Week 143 of chemo complete: Big spike in cancer levels

My late Oct test results are 9 for my cancer levels. This is a big spike from early Oct, which was between 5 to 6. This means two things. First, dexamethasone (a steroid) was very effective in keeping my cancer levels low and stable when combined with Pomalyst chemo. Since I stopped dexamethasone in mid-July due to eye damage, my cancer levels have increased. Second, Pomalyst chemo alone appears ineffective in keeping my cancer levels low and stable.

M protein (g/L) ~ 0 is best
Late Oct = 9
Early Oct = between 5 to 6
Sept = less than 7.7
Aug = value missing
July = 3.0
June =3.2
May = value missing
Apr = 3.0
Mar = 3.0
Feb = 3.5
Jan 2017 = 3.3
Feb 2015 (pre chemo/dex) = 36.1

My m protein value is my cancer levels marker. Think of it as the amount of myeloma/cancer in my plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells used to fight infection. That’s why multiple myeloma is a cancer of the immune system and also called a blood cancer. If my m protein is 0, then no cancer is detected in my bloodstream.

In Feb 2015 when I began treatment – Pomalyst chemo + dexamethasone, the value was 36.1. So my cancer levels dropped initially and then stabilized between 2 and 3 since that time. The actual m protein value isn’t so important really, what is key is stability, because that means the chemo is consistently working.

This news isn’t good as health issues are common with my disease, as well as more prevalent with higher cancer levels. In January, I will see my Myeloma Specialist to discuss further treatment options.

My Hematology profile (how my body responds overall to being on treatment) looks good.

Hematology Profile
Date WBC Hemoglobin Platelet Count Neutrophils
Reference Range 4.0 – 11.0 135 – 170 150 – 400 2.0 – 8.0
Late Oct 2017 4.3 125 277 2.3
Early Oct 2017 4.0 122 253 2.0
Sept 2017 4.4 126 285 2.6
Aug 2017 4.7 126 284 2.6
Jul 2017 4.6 136 323 3.6
Jun 2017 5.2 131 312 4.3
May 2017 5.1 132 303 4.1
Apr 2017 6.6 127 294 3.7
Mar 2017 5.1 130 303 4.2
Feb 2017 4.8 132 324 3.6
Jan 2017 4.8 136 304 3.7
Dec 2016 6.7 128 303 3.4

Staying positive!

Week 143 of chemo complete: Big spike in cancer levels

Self-portrait:
This was my second attempt at this location in Queen Elizabeth Park. On Tuesday, I spent time here, creating the setting and taking pictures. However, when I got home, I was disappointed with the final results. I realized that I had rushed the shots, because it was unseasonably cold that day, making it difficult to think, as chemo really affects my body temperature.

I decided that if the expected rain showers didn’t occur all week, I would go back for a redo. When I arrived Friday morning, my heart skipped a beat, because the leaves were being cleaned up close by, so I didn’t know if the leaves were still there. Thankfully they were, so I focused on my photography, with a smile on my face.

I enjoyed taking breaks to watch tourists create their own memories, around the tree. Queen Elizabeth Park never disappoints – a special place for me.

To recap: On Sunday, November 5th, I completed Cycle 36 Week 3. I have Multiple Myeloma and anemia, a rare cancer of the immune system. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells that affects the plasma cells, a type of immune cell that produces antibodies to fight infection. These plasma cells are found in the bone marrow. As a blood cancer, it is incurable, but treatable. Since February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use.

Weekly chemo-inspired self-portraits can be viewed in my flickr album.

Week 143 of chemo complete: Big spike in cancer levels

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