Author: Beth

I was diagnosed with MM in January of 2003. I underwent various treatments, including thalidomide/dex, revlimid/dex, dex alone, a clinical trial of CNTO 328, and Velcade, Doxil and dex until late August, 2007, when I had an autologous stem cell transplant after high dose melphalan. I experienced what's known as a very good partial response (VGPR). Since then, my myeloma has been stable.

June 2013 Lab Values

Beth Blood Test from June 2013
Blood Test Results from June 2013

 

This is the latest report I have.  I had blood drawn at the beginning of June. You can click on the small image of the report to see it full size.

It indicates that I’m still stable.  From quarter to quarter, there are small changes, but nothing significant.  Sometimes the values go up and sometimes down.  There’s nothing exciting to report this time.

I’m still taking 8 grams of curcumin each day, along with cinnamon, coconut oil, flax oil and krill oil.

I see the oncologist every three months, and have Zometa every three months, too. My bone density is normal.

There’s really not much to talk about, where the myeloma is concerned.  It continues to lurk, without doing anything (that I’m aware of).  It behaves like SMM.

I’ve not had any maintenance therapy since the SCT, which took place at the end of August in 2007.

I wish everyone could have such boring reports!

Here’s the PDF version > PDF Version

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Strawberries are high in vitamin C
Strawberries are high in vitamin C

If you struggle with iron deficiency, and are not a meat eater, I can tell you a quick way to get 50% of your daily iron in one shot.  This is how I do it.

For breakfast, prepare one serving of cream of wheat.  Add to it 2 ounces of fresh strawberries.  Make sure to use organic strawberries, please. Locally grown, if you can get them.  Strawberries are my favorite berry, but they’re also one of the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen.” You can watch their video here >  http://www.ewg.org/news/videos/ewg-and-pesticides-dirty-dozen, so try to buy organic.

Why strawberries?  They have a high vitamin C content.  Why does that matter?  This is what the CDC says:

In addition to a healthful diet that includes good sources of iron, you can also eat foods that help your body absorb iron better. For example, you can eat a fruit or vegetable that is a good source of vitamin C with a food or meal that contains non-heme iron. Vitamin C helps your body absorb the non-heme iron foods you eat, especially when the food containing non-heme iron and the vitamin-C rich food are eaten at the same meal.

You can read more about that here:
http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html

So, if you need more iron in your diet, a very easy way to accomplish that is to have a breakfast of an iron fortified cereal and a fruit high in vitamin C.

 

Leg Rash? Bedbugs?

myeloma blog statsI don’t really blog much anymore, because I’m not being treated for my multiple myeloma these days.  It’s been pretty stable for nearly six years.  I try not to live in the myeloma world too much.  Actually, I don’t really even try.  It just works out that way.  When I first learned I had myeloma, back in 2003, it was all I could think about, from the time I woke up in the morning, until the time I went to sleep.  I’ve talked to a lot of people who experienced the same sort of involuntary obsessive thoughts about the disease.  It’s a strange feeling.  You know there’s something inside you that’s trying to kill you, and you can’t stop thinking about it.  The farther you get from your last treatment, the less you think about it.

Since I don’t do much blogging these days, I don’t pay attention to my stats, either.  This morning I decided I’d take a look.  What surprised me was the number of people who found my blog by searching for something with the word “rash” in it.    I had written a post in 2007 about what I think could have been an insect bite on my leg.  As you can see from the image on the right, “bed bugs rash” is now the number two search phrase that brings people to my blog.  Very interesting.

In the past, my blog was a big attraction for people searching about shingles.  I’ve had shingles at least three times, and blogged about it — with pictures.  I wasn’t shocked when I used to see that turn up in the analytics.  “Bed bugs rash,” however, is surprising!

I just found this

It’s been a while since this was written, but I just became aware of this NPR story about Minnesota Don.  Don’s an amazing person, in every way.

Targeted Cancer Drugs Keep Myeloma Patients Up And Running

Don Wright got diagnosed with multiple myeloma at what turned out to be the right time. It was 10 years ago, when he was 62.

That was at the beginning of a revolution in treating this once-fearsome , which strikes around every year. The malignancy can literally eat holes in victims’ bones, which can snap from the simple act of bending over to pick up a package.

Read More Here

I have never met Don in person, but I have spoken to him on the phone, and he even  did me a super big favor once.  A couple of times.  He’s been great about sharing his experiences with the myeloma treatments he’s undergone.  He’s been on pomalyst lately, which is a new-ish drug for mm patients.

You can listen to the story at the article’s home > http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/02/18/172098789/targeted-cancer-drugs-keep-myeloma-patients-up-and-running

You can read Don’s blog here > http://myelomahope.blogspot.com/

Yum yum sauce

A friend recently introduced me to a small fast food restaurant called Tokyo Express. Seriously, I could eat there every day.  At least twice a day.

Tokyo Express is in a strip mall off the main drag.  It’s a small place, nestled between a tobacco shop and a beauty supply store.  I never went there because I didn’t really know what it was, and the location is kind of on the decrepit side.

The food is tasty, and it’s fast.  It’s nothing you couldn’t do at home if you had all the ingredients.  I always get the jumbo shrimp and scallops. They pile on sauteed onions and zucchini, steamed broccoli and fried rice.

The thing that makes the meal complete is their white sauce.  I’ve enjoyed the white sauce at many Asian restaurants, but never thought much about it until a co-worker asked me to bring back 4 containers of it from my lunch run to Tokyo Express.  Four containers?  I thought she was kidding, but she wasn’t.  She said it was the tastiest condiment she’s ever had.

This prompted me to look it up on the web. It’s known as white sauce, yum yum sauce, shrimp sauce or sakura sauce.

Why is this stuff so good?  Its basic ingredient is mayo.  If you like mayonnaise, you’ll probably like white sauce.   If you’re in my neck of the woods, stop in at Tokyo Express for a meal.  Maybe I’ll see you there!

A new and fun way of eating fruits. No spoon, no knife, no mess!

Fruit you squeeze from a package.I was grocery shopping a couple of days ago, and this thing called Buddy Fruits caught my eye in the produce department. I picked it up and looked at it, and couldn’t quite figure it out, but it seemed to have potential. I imagined using it on toast or on oatmeal.  Yeah, I could try this.  Plus, it was only a dollar.  I bought the apple/banana product. How could I go wrong?

I was anxious to try my new purchase on my cream of wheat the next morning, so I opened it and gave it a squirt.  My first impression was that it had the consistency of baby food.  Or apple sauce that’s too saucy. I mixed it in with the cream of wheat and tasted it.  It definitely tastes like apple sauce. I wasn’t as thrilled as I thought I’d be.

I was imagining something like Polaner All Fruit, but in a container that looks like astronaut food.  It doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s been opened.  After that, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  I’ve had mine in there for days, since I’ve only been squirting out a tablespoon or so onto my cereal.

Fruit you squeeze from a packageI can’t read the small print on the package, so I went online today and found the product’s web site. It was then that I learned the intended function of this stuff.  Buddy Fruits have been created, as their slogan puts it, to render “Eating Fruits Made Easy!”  I’m not kidding.  The title of my post came right from their web site:  “A new and fun way of eating fruits. No spoon, no knife, no mess!”

Most of the fruit I eat doesn’t require a spoon or a knife.  I’m sticking to apples and bananas in their original forms.