I never heard of Falun Gong before Saturday. I was at the National Book Fair in DC on Saturday when I met Mrs. Yan near the Air & Space Museum. She goes there every Saturday to draw attention to the plight of practitioners in China, who are persecuted by the government there. I asked her to tell me a little bit about her cause.
http://lowsaltgirl.healthblogs.org/ – What are your ideas about cutting down on salt? I was personally never worried about it, because I never used to add salt to anything. Processed foods are packed with sodium though, and there’s the problem.
Cindy has been keeping us up to date with her condition at http://cakassel55.healthblogs.org/. I think it’s good to read about other peoples’ experiences because they help us to recognize things when they happen to us.
Margaret is trying to stay on top of a mountain of research, and posts it to her blog: http://margaret.healthblogs.org/. I’m about to give some of her experiments a try. I’m still stable a year after the SCT, and want to keep it that way as long as possible.
I’ll post about some more blogs at a later time.
I stayed home from work today because I felt ill from the early morning on. I’m having some tea now, and am starting to feel better. I should be back to normal tomorrow.
A couple of days ago I had blood drawn at Duke in Durham, NC. I should know in a few more days what the results are. They’re a little on the slow side where getting lab reports out are concerned. I’m not sure why it has to be that way. I haven’t had any tests since June, so I’m a bit anxious about it.
I signed up for a course to learn how to shoot and edit video! I’ll let you know how it is and will be sure to share some of my work. Stay tuned.
Thanks to Carol for finding this new study.
Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients of 70 Years and Older With Multiple Myeloma: Results From a Matched Pair Analysis
Am J Hematol. 2008 Aug 1;83(8):614-617, SK Kumar, D Dingli, MQ Lacy, A Dispenzieri, SR Hayman, FK Buadi, SV Rajkumar, SV Rajkumar, MA Gertz
Multiple myeloma (MM) accounts for 1% of all malignancies and approximately 10% of all hematologic malignancies. In the United States, an estimated 19,900 new cases of MM were diagnosed in 2007, and 10,790 patients were expected to die of this disease. Patients with MM have a median age of onset in the seventh decade of life and 3- to 4-year median survival when treated with conventional chemotherapy. Newer combination chemotherapeutic agents have not improved the survival outcome achieved with melphalan and prednisone, which have been used for >30 years. High-dose chemotherapy (HDT) followed by autologous stem cell rescue has resulted in improved survival and quality of life compared with conventional strategies. For patients with MM who qualify for HDT, this approach has become the standard of care.
Many of the larger clinical trials in which HDT was examined only included patients <65 years of age. However, a significant proportion of MM patients are >65 years. Therefore, it remains unclear whether the benefits observed in younger patients would extend to an older population. This case-controlled study evaluated the outcome of HDT in patients with MM who were >70 years.
A total of 93 patients were included in the study. All had undergone HDT and stem cell transplantation for MM. The study group included 33 patients >70 years and a matched control group of 60 patients <65 years. The baseline characteristics of the 2 groups were comparable, with the only difference being the type of conditioning regimen used. The dose of the melphalan conditioning regimen was reduced in 30% of patients in the elderly group as opposed to only 5% of patients in the younger group.
A trend toward a longer hospital stay after transplant was noted for the elderly vs the younger group (8 vs 3 days). By day 15, engraftment occurred in 94% of the elderly group vs 78% of the control group (P = .08). The adverse reactions most often seen were nausea, vomiting, hypertension, and tachycardia; no significant differences between the groups were evident. The overall response rates were 97% and 98% for the elderly and control groups, respectively. A complete response was achieved by 42% of the elderly group vs 28% of the control group. The patients were observed for a median of 27.2 and 38.3 months in the elderly and younger groups, respectively. The post-transplant median overall survival duration was 53.3 months in the younger patient group; the elderly patient group did not reach its median overall survival during follow-up. In the subset of patients receiving reduced-dose melphalan, there was no difference in time to progression or overall survival compared with
patients receiving standard-dose melphalan.
