Wednesday, October 24, 2007

EXCELLENT Test Results

Yippee! Ok Don, calm down. "EXCELLENT" would be "it turns out you really don't have cancer after all." So these test results are just VERY GOOD! Can you tell I'm happy?

This was a short interval, too, only five weeks. Some important results:
  • IgG is down 13%, from 3110 to 2690 mg/dL. My IgG had not declined in the previous eight sets of tests, in fact increasing linearly and predictably for more than two years;
  • Spike (the SPEP test) is down slightly, from 1.90 to 1.85 mg/dL. This is not highly significant, because the SPEP does bounce around, except that this is the second DOWN bounce in a row and it has not bounced DOWN in two tests since the Big Bang.
  • Calcium dropped WAY down, from 10.4 mg/dL (slightly over the normal high range) to 9.7, perfectly normal. This had been the only C.R.A.B. symptom that seemed to be closing in on me, but it has backed away.
  • Creatinine is the lowest I have seen it in my four years with myeloma, down from 1.2 last time to 1.0 mg/dL. It is an important indicator of kidney function, another of the C.R.A.B. symptoms, though it wasn't out of range at 1.2.
I will post the full set of results, with graphs, on this blog by tomorrow night, but wanted to get out the news right away.

How did this happen? Heck, maybe it's just a glitch, but I like to think that the downturn was induced by some of the things I'm doing. If so, I give a lot of the credit to my friend Margaret for her work on curcumin and other supplements, plus her work on inflammation. Credit also goes to my friend Max (not his name, but he knows who he is) for putting me onto low-dose naltrexone. Further credit goes to my ever-loving sweetie Sunshine and my daughter Sweet Pea for feeding me properly, as described below.

Here is the regimen that I have been on for those five weeks (the "everything including the kitchek sink" approach):
  • Curcumin 7600 mg per day in four equal doses at approximately equal intervals. Of that curcumin, 6000 mg is "normal" 95% turmeric extract, and 1600 mg is the new Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin, which they claim is about seven times as bioavailable as normal extract. For this, thanks to Margaret and many others.
  • Low-dose naltrexone (see my previous post about that here). This is a prescription drug taken each night at bedtime, consisting of 4.5 mg of naltrexone. I have my local pharmacist compound it special, because the normal dose (for another malady) is 50 mg, way too much to achieve the desired result. Thank you Max.
  • Flaxseed oil, 1000 mg taken with each dose of curcumin to enhance bioavailability. Thank me.
  • Resveratrol 125 mg four times daily, taken with the curcumin. Thank you Margaret.
  • Quercetin 500 mg twice daily, taken with the curcumin. Thank you Margaret.
  • Mostly-vegetarian diet. Lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of nuts, modest amounts of grain, a little chicken or turkey, fish about twice a week, bison rarely, no beef or pork ever. Margaret posted about C-reactive Protein here. It may be a logical target for myeloma treatment, and one way to reduce CRP is to go vegetarian. Thank you Margaret and Sunshine.
  • Gluten-free diet. Gluten can cause severe inflammation in people who test gluten-intolerant, and it can cause some inflammation in many people who do not. Intolerance to gluten runs in families, and I have a son who tests gluten-intolerant, so why not go gluten-free, or nearly so? We pretty much have done that in the last five weeks and will do so in the foreseeable future. Thanks, Sunshine.
  • Lots and lots of exercise, including the overheated Chicago Marathon. Thanks to Sunshine and Sweet Pea.
The doctor/oncologist, who was SO skeptical about LDN that he would only humor me with a five-week prescription, today said "see you in two months," and gave me a three-month prescription and a happy smile. He used the word "stable."

There is some bad news, though. Or maybe it's just not-too-hot news. My red-blood-count is 4.24 M/uL, the lowest it has been in my four years of myeloma, and hemoglobin (HGB) is 13.9 g/dL, also at its lowest. RBC is actually off the bottom of the low range, though HGB is still barely within. My red blood count is always a bit low, but this is still a significant change. What caused it?
  • Perhaps the lack of red meat in my current diet?
  • I ran 14 miles indoors (read: warm!) the day before the blood draw. Could that kill off a few red blood cells?
Anyhow my doc onc isn't too worried and recommended more bison in the diet. He did point out that all of the things I'm doing are a "treatment," and treatments have effects on the whole body. Perhaps it's time to check in with my internist too; he's awfully smart.

Yesterday's breakfast
Yesterday's breakfast: Organic oatmeal, organic nonfat milk, kiwi, blackberries, banana, sweetened hibiscus blossoms (from Trader Joe's).

Tonight's salad
Today's salad: Organic romaine, avocado, jicama, organic strawberries, macadamia nuts, blue cheese, raspberry vinegar.

Tonight's dinner
Main dish (organic beans, organic rice, organic corn, onions), more onions, cute little sweet potatoes, organic nectarine, organic catsup.