New year, not so new meds, and the old plan is ok with me!

Happy New Year Blog Followers!
Hoping your 2014 is off to a wonderful start for you and yours, and great things come your way this year!

Funny how old aspects and milestones of my cancer life randomly hit me. As I just wrote 2014, it suddenly sunk in that I have had the formal diagnosis of cancer for 4 years now! Who knows how long it was brewing within me prior to diagnosis…, making the 4 years into 5, 6, 7, double? triple? years … I’ll never know the what, when, why, how and actual trigger of Myeloma… but that’s ok. I have accepted that I have an incurable, terminal cancer, or in softer words, a “chronic illness”. Some are bothered when I refer to my situation as terminal, and they quickly say, “well you know Julie… everyone is terminal”… ok… whatever makes them feel better… I live with my reality. 

Seriously though, I am so grateful I am still here. Every morning I wake up, I really do take a second breath of realization, that I AM HERE… that I woke up to embrace another day!
I feel fortunate for the “quality of life” I do still have considering the circumstances and what I could be feeling and enduring.
When people ask how I am, I generally reply “ok”. Not bad for someone in my situation. I’m here (wherever that here/there might be), I am vertical, I am functional, I am able to engage in life/work in small doses, and I am tolerating my new chemo regimen, and most importantly, I am not hugging a toilet !!! Truly, I feel so grateful for the little things in my world, I am still able to embrace daily. 

And I will always feel so blessed for the medical insurance I’ve had, that continues to provide me with what I know to be, excellent medical care and a wonderful team of caring Doctors and Nurses. Lucky me!!!

And so on to my current 2014 treatment plan and stats:
Check out my blog entry from November 18, 2013 for a pictorial of my medications.

I am liking only doing 20mg of Dexamethasone steroids only ONE day a week. So tolerable compared to my 2010 initial regimen of 40mg 4 days on, 4 day off!!
The current low dose 5mg Revlimid is also quite tolerable, although fatiguing and tiring, and bit of neuropathy is back.
Thankfully, both meds have put a detectable U-turn in Myeloma’s forward march!
My immune system remains challenged… so please stay away
from me if you are a sickie, or around anyone that’s is or has been
The combination of all the meds do make me feel like someone has punched me in the stomach some days, but again, I feel so fortunate that I tolerate the meds as I do. As a matter of fact, I need to go take them now… be right back…

My most recent status in number:
IgA = 1890 for December
January’s blood tests show IgA = 1240
Still high, but I’ll take the downward slide!
(Normal range is 70-400)
Goooooooo Revlimid and Dex! Stomp and chomp those Myeloma cells!!

M-Protein was 1.40 in December, and January’s blood tests show .84
This measurement detects the existence of Myeloma in my blood plasma
(Remission = 0)
But I’ll take this, thank you chemo and steroids!

So in summary, we are not being super aggressive with the meds, as I value my quality of life and don’t want to feel horrible from high dose meds. But the low dose I am on, is WORKING!!!

I always visualize the chemo and steroids in my system gobbling up the cancer cells like “Pac-man” ! And I just stumbled on this timely and so relevant element of the game:
I quote from Wikipedia: “Pac-Man was designed to have no ending – as long as the player
keeps at least one life, he or she should be able to play the game
Well that sure sums it all up for me… keep one life… play indefinitely, no ending!!! wow!! never knew!!! Take that Myeloma!!!

My Kaiser-City of Hope oncologist did discuss the pros and cons of a second (autologous) stem cell transplant, but we’re going with the chemo meds first. Just something he wants me to think about, as they weigh the pros and cons of putting me through that again, noting that the outcome may not be worth the risk… Besides, there are several new next generation Myeloma targeted chemos that I haven’t had the pleasure of ingesting or injecting yet… so I am comfortable knowing I have several Myeloma devouring options in my arsenal!

Happy New Year to all of you! I am so grateful for your friendship and support!