Friday, May 3, 2013

Record Snow at Mayo Clinic

Thursday, May 2, 2013:

We Minnesotans thought we were done with snow for the season. Highway departments had even removed the plows from their big trucks, converting them for summer use. After all, Rochester, Minnesota's previous all-time record snowfall for the entire month of May was two inches. Last night and today, though, Rochester and Mayo Clinic got a foot. We saw the forecasts and drove from our home to Rochester yesterday afternoon before the storm, staying at a hotel. Today we did our medical business entirely indoors, using the clinic's warm, dry honeycomb of tunnels, returning home this afternoon when the storm was over. No problems - the roads were pretty good once we got away from Rochester.

We did have to get the car
out of the snow
Cycles 66 and 67:

I never got around to posting last month's results on the Pomalyst study, so today's report is a double. Cycles 66 and 67 are complete, each 28 days long, for a total of five years and almost two months. I take 2 mg of Pomalyst every night, the good stuff that is keeping my myeloma at bay. In addition I take one 325-mg aspirin every day to ward off blood clots, and a 400-mg tablet of acyclovir to keep shingles away. Today's results are good - IgG is down about 14% from last month, M-spike is unchanged, and no other blood results are a cause for alarm. Ho-hum. I love ho-hum.

Support Groups are Good (I learned how to take Pomalyst):

When I started on Pomalyst five years ago I was under the impression that it could be taken with or without food, or at least that's what I have thought in recent years. If I was told otherwise, I have forgotten it. When Pomalyst was approved by the FDA, though, I noticed that the Pomalyst patient guide advised a two-hour interval between Pomalyst and any food. I asked Dr Martha Lacy about that at a Twin Cities support group meeting almost three weeks ago. She replied that the two-hour interval might be important, to keep the drug from binding to the food, and that it might be especially important to avoid calcium in those two hours.

Because of this discussion, my evening habits have changed. I previously took a 300-mg calcium tablet every evening, sometimes at bedtime, and ate an ounce or so of cheese near bedtime, often at the same time that I took the Pomalyst. Since that meeting, though, I have made sure to avoid all food, including calcium and other supplements, within two hours of taking the Pomalyst. Is that why IgG went down this month? If so, maybe it will stay down, now that I have removed a variable from the drug administration.

High Blood Pressure:

My brain stopped when I heard the first number, 155, so I didn't hear the second number today. I don't recall ever having a systolic reading as high as 155 mmHg. A normal systolic value for me would be in the low 130's, and diastolic in the 70's. Dr L suggested that I keep a log of BP this month, so I ordered a new meter to arrive Saturday, and will do just that.

This was an unusual morning because we ate out the night before (salt, fat, sugar) and slept in a hotel overnight, somewhat uneasily. Furthermore, breakfast was unusually heavy on coffee and especially chocolate (caffeine). I'm not overly concerned, but a log will help a lot in determining whether anything needs to be done. A very good doctor recently suggested meditation, and I have considered starting that anyway, so maybe I will have another reason. But where do people get the time? Morning, I suppose, on rising. Dr Oz suggests seven minutes of exercise first thing in the morning too, to rev up the metabolism. I should do that, but which is first, the exercise or the meditation? I get stressed out just thinking about it all.

Light Chains and the Prostate:

My myeloma is IgG Lambda, meaning that the naughty tumor cells produce Lambda light chains, rather than Kappa. In recent months, though, both numbers seem to be creeping up. Lambda light chains were at their highest in five years last month, and now Kappa light chains are at their highest this month. Both are at or above their reference range. Dr L suggested that this may happen to us men as we age, especially if we have prostate issues (I have BPH), because back-pressure in the bladder may impair the kidneys' ability to remove the chains. At least I think that's what she said. If so, then it's not about myeloma, it's about the prostate. Hmmm, I haven't had that checked in years.

Most-Recent Test Results:

Test    Feb 07    Mar 07    Apr 04    May 02     Remarks
M-spike g/dL 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1 \ Tumor marker
IgG mg/dL 1140 1290 1230 1060 / Tumor marker
Lambda mg/dL 3.09 2.84 3.30 2.89 L free light chains
Calcium mg/dL 9.6 9.4 10.0 9.4 OK
Creatinine mg/dL 1.5 1.2 1.5 1.2 Kidney, OK
HGB g/dL 14.9 14.4 15.5 14.9 Hemoglobin, OK
RBC M/uL 4.10 4.26 4.53 4.40 Red cells, low
WBC K/uL 4.2 4.7 5.2 4.5 White cells, OK
ANC K/uL 1.60 2.50 2.20 1.50 Neutrophils, low

Related Links:

My Myeloma     A discussion of my myeloma, not very technical.
My Treatment History Not technical.
My Test Charts Graphic displays of several key test results over time.
My Test Result Table Somewhat technical. Best with a wide browser window.
My Supplement Regimen With links to where I buy them.

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