Happy To Share Wonderful News!

I just got the phone call I have been praying for!  I just received confirmation that my M-Spike is too small to detect.  In other words, I have had a Complete Response from treatment!  The M-Spike or M-Protein measures the Monoclonal Proteins found in the blood of those with Multiple Myeloma and is used to measure the disease.  Prior to my Stem Cell Transplant in November my M-Spike was .39.  After my transplant my M-Spike still measured at .30.  The last 2 rounds of chemo must have attacked those stubborn cancer cells and brought my M-Spike down to Zero!!  Wahoo!  Complete Response Baby!!

What’s next?  Well in the Myeloma world the word “Remission” is rarely used.  Currently the disease is not curable.  However patients who have very good to complete response from treatment who then go on to maintenance have a longer time between relapses and an overall longer survival rate.  So I have been officially put on maintenance.  I will begin taking 15 mg. of Revlimid daily and 20 mg. of Dexamethasone weekly for 3 weeks on and 1 week off for 12 months.  I will need to go in for monthly infusions of Zometa, a bone strengthening medicine used to treat high levels of calcium caused by cancer.  In addition, I will go in for monthly blood tests.  My next appointment at Dana Farber is scheduled on June 2, at which time, Dr. Munshi will perform a bone marrow biopsy.  

So this means I actually get to have a life again.  I will gain 12 hours a week since I wont be going in for chemo treatments.  Yeah!!!  And hopefully my energy will continue to surge.  I have been enjoying be able to run.  I have been averaging about 4 miles a day.  Yesterday I went out for a great 6 mile run with Suzi and Flower.  It felt great!  So everyday I feel good I am going to get out there and run.  It is amazing what it does for my state of mind.  I feel so strong, happy and healthy running. I think back to the immense pain I was in last summer and the complete fatigue I felt following the transplant.  It is incredible that I am now able to run, feel great and be pain free.  

The passing of Geraldine Ferraro from Multiple Myeloma has really hit close to home.  It is a reminder of how serious this disease is and the fact that currently there is no cure.  Many patients enjoy years between relapses but ultimately in most cases the cancer wins.  Geraldine did a lot to spread awareness to this disease and was very courageous in her candid interviews while undergoing treatment.  She lived almost 13 years after being diagnosed.  The day before she died, it has been reported that she thanked her oncologist for giving her those last 13 years. Incredible!  It is unfortunate that the Today Show did a segment on her this week and never even mentioned the words Multiple Myeloma. I am shocked and disappointed by this.  Multiple Myeloma is the second most common cancer of the blood.  About 60,000 people have this disease and there are an estimated 20,000 new cases each year in the United States and 10,000 patients will die.  Although the average peak age is 65 for disease onset, the disease is becoming more an more prevalent in people under 40.  When I was diagnosed I had never even heard of this disease.  Most people thought I meant Melanoma when I speak of it.   Yet so many families are being affected by this disease everyday.   

I was watching a segment on Geraldine Ferraro this week and Mike and Mitch (my 10 1/2 year old son) was in the room with me.  I explained to Mitch who she was and the fact that she also was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and that she had passed away.  Mitch looked right and Mike and I and said, “You mean to tell me that people can die of Multiple Myeloma?”  Mike and I couldn’t believe what we had just heard.  We both had to excuse ourselves from the room and went upstairs and held each other and cried.   Was it really possible that Mitch did not understand the severity of this disease?  Mike and I have always been honest and upfront with our four children about my diagnosis. We have told them that there is no cure.  However we have always been positive and have reassured them that there are many advancements in treatment that have prolonged the lives of those affected and that many people are living with cancer for many years.  Yet, right at that moment Mitch finally understand the seriousness of the disease.  Our hearts broke for him. We felt like at that moment he was robbed from his childhood.  Why should a 10 year old child even have to deal with this?   Shouldn’t he just be able to go to school and play hours of baseball without knowing that his mom has an incurable cancer and that she may someday die of this disease?  Once again we were reminded of how much Cancer Sucks!

I called Mitch upstairs and did my best to explain to him that although many people have died of this disease, many more are living with it.  I told him that today mom is feeling strong, running 5 miles and enjoying every moment .  I told him that Ms. Ferraro’s death should motivate us even more to do all that we can to learn about this disease and to educate others.  I told him that this has motivated me to run as many miles as I can to help raise money so that some day hopefully in my lifetime there will be a cure. 

Well today I am going to celebrate the absence of my M-Spike!!  I am going to hit the pavement for a nice run and think about the challenges of this past year and rejoice in the fact that I am one of the very lucky ones who have responded so well to treatment.  Today is a great day and I am going to allow myself to enjoy every moment without worrying about what tomorrow may bring.    Although based on the weather report looks like Mother Nature is going to give us another 6-10 inches of snow.  Ugh!!

Thank you all for your continuing love, support and prayers.  It’s working!!  

Love and Hugs,