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 :)

24hr Urine 24 Mar 2003

Date of specimen: 3/24/2003

Protein, Total, Urine 5.2 mg/dL 0.0 – 15.0
Protein, Urine 24 hr 150.8H mg/24 hr 30.0 – 150.0
Albumin, U 59.6 %
Alpha-1-Globulin, U 14.3 %
Alpha-2-Globulin, U 11.0 %
Beta Globulin, U 7.5 %
Gamma Globulin, U 7.6 %
M-Spike, % Not observed
Immunofixation result, urine
Bence Jones Protein positive lambda

Labs from 30 January 2003

Drawn: 01/30/2003

white cell count 6.8 10^3/uL 4.5 – 11.0
red cell count 3.96 10^6/ul 3.80 – 5.10
hemoglobin 13.0 g/dl 11.5 – 15.0
hematocrit 37.5 % 34.0 – 44.0
MCV 94.8 fl 82.0 – 101.0
MCH 32.9 pg 26.0 – 33.0
MCHC 34.7 g/dl 32.0 – 36.0
RDW 12.6 % 11.0 – 14.0
PLATELET CT 308 10^3/ul 140 – 400
MPV 6.8 fl 7.8 – 11.0
CREATININE 1.00 mg/dl 0.40 – 1.50
CALCIUM 9.1 mg/dl 8.4 – 10.6
ALKALINE PHOSPHATASE 166 iu/l 50 – 150
SGOT (AST) 27 iu/l 15 – 40
LDH 83 iu/l 100 – 190
COLOR yellow yellow
CLARITY slightly cloudy clear
SPECIFIC GRAVITY 1.010 1.005 – 1.030
pH 5.0 5.0 – 7.5
PROTEIN Negative Negative/trace
GLUCOSE Negative Negative
KETONES Negative Negative
URINE BILIRUBIN Negative Negative