Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Latest Labs

Blood count over 11....real good
Creatinin 6.18....holding steady which is good but we want it under 5

One more day of chemo this week, then that's the end of cycle 6 and I get a two week break.

Cancer & Football.

My new favorite player.

Thank you Amber and Shay

Wth my chemo, my immune system is pretty low, which means I need to avoid a bunch of stuff, including yard work. I like yard work, but I am banned. So today Amber and Shay came over and did a ton of work. Really very nice of them and greatly appreciated!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Normalcy vs the brain

Yesterday was a good day. A really good day. It was like a normal Saturday. I got up, took Gracie for a long walk. Then a nephew, Dan, came by the house and we went to lunch. He's the son of one of my stepsisters and I only see him every few years...when he's in LA for work. He's a photographer and does a lot of cool stuff. Check out his website: danmartensen.com
Anyhow, it's alway nice seeing him. Lunch was good, like a normal Saturday lunch.

Later in the day, Leslie and I plus Matt & Rich went to Redondo Beach to check out a beer store that some friends opened up. Very cool..... A specialty beer shop where you can sit and have a beer or buy it to go. Another website shout out: selectbeerstore.com It's very cool and was filled with people. Now, I love beer but can't drink it due to those darned kidneys. So it was root beer for me with a couple of baby sips of beer. But it was really nice just being out, feeling good, and leading a normal life.

But, later in the night, back home is where the brain takes over and I slip into a bit of woe is me....I'm a cancer patient. It's hard to describe the feeling and we've talked about this with the cancer coach. I am so immersed in this.... 9 months now....that I feel like my identity is based on cancer. That's me and nothing else. Silly yes, but that's where the brain went when I went to bed last night. My goal is to lead a normal life, yesterday was a normal day, and I'm doing great. But that tricky brain doesn't forget, it reminds me that normal now means something else. Myeloma will always be hovering behind me. Like I said, I am feeling great, haven't been angry about this in months, and appreciate life & things & people like never before. Cliche, yes....but true. However slipping into melancholy, I guess, is part of the deal. It's how I deal with the melancholy that is key. I can't let it take over, and I won't.

So what's the point of all this? What's the point of writing this? Just venting I suppose. I gotta let this shit out one way or another. But it really was a good day, and that is what matters.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Oh yeah, I got a blood transfusion on Thursday. It was my first transfusion in a couple of months. Another good sign.


Morning all. I had chemo yesterday. We're half way through cycle 6 of the current drug regimen. Phan's happy with my progress. Leslie talked to Zoller and she's happy with kidney improvement. My creatinin inched up just a bit to 6.14, but that's no big deal. I feel pretty good, better all the time. So definitely we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Still have things to do though.

Anyhow, that's all I got. Not too thrilling but good nonetheless.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


5.94. That's my creatinin today. Creatinin is a measure of kidney function and cancer intensity, if you will. A healthy person with healthy kidneys should have a creatinin number under 1. Over 5 is considered kidney failure.  I was once over 8, but the kidneys were still working. When I was over 8 and in the 7s, dialysis was mentioned. Zoller, the kidney diggity doctor, actually wanted me to start dialysis. But I put it off. Now I'm 5.94 which is awesome, I haven't been that low for many months. It means that my kidneys are improving and aren't necessarily permanently damaged from the cancer. 5.94 also means that my cancer continues to lessen. Can I get an "awesome" to that?

Today was chemo and an appointment with Phan. He considered delaying my chemo for a few days since my blood count and platelets are low, which comes with the myeloma territory. He wanted me to get a transfusion first and then do chemo.  I haven't had a transfusion in months..a long ass time... and this is also a good sign that says I am improving.  But Phan compromised and I did chemo today ( I don't like my schedule getting thrown off) and tomorrow I get a transfusion. I'll get two unit of O positive blood.  Anyone who can, should donate blood. You're saving a life. I've had almost 20 units of blood transfusions Donate....that's my request.

Boy, that 7 straight days of work and no appointment is a distant memory.  This week is definitely back at it. Monday was a nutritionist appointment and acupuncture.  Acupuncture was relaxing and can only help with my healing process. Today was chemo. Tomorrow is blood transfusion. Thursday is lab work to check my platelets and blood count..but I'll be able to go to work. And Friday is more chemo.  Whew!

