Six years ago

Six years ago on this date, I had a stem cell transplant at Duke Medical Center.

You can read what I wrote that day by clicking on the picture of my stem cells.  I didn’t document it very well.  I remember feeling just terrible when the stem cells were being injected into my line.  I felt so bad that they gave me something that pretty much knocked me out.  It felt like someone punched me in the chest.  I felt sick, too.  I can’t even remember if I took this picture, or if someone else did.  Ativan. :)

Stem Cells

My new project

My friends gave me their not-so-new 1989 Honda Accord SEi a few months back.  It appeared to be in great condition for its age, and even compared to a car 10 years newer.  I decided to invest time, effort and money into getting it into tip top condition.

I started with the engine.  I think I’m pretty much done with that now, with a few exceptions.  The air conditioning simply doesn’t run cold after the conversion from R12.  I think there’s a leak.

I had the steering rack replaced, and I’m sure the mechanic messed it up.  The steering’s really “loose” now, and there’s a vibration when a turn is attempted at just about anything more than a dead stop. A friend looked at it for me, and says that a bushing is missing.  He said he can replace that fairly easily.

Once those things are fixed, I believe the car, with proper maintenance, will be good for a few more hundred thousand miles.

1989 Honda Accord

What’s new

  • Radiator
  • Exhaust
  • Distributor
  • Starter
  • Fuel injectors (all 4)
  • Tires (4)
  • Steering rack
  • Brakes

We started to work on the exterior.  It’s in very good condition.  There are no major dings, and no paint peeling or oxidation. The exception is the side view mirrors, which Matt repainted.  He showed me how to do everything, so I can work on the other plastic parts when I have time.

The interior is in good condition, aside from the leather upholstery, which is quite worn and has several tears.  I’ve found a local person who can either patch or replace the upholstery.  I’m considering just having the tears patched.  I tried a DIY kit, but they were just too large to cover.  As a temporary measure, I applied Liquid Stitch to the tears to keep them from further ripping.  That stuff gets brittle and eventually gives way, so it’s not a permanent solution.

I’ll post my progress.

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/