Friday, April 26, 2013

Dex. Ouch. Myeloma.

I should know better. Today was the start of another cycle of maintenance chemo which means today was velcade and dex. Velcade is the chemo drug. Dex is the steroid. It's not a muscle building steroid. But it is a puffy face, weakened bone marrow, insomnia inducing, and irritation (as in anger) causing steroid. It's also a myeloma treating steroid, so it is worth all those other things. It's been two weeks since my last treatment, so I tend to forget what happens. Well, I don't forget, I pretend to forget. Tonight after treatment, I thought I'd stay up late, get real tired and avoid insomnia. Wrong. I stayed up till 11 (late for me). We watched a couple of episodes of Mad Men. I got tired, went to bed and slept for two hours. And now? It's 1 AM and I am awake. Here is the insomnia. I can't beat it. I can't play games. Damn it. Well tomorrow I ride my bike to work to say fuck off myeloma and to burn off some steroid energy. For every action there is an equal reaction. Or however that goes.

I also had a procrit shot today. That helps my blood count which is always low due to the chemo, steroids, and yes myeloma. If my hemoglobin is under 10, I get the shot. As I have sad before, normal is 13-15. I've been in the 6s many moons ago. If under 8, I likely would get a transfusion. I've had over 20 in the past two years, but nothing in a year.  For several months, I have hovered between 9 and 11. That's good actually. I have energy with those numbers. I do lab work every week and a half to see how the blood count is doing. I've been close to 12 a couple of times. That is awesome.

This week I was 9.9. Just missed the cut off for not getting procrit. Procrit is a shot in the belly. For two years now, I have received a whole lot of different belly shots. ( Not the kind you might see in a bar (so I heard)). For me, the shot in the belly has been no problem. No pain at all. We even had Leslie giving me a daily shot for a while last year. She did it pain free, I haven't given myself a shot yet.  I also know that I've met people who refuse to get a belly shot. Refuse. Pain being their reason. I never understood that, for me they've been super easy. No more. I've had a lot of procedures over the past two years. Cut, poked, prodded, injected. And today's procrit shot was more painful than anything I've had to do over the last two years. Damn, that thing hurt and burned like heck today. I am thinking the shot went too deep and missed the jolly, pain free fat zone in the belly. And because of the steroids, I was pissed afterwards. We went to Katella Deli after treatment, which is right near Phan's new office to get our now traditional post chemo matzo ball soup. I could barely drive or stand at the cashier, given my anger over the painful shot. I know why it the shot was bad and that makes me more mad. I need to ask to have a specific nurse give me shots. The one who does it pain free. Seriously....ouch! The thing hurt like the dickens.

I did stop at the gym on the way home from work today, before chemo. My first gym visit since having the port removed. It was great. I did some upper body work. Weight bearing exercises to build strong bones. It was great being able work out without the need to be careful so as not to irritate the port. Lean and mean is absolutely in my future without the port.

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Berenson Oncology Success Rate

 Some reading about my myeloma specialist's success rate. A press release and an article from Targeted Oncology.