Living with multiple myeloma: My cancer is back

Waiting for chemo treatmentMay 2013: Waiting for chemo treatment

This week I had my Hematologist appointment and based on elevated levels of my Beta-2 microglobulin, my cancer is back. For most multiple myeloma patients, their myeloma protein resides in the gamma globulin, for me it is the Beta 2 globulin. My igG number is used to track my cancer levels, which will parallel my Beta 2 number. Right now, my igG level is 14.8, my Beta 2 level is 9.5. Therefore I was in complete remission (no myeloma visible in my blood stream) from November 2013 until July 2014.

I had a good discussion with my Hematologist. Basically if my igG levels spike or if I experience bone pain (a common symptom of multiple myeloma), then we will have to discuss chemo treatment options. Otherwise, we will watch my levels and hopefully they will only go up gradually. I will continue to have blood tests every five months and see my Hematologist every 3 months.

Serum Proteins (Electrophoresis & Immunoglobulins) (g/L)
Date Albumin Beta 2 Globulin Gamma Globulin igG igA igM
Reference Range 34.0-53.0 1.8 – 4.8 5.1 – 15.0 6.7 – 15.2 .70 – 4.00 .40 – 2.30
Oct 46.2 9.5 6.4 14.8 .39 .27
Sept 45.1 6.2 7.1 12.8 .36 .21
July 45.9 4.9 6.9 10.8 .34 .25
June 45.3 4.0 6.6 9.9 .33 .30
May 46.5 3.5 7.3 9.2 .33 .26
Apr 47.9 2.8 7.0 9.2 .28 .23
Mar 48.3 2.8 7.0 8.9 .31 .33
Feb 51.4 2.8 6.4 7.7 .24 .38
Jan 47.6 3.0 6.2 7.5 .17 .33
Nov 45.6 3.5 5.1 7.1 .14 .10

Test Comment: There is a monoclonal band in the beta 2 region. This band was previously identified as IgG lambda.

Hematology Profile
Date WBC Hemoglobin Platelet Count Neutrophils
Reference Range 4.0 – 11.0 135 – 170 150 – 400 2.0 – 8.0
Oct 4.1 139 305 2.1
Sept 3.7 135 241 1.8
July 2.9 133 247 1.4
June 3.4 135 265 1.8
May 3.2 138 294 1.5
Apr 2.3 137 243 0.9
Mar 2.0 135 211 0.8
Feb 2.0 132 208 0.9
Jan 1.9 124 217 0.7
Nov 2.2 118 220 1.1

I had a question about whether multiple myeloma was a chronic disease and about whether the spoonie theory applies. I was told that it is not, which makes sense to me. I don’t have a limited amount of energy each day and my disease is terminal.

I’m now in ‘preparing for chemo’ mode. With my last two chemo treatments, I had life altering events , so I may have serious side effects again and I need to be prepared (e.g. financially, physically, mentally, emotionally). During Revlimid, I had a ischemic stroke caused by TTP, a rare blood disorder and spent 12 days in hospital. In 2013, during Velade, my T7 vertebrae collapsed causing intense pain over four weeks.

I expect chemo in the next two years. It is important that I remain stress-free as possible in my life to help keep my levels from spiking.
I view my upcoming chemo as an opportunity to continue to share knowledge about multiple myeloma to others. Whenever my treatment happens, I will document it like in 2013 using photography and social media. I also hope to get going on Cancer Sabbatical, once I can get a laptop.

If anyone has any questions, just ask. Staying positive!

To recap: I have Multiple Myeloma, a rare blood cancer. It is incurable, but treatable. From February to November 2013, I received Velcade chemo through weekly in-hospital injections as an outpatient. It was a challenging year.

I also love photography and use it for personal health and healing. You can view my photos on Pinterest.

Sunset in a UBC ForestSunset in a UBC forest

The post Living with multiple myeloma: My cancer is back appeared first on Fade to Play.