Category: Myeloma


Health Hazards

I just read this article and can identify.

How mounting medical costs are plunging more families into debilitating debt and why insurance doesn’t always keep them out of bankruptcy.

By: Karen Springen, Newsweek

August 22, 2006, Newsweek on

Recent Labs

It’s been a while since I posted labs. For the most part, I haven’t gotten good lab reports since I was at UNC. The m-spike and IgA were measured 20 days after I had the cyclophsphamide. I was hoping for a good response to that, but maybe it was too early to test. I’ll have a repeat done in a few weeks to see if it’s gone down any.

Test Value Reference Range
WBC 6.6 x10^3/uL 4.5 – 10.5
LY 1.2 1.2 – 3.4
MO 0.3 0.1 – 0.6
GR 5.0 1.4 – 6.5
RBC 3.73 x10^6/uL 4.00 – 6.00
Hgb 10.7 g/dL 11.0 – 18.0
Hct 33.3 % 35.0 – 60.0
MCV 89.3 fL 80.0 – 99.9
MCH 28.8 pg 27.0 – 31.0
MCHC 32.2 g/dL 33.0 – 37.0
RDW 19.7 % 11.6 – 13.7
Plt 241 x10^3/uL 150 – 450
MPV 6.5 fL 7.8 – 11.0
GFR Estimated > 60 > or = 60
BUN/Creatinine ratio 15 6 – 25 (calc)
Sodium 148 135 – 146 mmol/L
Potassium 4.6 3.5 – 5.3 mmol/L
Chlorine 110 98 – 110 mmol/L
CO2 13 21 – 33 mmol/L
Calcium 10 8.5 – 10.4 mg/dL
Protein, Total 7.9 6.0 – 8.3 g/dL
Albumin 4.5 3.5 – 4.9 g/dL
Globulin 3.4 2.2 – 4.2 g/dL
Albumin/Globulin ratio 1.3 0.8 – 2.0 (calc)
Bilirubin, total 0.3 0.2 – 1.3 mg/dL
Alkaline phosphatase 115 20 – 125 U/L
AST 25 3 – 35 U/L
ALT 24 3 – 40 U/L
Creatinine 0.8 0.5 – 1.2 mg/dL
Free Kappa, serum < 0.1 3.3 – 19.4 mg/L
Free Lambda, serum 33.3 5.7 – 26.3 mg/L
IgA 1563 81 – 463 mg/dL
1st abnormal protein band 1.0 g/dL
2nd abnormal protein band 0.3 g/dL


20 days after I had the Cytoxan, I had a quantitative serum IgA and SPEP done. I got the results back, finally. How can this be though? My IgA and m-spike are higher than they were before the chemo! I wrote to a well-known MM specialist, and here’s what he said:

One possibility is potential good news-that is that the Cytoxan actually destroyed and lysed myeloma cells, releasing IgA into your system and temporarily increasing the serum IgA level, which may now drop lower over the next few weeks.If that drop does not happen, then this does raise the question that transplant with high dose Melphalan may not work well. A modified protocol of some sort might be required.My suggestion is to follow closely off therapy for the time being.

Iron Poor Blood?

Remember those ads for Geritol? I have an iron deficiency and low hemoglobin and hematocrit, so I’m taking an iron supplement + vitamin C a few times a day and getting shots of EPO (Erythropoietin alpha) each week. This is from the chemo at the beginning of the month. Anyway, this condition can make one very tired. It’s not something a Geritol tablet’s going to fix.

I’m taking 325 mg of ferrous sulfate along with 250 mg of vitamin C, 3 times a day. Did you know that vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron? It’s true. If you’re taking iron, you should also take some vitamin C at the same time. Here’s some interesting stuff about iron.

I’ve been told that I should expect a response in about 4 weeks. Hopefully, the hemoglobin and iron will get back to normal and I can stop feeling so exhausted.

Cytoxan and hair loss

I had 3 big slugs of Cytoxan at the start of October (the 5th). Almost 3 grams IV, 3 times, every 3 hours. It caused my hair to fall out, but not ALL of it. I’d estimate that about 95% of the hair on my head fell out. I still have eyebrows, still have to shave my legs and have hair on my arms. The sides of my head look bald, and the top has a little bit of inch long hair. I’ve never like having short hair, so this is going to be different for me. I wear a hat when I go out.

Lab results

I got a call from one of the nurses at my doctor’s office. All of my lab results aren’t back yet, so I don’t know my m-spike or serum IgA. I’m supposed to call back on Monday to find out. However, they did say that I’m “extremely iron deficient” and are calling in a couple of prescriptions for me to take. I’ll let you know what they are once I pick them up. Gosh. No wonder I’m tired.


Yesterday I saw the doc and had labs drawn. My Hgb was 8.5, and I’ve been feeling pretty washed out. I got a shot of Procrit, and have another one scheduled for next Wednesday. I’m hoping it will help. My platelets and WBC are in the normal range now. In fact, the platelets are higher than they’ve ever been. The doc said the RBC is slower to come back.

I also got a flu shot. If you’re supposed to be getting annual flu shots, it’s that time!

Tomorrow I’ll be able to call in to see what the other lab results are. Everything should be back except the free light chain assay.

Please consider donating to the International Myeloma Foundation. Click on the link at the left.

Happy day

The catheter is out now. I had a real shower today, without having to worry too much about getting the dressing wet. I asked if I could keep my Neostar, and the doc said it was ok. I’ll take a picture of it for you to see. Unfortunately, my camera doesn’t work, and I need a new one. I’m still feeling weird about going places without hair, but I’ll get used to it and then get a new camera!