Author: Beth

Required reading

I received the latest Sam McCain Mystery from Ed Gorman in today’s mail! It’s called “Ticket to Ride.” There was a Post-it® Flag on one of the pages, so I quickly opened the book to see what Ed wanted to draw my attention to. It was a lovely message for me on the dedication page! I’m deeply touched by this, so I think every one of you should buy a copy of the book.
For your convenience, I’m including an easy way to purchase the book right here. Please buy two: One for yourself and one as a gift for a family member or friend! It’s also available for Kindle and in large print.

 

Ticket to Ride

1965: America’s favorite small-town detective must solve the murder of two old friends against the backdrop of America’s cultural revolution. For small-town Iowa lawyer Sam McCain the year 1965 is not a sweet one. His father is gravely ill. His elitist boss is just now coming out of rehab. The brilliant lawyer he’d hoped to start a relationship with has gone back to her husband in Chicago. And first young soldier from Black River Falls returns home from a strange place called Viet Nam. In a coffin.

Against this background McCain tries to enjoy himself during the long Labor Day weekend party the town sponsors every year, reuniting with several old friends who appeared throughout the first six novels. Now that they’re all in their late twenties some of the old grudges and rivalries seem silly—until two of them are murdered for what seems to be a motive buried in the past.

With the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan irritating those over thirty—and the boys in long hair and girls wearing blouses without bras irritating people even more—Sam McCain is forced to realize that his old world, along with the entire country’s, is about to end forever.

Sinus infection rerun

After I took the 5 days’ rx of Levaquin for my sinus infection, I felt fine for a few days. I think I need to stop swimming for a while though, because the sinus infection is back again. Maybe it never was really all the way gone. Anyway, from what I’ve been reading, I’ve gathered that swimming is bad for someone prone to sinus infections. Not that I’ve ever been prone to them, but, when you have myeloma, you may find yourself suffering from various infections that never bothered you in LBM (life before myeloma).

Here’s some good info on sinusitis:

http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/sinusitis.jsp

http://www.sinuspharmacy.com/sinusitis.html

My Labs

Sorry! I haven’t been very good about keeping up my labs. I’ll put relevant info into the main blog when I have it.



Osteopenia

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.

From http://www.rad.washington.edu/mskbook/osteopenia.html:
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.
http://www.wellfx.com/InfoBase/vitamin_melatonin_.htm

Not much to report

I haven’t posted much lately. Mostly, that’s because there’s nothing to report. My IgA was going up, and I changed my treatment a little bit to see if I could stabilize again. My IgA is in the mid-1400s now (in April & May). I’m now taking 40 mg dex and 50 mg of thalidomide weekly. Yes, just once a week for each. I don’t tolerate thalidomide very well, so I’m using the lowest possible dose that will keep me stable. Before, when I took 50 mg, and then 50 mg every other day after I began to experience neuropathy, I was able to stay on it about 10 months. Along with dex, it really did help me. I wish I could take more, but I don’t want any more nerve damage. You never know how much you appreciate your feet until they go numb! The joy of new shoes is lost forever.

New Book by UNC Doctor

I read about a new book called The Last Well Person: How to Stay Well Despite the Health-care System when I was reading Seth Godin’s Liar’s Blog.

This is the link to the book’s amazom.com page. I have it on my wishlist.

Seth Godin’s new book, All Marketers Are Liars, is a quick and easy read. What’s best of all is that it’s fascinating. My nephew, who is a sophomore in high school, saw it in the back seat of my car and asked to read it. He had it done by the next day. I recommend that one too!

_