First Round of Carfilzomib and Cyclophosphamide Results

Even after all this time, I’m still not sure how to take the free light chains results.  I’m not a science-y person.  Dr. Rodriguez says that there’s been an improvement. This is the result from last week’s blood draw. Component Your Value Standard Range Free Kappa 3.19 mg/L 3.30 – 19.40 mg/L Free Lambda 163.95 …

My physical therapy…and cardiac toxicity caused by carfilzomib

First, my big news: I began physiotherapy yesterday, and, drum roll!!!, I won’t have to wear my shoulder brace anymore, or rather, “you don’t have to wear it unless you feel as though you need it,” my physiotherapist told me. She reassured me that there’s no way I could make my shoulder worse unless she jumped up and down on it. And, since that’s not likely to happen, I agreed that the brace should come off. It had become sort of like a Linus blanket (Peanuts reference) for me…I felt safe with it!

My physiotherapist pointed out that keeping my arm in a brace at home would have a negative impact on therapy. There’s no point, she said, in working and stretching muscles that I haven’t used in the past month, only to use the brace to immobilize them again. That made sense. So, last night, for the first time since I found out I had a fractured shoulder, I slept without a brace. And today I’m typing with two hands! Yaaaay!

I can take a shower and tie my shoes again…by myself, I mean. I’m sure that must sound silly…except to those who gone through a similar experience. I mean, what’s the big deal about tying one’s shoelaces? Well, for someone who has a strong independent spirit (yours truly!), it’s a BIG deal.

I’ve rediscovered how the small things in life can give me pure moments of joy. Even bending over to change the cats’ water bowls without experiencing a jolt of pain in my shoulder is such a thrill right now!

Another potentially positive bit of news: my full recovery may not take as long as one might think, given the nature of this injury. My physiotherapist told me that my arm’s range of motion and strength is much better than she expected (curcumin? Hah, who knows?). She thinks I’ll progress quickly. So do I.

She also told me that I would almost certainly have pain in my shoulder area the day after our sessions and told me I could take a painkiller if needed. Well, I don’t have any pain at all today. Indeed, early this morning you would have seen me pottering around the garden, cutting off dead flowers and getting rid of a few weeds. Sure, I get an occasional twinge if I use my left arm in a way I shouldn’t (yet), and of course I can’t raise my arm beyond a certain point, but that simply means that I’m looking forward to my second therapy session tomorrow! 🙂 

Now for the second part of my post. I recently came across a rather unsettling Science Daily article about cardiac toxicity caused by carfilzomib. If you’re currently taking carfilzomib, or know someone who is, please have a look. It’s easy to read, so I’ll just give you the link: http://bit.ly/2XZkP1h

That’s it for today. Hope everyone is fine and dandy! Take care!!!

Cycle 8: May blood test results – Cancer levels increased again

I’m late updating my May blood test results. My cancer levels increased again from 3 in April to between 3 and 4 this month. However, all good, I’m happy chemo is over for now. I saw my Myeloma Specialist and when the time is right I’ll have IV chemo treatment again. I’m focused on enjoying a break from treatment, whether long or short.

Ready for summertime!

M protein (g/L) (if 0, then no cancer detected)
May = between 3 and 4
Apr = 3
Mar = between 1 and 2
Feb = 3
Jan = between 5 and 6
Dec = between 5 and 6
Nov = 11
Late Oct = 27 (started chemo)
Early Oct = 48

Self-portrait – Taking time to be.

As I was practicing taking different poses with various camera settings, someone called out to me, that I’d seen about 30 min earlier. He asked why I was at that particular spot and whether there was something special about it.

You see, I was sitting at Queen Elizabeth Park on a mount of grass surrounded by daisies taking self-portraits. Queen Elizabeth is one of the most beautiful parks in Canada with gorgeous gardens where people admire roses and other exquisite flowers.
I guess he figured there must have been something unique or important about the daisies or I wouldn’t have been taking pictures with them.

I told him, I simply got off the bus and this was where I decided to stop. It wasn’t the meaningful answer he may have been looking for, I could tell by the perplexed look on his face, but that’s exactly what happened.

But after I’ve had some time to think, I realize I could have added more.

I stopped there, because I saw life and felt happy as I watched the daisies blowing in the wind.

I stopped there, because I felt alive as I thought about how I made it through 7 months of chemo unscathed without permanent damage to my body.

I stopped there, because I felt at peace, stronger, more self-confident and ready for the next challenge.

I stopped there, because I felt inspired, to pause, and reflect on how fortunate I am to live a life where I have time to be.

Cycle 8: May blood test results - Cancer levels have increased

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.

From mid-October to late-May, I was treated with Kyprolis (carfilzomib), an IV chemo, Cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone.

End of the day on Granville IslandMay 2014: Granville Island

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Cycle 7: April blood test results – Cancer levels increased

Apologies for being late sharing my April blood test results. Unfortunately my cancer levels increased a bit. Not freaked out. This chemo has been a rockstar fighting my cancer since October, so no complaints here. I’ve done very well since then as I started pretty high (48) and now I’m in single digits (3).

