Week 183 of chemo complete: Cancer levels spiked again, remain high

My monthly blood test results show that my cancer levels (m protein) jumped to between 37 and 38 from between 31 and 32 in July. In June they jumped to 25, up from 20 in May. This is unexpected.

The blood test included 3 weeks of dexamethasone (dex) at 40mg, a steroid that should enhance the effectiveness of my Ninlaro + Pomalyst chemo. Ideally, my cancer levels should be going down. Perhaps, it is too soon for a response. Pomalyst + dex effectively kept my cancer levels low from Jan 2015 – July 2017. In July 2017, I stopped dex due to eye damage and added Ninlaro chemo last January.

I have an Optometrist to monitor my eye pressure through regular eye exams. Dex can increase my eye pressure and cause eye damage from long term use. My recent eye exams show that my eye pressure remains normal. The lumigan eye drops prescribed by my Glaucoma Specialist are working great.

I’m not worried. I have an amazing Myeloma Specialist, who will adjust my treatment as needed to get my cancer levels lower and stable. I’m confident my results will be better in September.

Staying positive!

M protein (g/L) (0 = no cancer detected)
Aug = between 37 and 38
July = between 31 and 32
June = 25
May = 20
Apr = 20
Mar = 13
Feb = value missing (believe similar to January)
Jan 2018 = 13 (began Ninlaro chemo – Jan 8th)
Dec = between 10 and 11
Nov = 8
Late Oct = 9
Early Oct = between 5 and 6
Sept = under 7.7
Aug 2017 = value missing
Feb 2015 (began Pomalyst chemo + dexamethasone) = 36.1

igG protein (6.7 – 15.2 normal levels)
Aug = 42.1
July = 40.4
June = 30.5
May = 25.8
Apr = 22.7
Mar = 22.0
Feb = 23.1
Jan = 20.6

Photo: At the BC Cancer Agency, adjacent to the patient’s lounge inside, there is a outdoor area where patients and staff will go to relax and sit. Friday was one of the rare times this week, when the sun was shining and I could see blue sky. We have tons of forest fires in BC right now and overcast/smoky skies are unfortunately common.

Week 183 of chemo complete: Cancer levels spiked again, remain high

On Sunday, August 12th, I completed Cycle 46 Week 3. I have multiple myeloma and anemia, a rare cancer of the immune system. Multiple myeloma 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 2017, my Dexamethasone treatment ended, due to right eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th, 2018 I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels. On July 23rd, dexamethasone (40mg) was added to my Ninlaro and Pomalyst chemo treatment, due to excessively high cancer levels.

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

End of the day on Granville IslandMay 2014: Granville Island – Vancouver

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