Previous trials have clearly shown a benefit of HDT in patients <65 years of age. However, investigators have not studied the benefit of HDT for patients 70 years of age and older. This study showed that patients older than 70 years have outcomes similar to those in younger patients (<65 years of age). The treatment-related mortality rate and the kinetics of engraftment were similar between the 2 study groups. Despite a greater proportion of the older group of patients receiving a reduced dose of melphalan, no significant differences were evident with respect to response rate or time to progression between the 2 groups. This retrospective study showed a benefit for patients >70 years who underwent HDT for MM. Age alone should not be the sole factor used when evaluating whether a patient is eligible to undergo HDT. Dose reduction should be considered for the older population of patients when appropriate.
This is a chart of my IgA values since before the SCT last summer. I stopped Velcade and Doxil in July, 2007 and the SCT took place at the end of August. This is quantitative serum IgA in mg/dL. The test on 10/11/2007 was the first one I had after stem cell transplant.
I’ve never once regretted having the SCT, and only wish I had done it earlier. In my case, nothing was keeping the mm under control for very long. The SCT has allowed me to be off treatment for 10 months now, which is a long time for me.
Duke allows me to look at my lab results online, and I’ve been waiting to see what my m-spikes are (I have two). So far, they’ve stayed under 0.5 g/dL when added together. That’s so much better than the 3.4 g/dL they were back in 2003.
The reference range at Duke’s lab for IgA is 46 – 287.
I just got this via email.
The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link is working with Dr. Steven Pavletic and his staff at the National Institutes of Health to develop a web cast on Coping with Chronic Graft vs. Host Disease. The 30-minute presentation will provide an overview of cGVHD, recommendations for care of the cGVHD patient, and personal reflections from current cGVHD patients and their caregivers. The web cast will be launched on our web site, www.nbmtlink.org late this summer. We are grateful to the National Marrow Donor Program for supporting this product
MMSupport.net unveils “Ask the Expert”, featuring Multiple Myeloma physician and scientist, James R. Berenson, M.D.
Ask the Expert is a free online web-forum where Myeloma and Bone Cancer specialist, Dr. James R. Berenson offers medical answers to questions surrounding quality of life and longevity issues for patients living with this rare form of cancer.
Los Angeles, CA – MMSupport.net and the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research are proud to announce the creation of “Ask the Expert”, a free online web-forum featuring Multiple Myeloma expert, Dr. James R. Berenson.
MMSupport.net is the creation of myeloma-advocate, Beth Morgan. The website serves to foster community in the form of an online forum where patients and caregivers could learn more about Multiple Myeloma, a plasma cell cancer that resides in the bone marrow. Thousands of people visit MMSupport.net every day. Many visitors are Myeloma and Bone Cancer patients, caregivers and other medical professionals who actively participate in online discussions about treatment options and personal experiences. “Ask the Expert” is the latest addition to the MMSupport.net website and is available at no charge by registering on the site. Visit www.mmsupport.net for more information.
James R. Berenson, MD has 25 years experience in treating Multiple Myeloma and Bone Cancer patients. Dr. Berenson is CEO and Medical Director for The Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research and CEO and President of Oncotherapeutics, an oncology-specific clinical trials management service. Dr. Berenson is an active clinician who treats patients daily in his Los Angeles offices and acts as a specialist consult to patient’s primary oncologist or primary care physician throughout the world. For more information, visit www.berensononcology.com
The Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research, based in Los Angeles, California, is an independent cancer research institute with a primary focus on hematologic cancers. Established in 2004, the IMBCR is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization. Over the last four years, the IMBCR has created novel breakthrough therapies that have substantially increased the longevity and quality of life of myeloma patients. The latest initiative at the institute is “The Cure Myeloma Project”, a multi-year research project that targets myeloma cells while keeping the non-cancerous cells intact. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.imbcr.org
Beth Morgan, MMsupport.net firstname.lastname@example.org or,
Cheryl A. Cross, MPH, Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research email@example.com 866-900-1035
Here’s a new picture of what the rash looks like. Don’t click on the thumbnail if you don’t want to see it. I think it’s hideous. I try to stay in so that I don’t attract mobs of torch-wielding villagers out in front of the house.
I’m still taking the 500 mg of Famvir three times a day and am taking some oxycodone as needed. I never thought I’d say this, but I wish I had some dex.
More about shingles