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.


Hey! My fingers are almost normal size again! Feels great! My face and eyelids are still puffy, but I am going to keep cutting sodium intake and keep drinking lots of water and sweat as much as I can. :)

Puffy red eye

How strange. It looks like yahoo/righthealth are scraping this blog. I hate when people steal my content!


I just sent a complaint to the local hospital, and asked them if there really has to be a smoking area on the parking deck right outside outpatient chemo. I’m trying to reduce my exposure to toxins, and I resent having to either hold my breath or inhale the second hand smoke from the groups of healthcare workers who gather out there to smoke. I think I may have been a little snotty, but hey! I’m on dex! Feel free to comment. Flames accepted, as long as there’s no smoke. To read their response, please click on “comments.” It’s pretty nice, considering the tone of my complaint.

Vitamin D3 and curcumin

This is from a friend on the MM list (acor). It makes sense to me. I have added D3 to my own list of supplements.

“The two top things you can do are take in 400 IU of Vitamin D3 per day, and drink 3 liters of water. The recent curcumin thread is intriguing, but since it quiesces the cell cycle, it should not be taken with chemos, bisphosphonates(Aredia or Zometa), or at the same time of day as Vitamin D3. If you want to take both D3 and curcumin, I would do Vitamin D3 at breakfast & curcumin after dinner. And btw, do not substitute vegetarian D2 for D3.”

Pregnancy tests

Today is the day of the week I submit a urine specimen for a pregnancy test. It’s required by the manufacturer of Thalomid(thalidomide). Because thalidomide caused some terrible birth defects when it was first used in the 50s, Celgene wants to make sure female users of childbearing age aren’t pregnant while taking the drug. The way they do that is to require a pregnancy test. Before starting thalidomide and for the next 4 weeks, I drop off a urine specimen at the clinic. After this week, I’ll only have to do it once a month. They also require that I complete a monthly phone survey. It’s all part of their S.T.E.P.S. Program.

My itchy red swelling has diminished, thank goodness. Still some redness and swelling, but much better! It’s definitely edema. I always associated edema with feet and ankles, but I seem to have it in my head and hands :) I think I need to cut way down on sodium. My fingers and face are kind of puffy.

I got pretty far in life without having to take drugs for anything. I hope to be drug free again one day.

I’m off to work now. Jeff installed a new mail server last night. He stayed all night! What a guy. We’re an ISP, and we have free junk mail and virus filtering on all incoming mail. We have numbers around the country, and can match Juno’s/Netzero’s $9.95/mo. price in most locations. ConnectNC, Inc.

Side effects?

Last night I started to develop a few little itchy spots on my arms and hands and my right eyelid swelled a little. By morning, the spots on my arms and hands were gone, but my entire right eyelid was swollen and red. At this moment, both eyelids are swollen and red, and so are my fingers. There are some itchy raised spots on my arms and legs too, mostly around the joints.

I’ve been taking Thalomid and dexamethasone (in 4 pulses of 4 days on/4 days off – 40 mg each day) for about a month now. Why would side effects manifest themselves at this point? Maybe there’s some cumulative effect with dexamethasone. It’s possible, because up until the third pulse, I hadn’t experienced that meanness other people talked about. Boy, was I in a bad mood! I could relate to what the others were saying.

I called my oncologist’s office this afternoon when it appeared that the itchy swelling wasn’t going away, but getting worse. He wasn’t in, so I called my primary care physician. He thinks it’s a result of the high doses of steroids and said I could take Benedryl to help with the itching and swelling. I must need a lot, because what I’ve taken so far today hasn’t put a dent in it. It would be nice if I could go to my vet and get a shot. :) If it’s not better in the morning, I’ll call my oncologist again.

I’m not sure if I should go ahead and take my evening dose of Thalomid or not. Tomorrow morning I start my last pulse of dex. Dex is supposed to help swelling :)