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.


  1. HURRAY!!!!! I am too excited to read your post in a detailed manner, so I won't comment on any details right now, but I just wanted to let you know how absolutely DELIGHTED I am! We must all celebrate! I will definitely drink a few sips of wine (resveratrol!) tonight in your honour! Brilliant, Don! The kitchen sink approach works! ;-) Margaret in Florence

  2. Congratulations Don!!!!!

    Fantastic work!!! :D

    You made my day!!!



    Don you are great! And you made me so happy today. Thank you very much.
    Great job, great tests, great life.


  4. Mmm, that food looks great! Great news too. Keep up the hard work, you're very inspiring!

  5. Don, I wish you could come to my house and prepare some meals. It looks so good! During the first year I knew I had MM, I tried very hard. No sugar, simple carbs, dairy or meat. I relapsed. ;)

    Congratulations on the test results. I hope to see more reports like this one.


  6. Yee - haa!!! (Is that how you spell it? I'm sorry I'm English and don't speak American that well)
    This is excellent news. Well done Don.
    Interestingly, I went gluten free about 2 months ago and I feel much better for it. I had my most recent blood test only 2 weeks after making the change and even then it seemed that my platelet count (which is usually 50% above the highest normal level) was starting to drop. I've noticed other benefits too. My skin seems to be clearer and any scratches are healing up better. Also, the head sweats that I was getting have pretty much gone (I used to feel hot all the time). Finally, my abdomen is now much less inflamed and I can bend down and tie my shoes now without breathing in!
    I've been vegetarian since I got married 20 years ago and I think I might have O/D'd on carbs (pasta, bread, etc.) I have certainly benefitted from taking Omega 3 (to balance Omega 6) because my eyes are clearer now.
    I think I told you before that autoimmunity runs in my family too. My son is type 1 diabetic and dad had IBS/Chron's/Celiacs???. Never really sure. I think we are on to something here Don but if Celiac's is causing MGUS, it will take at least 2 years to fix.
    Anyway, well done. I am very pleased for you.
    PS Are you taking B12 for the RBC?

  7. Thanks all,

    I hope it keeps up. Paul, I take a modest amount of B12 in my multivitamin. I used to take a B-complex as well, but I guess I stopped when the bottle ran out. Probably should start that again, or maybe just a straight B12. Meanwhile we had a good meal of bison last night.

    Since posting, I've read that red cells are fragile, and runners can kill a fair number with their feet pounding on the pavement. I ran 14 miles on a hard indoor track the day before, so that may be a factor.

    I've already made an appointment with my internist, a very smart doc, to discuss this very issue.

  8. Don I use an Flora supplement,
    Floravital Iron & Herbs (yeast free)
    , to help with anemia. Without all the juicy meat you might consider a vegetarian alternative.

    I just love hearing about a response to a CAM therapy. If we don't do the research it looks like know one will.

    Three cheers for Don (and Margaret and Max and Sunshine and Sweat Pea...), hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray.

  9. Don, my hubby runs with you and told me about your blog;

    i love your ideas for healthy eating; especially the fruit at breakfast; no wonder you have so much more energy than i do;

    i enjoy your spirit and enthusiasm for life; keep up the good work; hurray !

  10. Congratulations, Don!!!! Yes, eat more bison, and that hemoglobin will hopefully come back up.

    I also wanted to compliment you on your food pictures. You could be a "food designer!" Question: Is there somewhere on your site an indexed list of all these appetizing meals? I would love to be able to have a list of them, listing the ingredients for each one.

    I have MGUS, and also the DQ8 gene, so although I don't have celiac disease, 2 doctors have suggested that I go gluten-free, which I have done. I would like to recommend to you this book: "Gluten-Free diet: A Comprehensive Resourch Guide" by Shelley Case. Really good book. Wonderful at pointing out such things as the fact that while the FDA mandates that wheat and wheat derivatives be shown on food labels, it does NOT (unfortunately) require this for rye and barley. So it's safest to avoid products labeled as having "modified food starch," "flavoring," or "natural flavoring," for these can be derived from rye and barley and there is no requirement to reveal this.

    Anyway, anyone on a gluten-free diet should have this book. I ordered my copy from

  11. Hello Anonymous,

    In fact my naturopath has just recently recommended just that - more bison and even (gasp) beef! You happened on an older post - the newer ones are here.

    Sorry to say there is no index to the food pictures. There are lots more on the running blog. We are keeping the high-resolution originals though and even contemplating a book. Maybe an online book?

    We'll probably order the Shelley Case book, based on your recommendation. We have three books already, including "Living Gluten-Free for Dummies," by Danna Korn, which Sunshine uses as a reference. The other two are about gluten-free baking, but we don't really bake much.

  12. Anonymous,

    By the way I salute your effort to keep your MGUS stable! More power to you.