Happy One Year Stem Cell Transplant Anniversary-New Birthday to ME!

July 5, 2010 = City of Hope SCT Hospitalization for the month

July 5, 2011 = I’m Alive, Celebrating Remission, on Revlimid maintenance Chemo and doing ok!
This is how I “celebrated” 4th of July, 2010
at City of Hope with lots of Melphalan Chemo and IV cocktails
 Delivery of my life saving Stem Cells
July 5, 2010
New “Birthday” noted!

It’s all about location, location…
Celebrating life, health, recovery, remission
and being able to be barefoot in sandals in the snow!!
July 4th, 2011
Seriously… does recovery and remission get better than this??
Sandals and Snow at over 11,000 ft at
Mammoth Mtn, CA
July, 2011
Breathing deep, and ever grateful!
Well, yes… it did get better with a tremendous Thunderstorm and flashfloods in the Desert on the way home!

Then a stunning Rainbow arching over the freeway on our way home

Then sitting in my Horse arena with my horses and doggies under the Stars and Crescent Moon… until almost Midnight… July 5, 2011… something a year ago… I only dreamed about doing!!!
I am one lucky, grateful, blessed, fortunate gal to have been diagnosed a quickly as I was, medically treated as thoroughly and expertly as I was, and to have recovered to the extent that I have… in only one year
July 5, 2010 = Hospitalized at City of Hope just beginning to learn what a Stem Cell Transplant is all about, realizing I am really battling life threatening cancer…
July 5, 2011 = Learning to really Live each day, each moment as if…. it were my last… my mind is full of thoughts and my heart is full of appreciation and gratitude

And did I mention before, my most recent (late June) Bone Marrow Biopsy showed Myeloma beat back into submission once again! Yes!!!

WINNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9+ Million Stem Cells Saved My Life… one year ago today

June 22, 2010
June 22, 2011

One year ago today I was at the amazing City of Hope Hospital having life saving Stem Cells (my own!) collected from my blood in preparation for my Autologous Stem Cell Transplant in July 2010

City of Hope Apheresis Center
6/21/2010
Over 9.3 million stemmies were successfully collected from my blood on
June 21 and 22, 2010
Combined with 6 months of Revlimid chemo + Dexamethasone steroids
and IV Cytoxan chemo
and Neupogen injections to pump up my stemmies
 and IV Melphalan chemo
and my Stem Cell Transplant
and a lot of wonderful people…
All combined to
Save My Life!
Hellooooo Myeloma………… I’m Winnnnnnning !!!!
June 22, 2011 = REMISSION STILL !!!
……………………………….
6-23-2010
I had a surprise One Year Anniversary present:
a Bone Marrow Biopsy!
Results in a week…
Counting on REMISSION still!!!
Winning!!!!

One Year Ago Today 6-10-10

Has it really been a year since I was Chemo IV’d for the first time with CYTOXAN aka “CyTOXIC” to me!!!

Sheessh! was I naive about what I was in for!! But good thing… as I think my blonde “I’ll do just fine optimism” was what gave me the bravery I had…
Knowing what I know now… hhmmm… don’t think I’d be so brave! There would have been the anticipatory fear factor for sure
No doubt, “Ignorance is Bliss” was best in this case for what I went thru beginning June 10, 2010…

 Puffy Steroid Me
hooked up and receiving the live-saving poison
 Looking back, I still can’t believe what I tolerated chemically!!!
Nor do I fully understand how all these powerful chemicals
work in tandem together to save our lives, rather than euthanize us!
Such a delicate, wonderous balance
Medical science just amazes and intrigues me!
How those brilliant researchers, doctors, nurses etc
really know the exact pairing, balance and amounts 
of these cancer-killing, life saving chemicals
Feeling ok then…
Ha! had no idea how Cytoxan would be so
CyTOXIC to me hours later!
Jim’s just glad they didn’t hook him up too!
Best nurse ever and forever, Jalee Ms Extraordinare!
Ha! almost looks like the death-sentence chair
But in my case, the Life -Saving chair!
Just another big round of kicking Myeloma’s butt out of my system
after doing 6 months of Revlimid and DexamethasoneSteroids prior to this!
Gooooooooooo Chemo!!!
Bring on the cancer-fighting chemicals!!!

11 months post stem cell transplant! 6-5-11

I can hardly believe it’s been 11 months today since my hospitalization and life-saving Stem Cell Transplant!!
And what a monumental year, month, week it has been…

So many important milestones happened on Friday June 3, 2011 !
And to think…

Sick of being Sick and other recent Medical tales

Hello Everyone that might still be reading my Myeloma blog-

Since my last happy posting, I kinda bit the dust… and not in the way I would like… like back in the day when it was “fun” to bite the dust from falling off or being bucked off a horse!