I believe that May will be a good month. Can’t wait to see my next month’s results. In my final cycle of treatment (Cycle 8). So happy!

M protein (g/L) (if 0, then no cancer detected)
Apr = 3
Mar = between 1 and 2
Feb = 3
Jan = between 5 and 6
Dec = between 5 and 6
Nov = 11
Late Oct = 27 (started chemo)
Early Oct = 48

Self-portrait – Happiness is…eating a fresh mango tart
Today when I was shopping at the T&T Supermarket, I passed by the dessert section and a mango tart starting calling my name. I decided to treat myself as I love mangoes.

Cycle 7: April blood test results - Cancer levels have increased


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 mid-October, I’m being treated with Kyprolis (carfilzomib), an IV chemo, Cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone.

Steveston - Canada GeeseMay 2014 – Steveston – Canada Geese

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Cycle 6: March blood test results – Cancer levels dropped again

Good News!

My March blood test results show that my cancer levels dropped. They are now between 1 and down down from 3 in February.

This chemo continues to slay my cancer.

Fatigue makes thinking and doing challenging, but I’m going to find a low-key way to celebrate the good news.

M protein (g/L) (if 0, then no cancer detected)
Mar = between 1 and 2
Feb = 3
Jan = between 5 and 6
Dec = between 5 and 6
Nov = 11
Late Oct = 27 (began chemo)
Early Oct = 48

Self-portrait – Want to sleep, but too early for bed
I’m late updating everyone with my March blood test results. Chemo side effects like chemo fog and fatigue have been rough and I haven’t had the mental and physical energy for the complete process of taking a creative self-portrait (thinking, doing, editing, posting).

Last Thursday, when I took this photo, was a chemo day, then I did laundry, and made lunch. I felt drained, I just wanted to shut down and go to bed, but it was too early. So I just put my head down at my desk and had a little nap. Just one of the little quirks that is a part of my life.

Cycle 6: March blood test results - Cancer levels dropped again


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 mid-October, I’m being treated with Kyprolis (carfilzomib), an IV chemo, Cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone.

English Bay - VancouverJune 2014: English Bay

The post Cycle 6: March blood test results – Cancer levels dropped again appeared first on Fade to Play.

Cycle 4: Jan blood test results – Cancer levels remain unchanged

My Jan blood test results show that my cancer levels (m protein) remain unchanged.
For Dec my cancer levels (m protein) were between 5 and 6 and are between 5 and 6 for Jan. However, I believe my chemo is still effective in fighting my multiple myeloma as other protein markers that can also be used to measure my progress (Beta 2 Globulin and igG) have decreased.

So this news is not discouraging or upsetting. I remain optimistic that my Feb blood test results will be good.

Feeling alright and staying positive!

M protein (g/L) (0 = no cancer detected)
Jan = between 5 and 6
Dec = between 5 and 6
Nov = 11
Late Oct = 27
Early Oct = 48
Sept = 41

Beta 2 globulin protein (1.8 – 4.8 normal levels)
Jan = 7.4
Dec = 9.0
Nov = 13.1

igG protein (6.7 – 15.2 normal levels)
Jan = 7.9
Dec = 10.1
Nov = 12.8

Cycle 4: Jan blood test results - Cancer levels remained unchanged

Photo: Blood test results are only part of the picture
Each month I share the results of my recent blood test. It is important to know whether my chemo treatment is working, so that my Myeloma Specialist and I can make adjustments, if my cancer levels increase. However, this is just one measure of my overall health, living with multiple myeloma.

There are daily challenges and obstacles that can be compounded due to side effects from treatment or symptoms of my disease – one of them are stairs. These are the stairs in my home. Each time I’m able to walk up or down the stairs without incident is a win. I’m always worried about fatigue or bone issues causing difficulties on the way down or developing internal problems that restrict my ability to walk up.

Happy to report that today was incident-free, hoping tomorrow will be the same.

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

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 mid-October, I’m being treated with Kyprolis (carfilzomib), an IV chemo, Cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone.

End of the day on Granville IslandMay 2014: Granville Island Sunset

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Cycle 3: Dec blood test results – Cancer levels dropped again

I’m happy to announce that my Dec blood test results show a decrease in cancer levels (m protein). My cancer levels dropped from 11 (Nov results four weeks ago) to between 5 and 6 now. With my particular type of multiple myeloma, an exact m protein value isn’t always possible as it is manually calculated.

It is reassuring to know that this chemo treatment remains effective in fighting my rare cancer. My monthly blood tests continue to trend in the right direction. This is my week off from chemo (Cycle 3 Week 4) and I’ll start Cycle 4 later in the week.

