- Complete blood counts (CBC), which includes counts of red cells, white cells, platelets, hemoglobin, and the like. Lots more, most of which the doctor doesn't even look at unless they go out of range.
- Chemistry, which includes calcium, sodium, potassium, and other mineral counts plus several other very important indicators such as creatinine (kidneys) and albumin (liver).
- Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPEP) which shows how much of the protein in the blood is in the form of "monoclonal" proteins that are cast off by the malignant plasma cells of myeloma. This is a crude but important indicator of the actual tumor burden. Myeloma patients call this the "spike," because it actually does show up as a peak on a graph. Bad Spike!
- Light Chains, a particular component of the monoclonal proteins which can clog up internal organs and make things a lot worse, in fact they can make you dead. The doctor tests for light chains in the blood and also in the urine.
- Other stuff. Sometimes they do x-rays, bone density measurements, bone marrow biopsies, and other tests. None scheduled this time, but maybe if the blood tests indicate an issue.
I'll see the doctor in another week to review the test results. If the numbers are stable or down, then the curcumin regimen is doing some good and we will no doubt stay the course. If they are up, then I know that the doctor will recommend Revlimid, a fairly new treatment which I am reluctant to start for several reasons. I will most certainly post.