Author: Beth

Made in the USA

Please try to buy goods that are made in the USA. Here’s a site that has listings of US made products. I had trouble using the search function. It didn’t work for me.

I’m concerned about what’s happening with US companies. A hosiery mill near here had over 1000 employees a year ago and now has fewer than 500. They got squeezed by Wal-mart, who only wants to pay pennies for goods they want to sell. When our US companies can’t afford to produce the goods so cheaply, Wal-mart buys them from companies in China. Wal-mart used to make a big deal about selling products made in the USA, but, in order to increase their own profits and make the Waltons richer, they’ve abandoned that. Now they’re saturating ad time with sappy messages about how much they care about their employees and the communities where they have stores. We all know how much they care about their employees. There have been recent cases brought against them for discrimination against women. Their employees say that they keep as many of them as possible below full time status so they don’t have to pay benefits. Another story says they have been shaving time off employees’ paychecks through the electronic timekeeping system. There’s more. All you have to do is go to Google and search: Yeah, I’m upset. I’m tired of seeing big companies run the country. It doesn’t matter which party is in office.

If you have broadband, take some time to watch this PBS Frontline: Tax Me if You Can. The whole program is viewable online. You’ll be surprised at the big companies getting away without paying any taxes. In fact, some even get huge refunds. One US bank received over $100 million. That’s OUR money, folks!

Possible trials

Dr. O. told me about a few trials that are going to be open possibly in December for me. One has to do with anti-interleuken 6. The other, which I didn’t pay as close attention to, has to do with enhancing natural killer cell activity. I told him it sounds like a PS2 game!

I’m interested in the anti-IL-6 trial. He said it has been tested on patients with renal cell carcinoma. While it didn’t work for hem, the trial showed that the treatment was well tolerated. It would involve an infusion every two weeks. I’ll get more information from him and do more studying, then I’ll post it here.

Latest Labs

My latest labs indicate that my serum IgA went down. I don’t know why or how, but I’m happy for it. I could tell there was going to be a change, because my total protein value was down for the first time in a while. It was at 6.7 mg/dL. The next day, I called in to see what my IgA was. Sure enough, it was 854 mg/dL.

This is an overview of the last four months. Normal IgA ranges from 40-390 mg/dL:

Date Value
25 Aug 2004 854 mg/dL
21 Jul 2004 946 mg/dL
23 Jun 2004 1177 mg/dL
19 May 2004 996 mg/dL


I saw Dr. Comeau, one of the transplant doctors at UNC last week. This was my second time meeting him, although I don’t think he remembered me. We talked about what the program at UNC entails. It’s all online at One of the things we talked about is my sensitivity to drugs. I experience side effects at low doses. I had a time with thalidomide and am having difficulties with dex. One thing he told me is that before I go through high dose chemo, I have to lose 20-30 lbs. That will help reduce some of the toxicity, since the dose is determined by weight.


I have an appointment with one of the BMT doctors at UNC on August 19th. We’ll talk about all that’s involved. Does anyone have any suggestions for questions I should ask? UNC does have a nice site they use to explain the process:

The thing that scares me the most is the high dose chemo. I seem to be sensitive to drugs, and (I think I wrote about this before) my primary MM doc says that he has concerns about this. I’ll naturally bring this up with the BMT doc when I see him.

I am always interested in learning about the experiences of others with their stem cell transplants. If you can relay your story, and would like to share with others, I made a special section on called “Stem Cell Stories.”

New dex schedule

The last several months, I’ve been on 60mg dex per week, which is 260mg per month. I changed my schedule to see if I could tolerate it better. This month I’m taking 40mg on the 1st and 2nd, then 20 on the 3rd & 4th. Then I’ll have a break and take 40 on the 15th & 16th, and 20 on the 17th & 18th. I’ll let you know how it goes.