M protein (g/L) (0 = no cancer detected)
Dec = between 5 and 6
Nov = 11
Late Oct = 27 (began IV chemo – Kyprolis)
Early Oct = 48
Sept = 41
Aug = between 37 and 38
July = between 31 and 32

Cycle 3: Dec blood test results - Cancer levels dropped again
Photo: Treating myself to a fruit tart. So yummy!

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

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 mid-October, I’m being treated with Kyprolis (carfilzomib), an IV chemo, Cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone.

End of the day on Granville IslandMay 2014: Granville Island Sunset

The post Cycle 3: Dec blood test results – Cancer levels dropped again appeared first on Fade to Play.

Cycle 2: Nov blood test results – Cancer levels dropped again

I’m happy to announce that my Nov blood test results show my cancer levels (m protein) have decreased from 27 four weeks ago (Late Oct results) to 11 now (Nov results). This is pretty cool and means that my chemo is still effective in fighting my cancer.

I’m really excited to see what this month’s results will be like. Over the last week I’m also pleased to share that I haven’t felt as fatigued nor has my stomach felt bloated (caused by dexamethasone), which is a common issue.

My Port is working great with my IV chemo and I haven’t had any adversity. After a week off from chemo (Cycle 2 Week 4), I’ll start Cycle 3 later in the week.

M protein (g/L) (0 = no cancer detected)
Nov = 11
Late Oct = 27 (1st test after started Kyprolis IV chemo)
Early Oct = 48
Sept = 41
Aug = between 37 and 38
July = between 31 and 32
June = 25

Trending in the right direction!

Cycle 2: Nov blood test results - Cancer levels dropped again

Photo: My body temperature is lower due to long term chemo treatment, so I’m always feeling cold. Thankfully there is a heater in my room to keep me warm.

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

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 mid-October, I’m being treated with Kyprolis (carfilzomib), an IV chemo, Cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone.

Vanier Park @ Kitsilano - Vancouver, BC

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Cycle 1: Late Oct blood test results – Cancer levels dropped alot!

I’m very happy to announce that my late Oct blood test results cancer levels dropped alot, even though I was only on IV chemo for 2 weeks (4 sessions) rather than 3 weeks for Cycle 1 (6 sessions).

My cancer levels (m protein) dropped from 48 (Early Oct results) 5 weeks ago to 27 (Late Oct results) last week. This means my treatment is working already, which feels amazing, as IV chemo is a pretty intense process. I’m excited to see my next test results later this month.

On Wednesday I begin Cycle 2 of chemo using my fancy new Port.

M protein (g/L) (0 = no cancer detected)
Late Oct = 27
Early Oct = 48
Sept = 41
Aug = between 37 and 38
July = between 31 and 32
June = 25

Staying positive!

Cycle 1: Late Oct blood test results - Cancer levels dropped alot!

Photo: I love nap time as I have chronic fatigue as a symptom of my multiple myeloma + anemia and chemo fatigue as a side effect from treatment.


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 October 10th, I’m being treated with Kyprolis (carfilzomib), an IV chemo, Cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone.

Take a book, return a bookMay 2014: Granville Island

The post Cycle 1: Late Oct blood test results – Cancer levels dropped alot! appeared first on Fade to Play.

Cycle 1: Port operation was a success!

Cycle 1: Port operation was a success!

I’m so happy that my Port operation was a success.

To recap: Monday morning I went to Radiology at VGH for my Port (IVAD – Implanted Venous Access Device) operation. It was needed as my veins are damaged due to long-term chemo treatment, making it extremely difficult to find and access a healthy vein for an IV. At Radiology I met an IV Specialist that used an ultrasound machine to find a good vein in my arm for an IV. The IV was necessary as I would be sedated to help block pain, make me calm, and sleepy and to provide antibiotics during the procedure. I also received freezing to the areas with a needle.

I slept through most of the operation, although I awoke whenever breathing exercises were requested by the Vascular Surgeon (breathe in, hold, breathe out). My blood pressure was monitored the entire time. The Port was placed beneath my skin, on the left side of my chest, and an attached catheter was inserted into a large vein. It involved 2 incisions – one in my neck, one in my chest. Afterwards I had a chest x-ray to confirm the Port was in the right spot.

The end result is that my bloodstream can now be accessed for IVs or blood tests with a special needle into the Port. I spent the next couple of hours being observed and my blood pressure was checked a few times.

Monday I was pretty sore and my neck was a bit stiff, however I felt better yesterday and I’m doing much better today. On Tuesday, I went back to VGH to get my dressing changed and the area cleaned, and to make sure that everything looked ok. Then yesterday my dressing was taken off. I will get the surgical tape (called Steri-Strip) used to close the incisions, removed next week when I begin my next Cycle of Kyprolis (carfilzomib), which is IV chemo.

I need to take it easy for a couple weeks to let everything heal. I should avoid lifting my right arm above my head or carrying anything over my shoulder. Glad everything worked out. Feeling happy.


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 October 10th, I’m being treated with Kyprolis (carfilzomib), an IV chemo, Cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone.

Rice Lake - North VancouverRice Lake – North Vancouver

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