But I'm feeling real good and real happy with my progress. I'm more energetic and more productive.  Phan does want me to be careful and perhaps avoid swimming when my platelets and white blood cell counts are low. I'm just too susceptible to catching something when they are low. That's too bad.

I'm a little loopy right now. With chemo, I get big dose of benadryl and it's a real kick. Makes me sleepy and loopy.

But to summarize....we're getting there....getting better. Awesome.

Interesting little article on potential cause of lowered immune system

Narcissistic men may pay a price--worse health

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Positive Trends

We saw Berenson today, and he continues to be real happy with my progress. Total protein is down to 2,000. It had been over 6,000. Normal is around 200. Other measures also look positive, so we continue on the path we're on. Getting better.

I've been getting sick at night lately, and it's not from chemo. I'm on a break right now. I just hits me out of the blue with no warning, but then I'm fine again. It sucks! Paranoia says it's the kidneys. Phan's office says it's the weekly procrit shot I get, which helps me produce red blood cells. Berenson says it's hard to say what's causing it. Welcome to the medical world.

Tomorrow is mental and non-medicine healing day. The cancer coach and acupuncture. Berenson surprised us today by saying he believes in acupuncture. Also had lunch with an old friend this week, and he is big advocate of acupuncture. Also of note, Berenson is giving a talk Monday at LB Memorial Hospital. Subject: myeloma and new medicines. We'll be there. Monday at noon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

7 days in a row

Seven days in a row that I've been at work. A record. Yesterday and today I stayed till 3. Not bad.

But tomorrow, I don't go in to the office. It's Berenson day. I'll update y'all after that appointment. I might try and swim tomorrow. And Friday is first acupuncture.

I'm feeling good.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Comfort Food

Had a good weekend visit with my sister. She lives up in Nevada and I hadn't seen her since I was diagnosed. We did a lot of laying around, which was real nice, and she spoiled us with some home comfort food cooking. Meat loaf one night. Delicious! French toast oneh morning. Delicious! Thanks Dana.

This week is another off week from chemo. Berenson is later this week. I'm predicting excellent results.

Friday, January 13, 2012


It's Friday. My sister Dana is coming to visit. Haven't seen her since I was diagnosed.

Put in 5 days of work this week. Not full days, but generally till about 2 or 2:30 every day. Not bad, not bad at all. I miss work staff meetings every week though and I'm hoping we can change that meeting to a time we know I am in the office.

Feeling pretty good. A little tired this week, but I guess that is part of the whole thing.

One more off week from chemo and then back to it. Berenson next week. Optimistic that he'll continue to be with my progress.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Creatinin down to 6.07 today! Woohoo. That's the lowest it's been in months. Means the kidneys are showing improvement. Hello nachos.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I'm getting a little lazy with blog updates. I suppose it's cause I'm making progress and in a routine. And I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Today I finished the latest cycle of chemo. Maybe 3 more cycles to go. We'll do comprehensive lab work in a week or so, followed by a Berenson appointment. That'll be they truest test about where I am at. I did see the kidney doctor this week, she didn't have much to say, other than I don't need to see her for two months. Whether the kidneys are permanently damaged still isn't known. But I say they're doing good. Also saw the cancer coach this week. Hugely helpful with the mental part of all this. I went swimming for the second time....really nice. I just focus on my form and count laps and breath. No time to think about cancer. Been working, that's going good. I'd like to have more energy at work and I think the two week break in chemo will help with that. Next week I am seeing a natural wellness doctor....so I can balance my chemo/medical routine with natural healing. It all helps.

And i think that's it. Me and Leslie still have a powerful team, and the love & support from family and friends is awesome.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It's a new year, filled with optimism, but locked into the same routine. Had chemo today, reviewed lab numbers, did a little work and now home. Tomorrow is back to work and appointment with the kidney doc.  I've been tired the past couple of days, which is only natural given the stem cell harvesting and treanda. But I don't like being so tired and it unfortunately heightens or re-engages my paranoia and worry. My numbers are pretty good, not a  lot of change. So logically, I know I am doing better, but the mental aspect is tough. It can wear a person down.

Friday is more chemo, then I get a two week break, during which I should feel pretty good.

You're in my Chair

It's 3 AM as I write this. Earlier today I had my monthly darzalex infusion.  Five hours. The first 4 go by swiftly. I get a large benad...