Miracle Drug? Dare we hope?

One of my favourite tech sites, Gizmodo posted about a “miracle drug” that targets any cancerous tumour cells for all types of cancer. It works by blocking a protein called CD47 which tells the immune system not to kill healthy blood cells. Cancer cells also use this protein to trick the immune system and stop it from attacking them. Ah, you sneaky cancer cells. For more info, check the story here. The sites also posts several cancer updates, which you can check out here. Great for some cutting edge news on cancer treatments.

On a personal note, April 16th, 2012 marks the 3rd anniversary of my official multiple myeloma diagnosis. It continues to be stable at stage I, and I have yet to need treatment. The bimonthly blood tests and yearly skeletal surveys continue. My doctor decided to skip the bone marrow biopsy this year. I’m not complaining.

My life has take a sharp turn in recent months, with my dear wife leaving our marriage. I miss her every day, but I cannot say this was unexpected. I know I was the best husband I knew how to be, but there are times when shit happens. That pretty much sums things up. Here’s to moving forward.

It’s been a while

Hi… I’m still kicking. Still stage I, dormant, and I continue with bimonthly blood tests and yearly skeletal surveys and biopsies. April will mark 3 years of living with cancer, and I feel fine.

My life has taken a turn recently with my wife leaving our marriage (January 1st would have been our 7th wedding anniversary). I am saddened, wishing for reconciliation, but determined to move forward. There are too many things – and new people – to look forward to. I will be spending more time updating my blog this coming year, and I’d to thank those who have written with words of support, questions or just to say hello.

Happy New Year to you all, and as Talk Talk would sing… Life’s what you make it. Cheers.

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Excellent Blog Resource – Myeloma Beacon

A good friend of mine shared this link. The Myeloma Beacon blog is a source for breaking, independent news about multiple myeloma, including latest treatments, advice for families, a discussion forum and more. A must for anyone interested in the disease. Thanks M!


I am still waiting for news of my latest bone marrow biopsy. Will post when I hear more.

Biopsy Day

I just came home from another bone marrow biopsy, my second so far. Luckily (if that can be said in such a situation), mine was taken through the sternum and not the pelvis. It was more uncomfortable than painful, but the affected site is pretty sore. My doctor mentioned the magic percentage used to determine if you have MM has lowered from 15% to 10%. Two years ago, I was at 15%. In two weeks I’ll know more, but my doctor thinks I may just need continued monitoring with bimonthly blood tests. Oh, by the way, that is not me in the photo, and I did not even flinch this time. The aspiration part of the procedure, while unpleasant, was quite tolerable.

It’s amazing how one’s perspective can change after being diagnosed with MM. I know I can stress easily, but this time around, wandering thoughts on the days leading to the biopsy (and all of the questions about future steps that come with it) did not bother me very much. I tend to enjoy each day and have not been thinking too far ahead, apart from a summer trip to NYC with my wife. Hopefully I can postpone or tolerate treatment enough to still go, since we’ve already booked our flights. Proof that I have not lost my optimism. I’ve even renewed my subscription to MacLife for another 2 years.

To close this post, my thoughts are with the thousands of people who are suffering in Japan. My cancer is nothing compared to what they are going through.

Cheers.

Uh oh

Seems I may have been premature in taking a break from the blog. My beta-2 microglobulin levels are up slightly, in the “you might need to start treatment” range. Oncology appointment next week after a rushed blood tests and a (scheduled) skeletal survey. Will post more in when get new info. At the very least, this will probably mean another bone marrow biopsy and possible chemo/stem cell consult. In the meantime, feel free to make loud noises and wake me up form this bad dream. Thanks.

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Been a long time

Well hello! I know I haven’t posted in about 6 months. Truth is, my cancer’s been stable since April 2009, and I got a little tired of updating with another “hey, last test results were fine” posts. I’ve also been a bit too busy living, with work, my marriage and more. Thought I would post this message to let you all know I’m ok, in good spirits and health, and ready to celebrate Christmas 2010.

Since my last post, my wife and I went to Vegas and had a ball. Saw shows, sights, gambled a bit (lost about $40 between us), ate great food and enjoyed that excess that is Vegas. I recommend Cirque du Soleil’s Ka, the Crazy Horse burlesque show and the fountains and the Bellagio, among many other things. Due to the heat and lack of sleep, we skipped the drive in the desert, but that’s for next time. Oh, did I mention the Crazy Horse show?