Yes, recently I bit a different kind of dust, as in, unwillingly being relegated to the couch and the bathroom for the last couple of weeks! …
How can I put this delicately, sparing you the not so delightful biological experiences I’ve had recently…
First off, after recovering from a head cold middle of April, thanks to my darling daughter, I was well for a whole week! Yiippeee… then my darling son came down with the lovely intestinal bug!!! So being the good mother I am (even tho they are in their mid-20’s) I glove up, mask up, and take care of them!!!

But I thought… even tho several of my blood levels are still sub-normal… I confidently thought I would be just fine, and not come down with his awful bug… and boy did Scott get it bad! Off from work almost a week. We talked about this “weird” undefinable stomach pain he had… like none other!
Not long after Scott began to feel better… I began feeling this same undefinable stomach pain… as a matter of fact, the picture of me with the doggies from the posting below this, is right when I was coming down with this awful bug… so a week was spent you know where, doing you know what… enough said… lol

BUT!!! I recovered just in time to…. drum roll… prep for my first ever…. COLONOSCOPY!!! So yes, it seems like I’ve lived in my bathroom for weeks now… hahahhaa
Yes, most of May has been a body janitorial experience I’m not anxious to repeat anytime soon!!!

Here I am “recovering” from The Procedure!
As a result of this non-elected cleansing (thank you my son) and then the required medical “cleansing experience”… I do have some been-there, done-that experiential tips for all of you reading this, dreading your upcoming experience of this ever so important internal medical viewing event!!!
First off, I tortured and scared myself the night before I was supposed to begin DRINKING the evil gallon of polyethylene glycol, aka GaviLyte-C… by reading online other people’s experiences! Dumb! as I was ready to beg-out the next morning and call my Dr and cancel out!!!
But my head overruled my emotions, and I began drinking the cocktail of internal cleansing…

Honestly, the taste wasn’t as horrible as I heard and read. But perhaps, after all the treatments I’ve been thru this past year… many things are now “cake”.
So here’s my recommendations for a less traumatizing colonoscopy prep:
Eat light and smooth days before
Opt for an afternoon appointment, so you don’t “cleanse” all night
Don’t eat the morning of the day you begin the prep; clear fluids and broth only
Don’t guzzle the laxative prep every 30 minutes as recommended
Drink it slowly so it doesn’t make you sick
Drink a glass every hour-ish
Don’t follow it with water or sports drink if you feel full
Go with your intuition- if you feel full, don’t drink
I used a straw to sip it in the beginning, then actually began to be ok drinking more at a time
Bring your phone, computer, magazines, books, etc into your favorite bathroom with you, as you’ll be spending a lot of time there LOL

I actually was able to down 3/4 of the gallon over about 5-6 hours and was actually able to get to bed and sleep ok thru the night (no cleansing that is, during the night thankfully!)
I then drank one glass of prep 5 hours before my afternoon appt and didn’t have any liquid 4 hours before the appt

No doubt I was really “drained” and “pooped” out… pun intended haha, and physically exhausted by the time I arrived for my appt, and very ready to have it over and done with!
Interesting to me was my emotional reaction when I was admitted and realized it was going to be a hospital-like, in-patient experience. That caught me off guard as it brought back a lot of feelings, memories and emotions from my July 2010 stem cell transplant hospitalization…

So after all the anticipation, all the prep, all the worrying that they might find “something” I was told I did a fantastic job at cleansing and they DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING! As my nurse assured me… my Dr’s quote was :  “NOTHING MEANS NOTHING” :)

Finally, I will add that as I awoke from the “put your lights out” meds, I had a wonderful feeling of peace, calm and relaxation… hhmmmm what were those drugs anyway… I think I want some again!!!!!

5 + 5 = 10

Hello May 5
5 / 5 / 11

Happy 10 months Post Stem Cell Transplant to me on this 5 / 5

So you think I should play the next lottery with a bunch of 5’sOr perhaps visit Vegas and play some 5’s

Not to mention… .5 Revlimid Chemo is
Saving My Life… …

Celebrating Thousands of SCTs & BMTs

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CITY OF HOPE WEBSITE:

Friday, April 29, 2011
“Special Event 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“35th Annual Celebration of Life Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Reunion (Invitation Only)
Thousands of bone marrow/stem cell transplant p…

Wednesday the 13th feels like FRIDAY the 13th

Well my optomistic bubble has burst today…
My eternal theme of “the glass is always half full vs half empty” is feeling empty today…

I’ve been working so hard eating right, hydrating all the time, and taking care of my cancerous bod…

23 years before Myeloma ~ Celebrating my Daughter!

On this day, April 8th, 23 years ago, my beautiful, amazing, smart, strong-willed, fun daughter Alissa was born!

As I mentioned in my previous birthday blog about son Scott, Jim and I were not planning to have kids… we were…

9 months post SCT … with current MM Stats

Nine months ago today, I received my own Stem Cells back to re-energize, re-furbish, re-grow, re-generate and re-new my cancerous, chemo stripped system! Yippee, that was 9 months ago today!!!

And the numbers from my last blood tests reveal that the L…