Induction II Completed

I am all done with Induction II. Overall it went very well, with minimal side-effects. I should say I felt much better than during the first induction. My MM numbers look good as well, with further reduction– however, I have not achieved complete response yet. A bit disappointing – but oh well. Hope to get there after the first transplant. Speaking of that – if all goes well, I begin the first transplant on March 9th. Next week is restaging with MRI, bone marrow test and a couple of others in prep for the transplant. We meet with Dr. B on the 8th and assuming all is good – we move into transplant the following day, the 9th. Really anxious to get through the first transplant and if all goes well, I get to go home for ~ 3 weeks. Trying to time this so that I am home for the first week of April – when the boys have their spring break. We will see if I can make that happen.

We have a break out of a virus in the MM outpatient center, 7C. Not good as there a bunch of people with absolutely no immune system. So if they get a virus, they are not able to fight it off. Several folks landed in the hospital with pneumonia. We are all wearing masks, desperately trying to avoid catching it.

That is it for now. Have a great week you all!


I ran across this article by a woman who shares my disease, and a fight with her insurance company over coverage. Before I would have felt some sympathy, but gone on. Now, now I really understand her plight, the plight that too many of us share. We nee…

February 2010

Hello everyone, February has been a pretty good month for us.

Mark had his port checked out and hooray no surgery it was fine. It just needed some cleaning out. Then Mark had all his testing done for our appointment with Dr “Z”. Everything has checked out great! He is still in remission. Mark is doing so well that some of the lesions are mending themselves. This is rear but has been seen in a few patients. In another three months Mark may be off his maintenance (the velcide and Dex he dose every Wed.) if he continues to do so well.

We did get to look at T-5 vertebra and I don’t have much to say there but, “If it don’t hurt, don’t mess with it” the tumor did shrink with the radiation. But the way T-5 exploded really doesn’t give Mark much hope of fixing it. It could paralyze him if the littlest mistake happened. There is always room for a second opinion down the road.

Mark also caught his first cold, bronchitis. Mark’s immune system is like a new baby. He has one now, but it is not strong yet. So this had him down for a few days, he is feeling much better and now knows to stay far away from sick people.

Carlos had his first birthday. Both he and Mark were sick so they could not celebrate together.

Not everyone get’s to drive Grandpa’s car!

I can’t resist bragging.. I did my first 5K! By no means am I a runner. Being an ex smoker (a little over one year) I did my first walk/jog 5k in 45 min in the cold wind. I loved it and who knows what will be next. At first it was to say “BEEN THERE, DONE THAT.. GOT THE T-SHIRT!” (Thanks Tina) But they didn’t give out the T-shirt. All money went to the Red Cross for Haiti. So I loved it and will do it again (March 27th?)
Brrrrrritt and Lori, Nope not cold!
Me and my friend Lori, after

5 Tips for Staying Sane With Cancer

By Marie Suszynski
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Cancer Survival and Your Mental Health

  • Seek out listening ears. Acknowledging your feelings and expressing them can go a long way when you’re depressed, afraid, or anxious about your health. Birdsall recommends seeking out understanding friends, family members, clergy members, or health care providers such as counselors or therapists who will allow you to openly talk about your feelings.

    “We live in a society that encourages us to stuff our emotions and not talk about things that are bothering us,” Birdsall says. “The more we hold it in, the more we internalize that anxiety.”

    Talking to someone who’s supportive and will listen and acknowledge your emotions is a huge part of staying emotionally healthy, he says.

  • Get creative. Writing, painting, or creating music are all great stress relievers and outlets for the stress and anxiety you may be feeling as a cancer survivor. Birdsall encourages his patients to do whatever helps them relax and relieve anxiety on a regular basis.
  • Lace up your sneakers. Exercise is a great stress reliever, Birdsall says. Experts say that people who exercise are less likely to have anxiety and depression. Do it almost every day of the week to get optimal benefits.
  • Keep moving forward. A key aspect of processing your emotions is to then use that energy to move forward, whether you’re still in treatment or you’re in remission. Use the energy to learn about the type of cancer you have and your treatment options, to seek out cancer support groups, or to help raise money that will benefit people who have the type of cancer you had.
  • Keep it up over the long-term. Don’t just follow these steps while you’re in cancer treatment or in remission. Tackle the stress of being a cancer survivor on a regular basis, even if it’s been years since your cancer went into remission, Birdsall says.

Stress is cumulative, he says. A little bit is fine but building it up can do more damage to your mental health.

Taking steps to relieve stress and anxiety can help clear your mind and maintain good emotional health when you’re being treated for cancer — and after you’ve beat it.

From the care pages:

it’s been a while..

It’s been a while since I last blogged. School has been super busy. I’ve been having midterms since the second week of school. I will be graduating in less than 4 months! I am a bit conflicted, such that I am excited but scared at the same time. There …

I Have a Donor!

The Gift of Life
Somewhere in the world there is a donor who is a very good marrow match for me! Wouldn’t you just know that I would have an exceedingly rare type requiring weeks of scouring the data to find any reasonable donors, let alone a good one….

Do it sooner rather than later

Six months after my first stem cell transplant for myeloma (2001) Myra and I discussed my progress and medical future with my haematologist. All was going well, my bloods, IgG etc were normal.
We said we had intended to travel as we got older. He said “do it sooner rather than later.” Rather ominous but that’s myeloma.
He said because of my compromised immune system try to avoid long haul flights and be selective where we travel. Avoid counties with limited hygiene, over crowding and be careful of what I ate.
I was 54, still had to work for an income. Our decision was easy.
We would plan a holiday (vacation) of 2 to 3 weeks once a year. Exploring New Zealand where we live and Australia a three hour flight across the Tasman Sea.
Our themes were keep it simple, let’s have fun, let’s create some memories, lets spend quality time together while I am well.
As we have a son and daughter-in-law in Sydney we factored a few visits there.
Our Australian holidays have been:
Cairns 2003
Sunshine Coast June 2004
Gold Coast 2005
Sydney May 2006
Sydney Christmas 2006
Gold Coast to Sydney Sunshine Coast (2007)
Sydney (NRL grand Final) September 2007
Melbourne May 2009
Sunshine Coast November 2009
Australia has a warmer climate than New Zealand. We travel in May (southern hemisphere autumn/fall) when the day time temperature is about 24C (75F).
Lots of good memories.