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I leave you with this gem of a mash-up – a Star Wars Christmas. Enjoy.

Vegas, baby!

Haven’t posted in a while – things have been hectic with work, but my health as been stable. Just about to leave for a great vacation to Quebec City, Toronto and Las Vegas. Vegas has been on my bucket list for a while now. I am very interested in experiencing the city’s energy and “over the top” everything. My wife has been busy planning the trip (it’s her thing) and we have a fun schedule with time for some nothing. We had been hoping to see U2 in Toronto, but the tour was postponed due to Bono’s injury. Perhaps the band will give a free concert next year. You know, pro Bono. *cough* On the agenda? Cirque du Soleil’s Ka, Penn & Teller, Crazy Horse Paris, a drive to Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon and more. I will post a few pics later!

Human Error… Whew!

Had my (rushed) oncology appointment this morning. Seems the call I received from the Quebec hospital about the SCT (stem cell treatment) was due to a clerical error. Several myeloma patients were called and unnecessarily worried, but this is a minor human error.

This did give me an opportunity to discuss my latest results, and my myloma remains indolent and very stable. There were a few fluctuations with some numbers so additional tests may be ordered as a precaution, but overall, this is a huge relief.

A turn?

Before I get into this post, let me say that due to stable blood tests, my oncologist (really an internal medicine specialist) said my blood tests would be at 2 month intervals, and it would be 6 months before he would meet with me again. So, I had blood tests done in February and April, with my next oncology appointment in July. Last Friday I met with my family doctor and asked about my recent blood tests. Everything was fine, but my last beta-2 microglobulin levels were at 168 mol/L and that 175 was the true indicator the disease was progressing and that treatment would be considered. Before that, they were 185 mol/L, so I felt pretty comfortable that everything was going fine. Then the phone rang.

About a year ago, my oncologist said he would refer me to a Quebec hospital for a high-dose chemo and stem cell treatment should my levels increase. Today someone from the hospital called about getting me on a waiting list. When I asked for what exactly (procedure or consultation), and that my local hospital had not mentioned anything about my disease progressing, the person on the phone said they would have to speak with the Quebec doctor to confirm the reason. I asked for her to call back to confirm the reason, but she said she would only call if necessary. As if living with cancer wasn’t enough of a frickin’ cliffhanger.

I called my local hospital’s oncology unit, and of course, got the answering machine stating their office was closed at 4:00, even though it was 3:55. So, tomorrow I call to get some more info to get to the bottom of this. Here’s what sucks however… my wife has won a gift certificate for a trip, and we chose Vegas – booked for July. Should this call be for the chemo & stem cell party, our trip insurance won’t cover the $3k amount of the gift certificate thanks to a pre-existing condition.

Although I am not eager for the autologous stem cell treatment, I am not afraid of it… but that said, I certainly hope it doesn’t interfere with our travel plans, and my wife’s reward (gift certificate was part of an award). I will call my local hospital again tomorrow to see what’s going on. I feel good. I don’t feel like I have cancer. My only symptoms have been some pain in my spine from time to time, but that could be due to other factors. However, the Quebec hospital has my info and did call. Not to sound dramatic, but this begs the question… how close am I to starting treatment? We’ll see.

UPDATE:
After calling my local hospital and asking for more info, they called back and scheduled me for an appointment tomorrow morning. Curious to see what’s up.

A First Anniversary

April 16th marks my 1-year anniversary of being diagnosed with stage I multiple myeloma (15% plasma cells). On the drive to my oncologist, I told my wife I was making a choice to remain positive should I receive bad news. During the past year, I’ve been able to maintain a positive and fairly relaxed outlook in my health situation. Although I wake up every morning and remember I have cancer, I often forget about it as the day progresses. I am very thankful the disease has stayed at stage I, and I hope I get to make a similar post a year from now. Heck… 30 years from now, really!

The year has flown by, reminding me about the importance of enjoying each day, the simple things in life, my wife and family, and my addiction to electronic gadgets. I haven’t gotten the iPad yet, but man-o-man, I am tempted. I’ve also taken the plunge and renewed my MacWorld subscription for 2 more years. That’s optimism.

So what am I doing to celebrate this big event? A blood work appointment in the morning.