Sunday, August 18, 2013

Reality in Full Swing. What to Eat.

I vaguely remember a joke as a kid, that went something like this: why did the man throw the clock out his window? He wanted to see time fly.  Seemed funny as a kid. I can picture this joke on a popsicle stick.  Now as a adult, a fully grown man, it's not as funny. Why? Because time flies all on its own.  It whizzes by. And I'm not sure how I feel about that.  It's getting to be late August. 2013 is winding down. I'm approaching 28 months since my diagnosis.  I'll be 52 in October.  What the heck?

It's hard to believe that last week we were in New York.  It really was one of those life changing/life reaffirming trips.  Woodstock was absolutely beautiful.  The wedding and the setting and the people were awesome. Our trip to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary really did a number on me and Leslie.  Not sure if folks recall,  but a few months before my diagnosis, I quit eating meat.  I'm an animal lover. Not quite a Peta member animal lover, but perhaps on my way.  After quitting meat, my energy went way down. I figured it was because I wasn't getting enough protein. Turned out that my energy was low because of the myeloma and the anemia that comes with it.  Some folks with myeloma have bones issues. Others have kidney issues. I had/have kidney issues.  Because of my kidneys, I was on a strict renal diet for nearly two years.  Foods with lots of potassium and phosphorus were no nos. This ruled out nuts, beans, dairy...all alternative sources of protein. My doctors told me I needed protein to fight the cancer. So meat was added back to my diet.  I can tell if I have't had protein. My energy and mood take a hit.

My kidneys still aren't perfect, but they've improved enough such that I've been able to add foods (in moderation) to my diet.  While in NY, I let myself go and ate a bunch of stuff I've worked hard to avoid.  Saturday I did blood work. I'll get the results tomorrow.  We'll see what the trip and eating does to my creatinin, which as we know is the metric we use to measure how my kidneys are doing.  If the number is roughly the same, I'll consider that a success.  I can continue to add foods back to my diet.  It would also mean that I have choices in terms of my protein intake. I might be able to cut back on the meat eating.  This is good. As I said in a recent post, after visiting the rescued farm animals, it's going to be tough to eat animals.  They have feelings too.  The question then is how I balance my dietary needs in terms of fending off the myeloma versus my desire to not eat meat. It's a difficult balancing act. I'm open to suggestions.

We flew home Weds night from vacation, The next day I went to work and had chemo. No break.  I've been feeling great. Felt great the whole trip. Myeloma doesn't impact my life. That was the goal from the get go.  But having chemo is a stark reminder.  Dr Phan actually had a talk with Berenson the other day. They discussed briefly if I could take a little drug vacation.  The answer was a definitive and firm NO.  Any little break in my regimen gives the myeloma a chance to rev up.  My buddy Brad went off his meds for a few weeks leading up to his stem cell harvesting. That little break allowed his myeloma to strengthen a wee bit. Fortunately he's got a drug mix that works and he's back after it. But that's the thing with myeloma. It's always lurking. You might say myeloma is a stalker.

This weekend, I've done a whole lot of nothing. I have gone to the gym and done some easy chores at home.  But I have the post chem/dex tiredness this weekend, so it's pretty nice just kicking it. Tomorrow, I'm back at it. Work, riding my bike, focused, determined.

I skipped my monthly Berenson visit this month. I did my regular monthly myeloma labs and saw that everything is stable, so no need to see Berenson. I'll see him in September, which will be here in no time.

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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.