Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dog is Good

It's a Tuesday night. We're jut kicking back at home, watching tv. Gracie lies between us. That Gracie is a good dog. Actually, much of the time I think she's human. On our walks, I definitely have conversations with her. She's a great listener and sounding board. When I first got sick, I could make it perhaps half way around the block and I'd be exhausted, huffing and puffing. Gracie knew something wasn't right me and she adjusted her pace and curiosity to meet my energy level.

Thursday is chemo. Velcade, dex, revlimid. Day 15 of the latest cycle of maintenance. That means Friday is 24 hour urine day. I also work Friday, so the jug comes with me to work.  A week later I see Berenson. I skipped last month and my results were good.  Earlier this week I did the basic blood work. CMP and CBC.  Everything there is stable. White blood cells in the normal range. Hemoglobin a bit low, so I'll get a shot this week to bring the counts up.  Creatinin is 3.51. That's consistent with where it has been for several months. I had a glimmer of a sensation that it would be under 3 for the first time since my diagnosis. No such luck.  I told myself I was going to ignore these lab results. I promised myself that I wouldn't call for the results. But I couldn't do it. I needed to know.  It sucks having this mystery out there almost every week.

And the above is a description of my life. Woohoo. Pretty darn exciting. Once a year there is a blood drive at work.  It's tomorrow. I can't give, obviously. My blood is tainted for oh so many reasons. In my whole building we have about 400 people. In the group I work in, we have roughly 45.  Cancer rarely, if ever, comes up. People don't ask me questions. I think everyone assumes I am all better. Yesterday I sent a blanket email to my group.  I've had nearly 30 transfusions over the past 32 months and 10 days.  My blanket email wasn't preachy or a downer. I simply reminded people of how important donating is. I had 4 responses from people they were absolutely giving. Nothing from anyone else. Well there was the definitive no that I received from someone who sits right by me. Him I asked in person.  And I know it shouldn't, but it kind of bugged me that only 4 people acknowledged my email with a yes. Everyone else was silent. How hard is it to give blood, if you can? I/we go through a lot of poking with needles and blood draws on a regular basis. A once a year donation to me is the equivalent of scratching your ear. But I guess everyone has reasons for why they do what they do. And perhaps I'm acting entitled by thinking that at least 10 or 12 of the 45 would say something back to me.  "Atta boy Matt" "Glad you're doing good Matt"

I hope everyone has taken some time to check Brad's blog updates this week. He's giving a blow by blow recap of his stem cell transplant this week. His attitude is awesome, always  has been. But it's also real interesting to read about the SCT process. He's taking away the mystery and fear aspect of a transplant. Whether I get one eventually or not, I feel better off knowing how it works. And with Brad's recap, I feel like I would know what expect. Brad's blog is

Also there is Bill who had his transplant last year and this year is training for the Empire State building stair climb.  He's raising funds for the MMRF. Check him at: .

My Mom and I have exchanged emails this week on an Op-Ed piece this weekend in the New York Times. People are bashing, rightfully so, the author, Bill Keller, who for some reason decided to take issue with a woman who blogs about her difficult battle with cancer. Keller basically asks why the woman isn't simply dying quietly, gracefully and quickly. Side note, he questioned her getting a therapy  dog. Fuck Bill Heller. I won't even provide a link to his piece, but here is a link to an article in Cure Magazine addressing what he wrote.
And, that folks, is today's update. I'm feeling real good and we're moving forward.

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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.