding while you wait for an ambulance.
  • Buy mowers with a no-reverse safety feature that requires the operator to turn around and look behind before shifting the mower into reverse.

— Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, April 9, 2007

Copyright 2007 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Mayo Clinic appointment

I have a May 9th appointment to see Dr. Hayman at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I’m looking forward to getting a fresh perspective on my case. In addition, I may get some testing that hasn’t been done before. I’m not sure what all will be done, but I was told to expect to stay 2-4 days. That’s not very helpful while making flight reservations, but I had to have a Saturday night stay anyway for a better fare.

My uncle Jon died this morning. He had stomach cancer, which had spread to his liver. His stomach had been removed months ago. When he found out he was sick, he was given 6 months to live. He survived 14 months. This was my dad’s brother. I admit I’m not sure how old he was, but I think he was in his late 60s. We aren’t a close family. I would guess that it’s been over 15 years since I even spoke to my uncle. Heck, I have a brother I haven’t seen or spoken to in something like 2 years (and we don’t even know where he is). We just don’t have the kind of bond that a lot of families have, extended or nuclear. It just occurred to me at this moment that I should probably call my dad tomorrow to see how he is. This was his brother. I don’t think they were close, but a brother is a brother. Hmm. Well, he’s only even come to see me once in the 4 years since I was diagnosed with myeloma.

Since I’m on a roll about families, I’m going to talk about the tragedy at VT. I can’t imagine the grief that the families and friends of the victims must be feeling. I hope they have the support they need. I think it’s somewhat shameful that this is all we’re going to hear about on TV news programs for a while. In my mind, it kind of takes away the dignity of the victims.

Can we stop things like this from happening? I don’t know. Parents, pay attention to your kids. If they have no friends, and are sullen and angry, something’s wrong. Get help.

Not that this is going to stop any future murders, but let’s at least require US citizenship for the purchase of firearms. Then let’s talk about why a citizen needs to have automatic weapons.

Another bout of shingles

According to the NIH web site,

Shingles (herpes zoster) is an outbreak of rash or blisters on the skin that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox — the varicella-zoster virus. The first sign of shingles is often burning or tingling pain, or sometimes numbness or itch, in one particular location on only one side of the body. After several days or a week, a rash of fluid-filled blisters, similar to chickenpox, appears in one area on one side of the body. Shingles pain can be mild or intense. Some people have mostly itching; some feel pain from the gentlest touch or breeze. The most common location for shingles is a band, called a dermatome, spanning one side of the trunk around the waistline. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for shingles. Scientists think that in the original battle with the varicella-zoster virus, some of the virus particles leave the skin blisters and move into the nervous system. When the varicella-zoster virus reactivates, the virus moves back down the long nerve fibers that extend from the sensory cell bodies to the skin. The viruses multiply, the tell-tale rash erupts, and the person now has shingles.

I’m taking Famvir for my shingles, 3 times a day, for 7 days. This outbreak has manifested itself on my right arm and hand. You’d think I would have known what it was, since I had it a few years ago. I didn’t though, and was glad I showed the doctor. I have been struggling with rashes from Velcade & Doxil, so I was inclined to ignore it. The difference was that this rash hurt. The other rashes had pretty much cleared up after I started to get decadron and benedryl in my IV with each treatment, thanks to Eric’s suggestion.

Famvir is something that’s prescribed for genital herpes, so I’m embarrassed when I go to pick my rx. Dumb as this is, I loudly ask the pharmacist if I need to take my shingles medicine with food.

There’s more on my blog about my experiences with shingles. and here:
More about shingles on this blog

Unusual lab report

I was shocked when I saw a copy of my most recent lab report. My IgA was at 1080 mg/dL! It was just 676 a few weeks ago. The m-spike a few weeks ago (3/20) was 0.7 g/dL. This time, there are two m-spikes. One is 0.44 g/dL and the other is 0.13 g/dL.

This IS from a different lab, but it’s about a 100 higher than the last test I had done through this lab.


Test Result Ref. Range