Forgetful

It is not a new revelation to say that I am forgetful. I forget most things, especially plans, which anybody would witness if they were able to see my face when my doorbell rings.

Today, however, I realised how easy it is for me to forget certain aspects of My Myeloma. I remember it as a whole, but day to day, I forget. Each day is as good as that day and what came before it is forgotten (unless it is the my good cylinder, I have to remember the good cylinder).

I am in good health today, I woke up refreshed and incredibly excited that Days 4-8 were over. By 09:00hrs, I had pretty much forgotten that 24 hours earlier having dressed for the clinic, I had to get back into bed and nap as I waited for my transport. So, I set myself a list of things to do for today, then failed miserably on most of it because The Lads comes round and helped me get in the festive mood instead. It does not take much. I had a marvellous time. Obviously, that is not the moral of this story. Popcorn and a satsuma does not a lunch make, and having done some physical activity, I was foolishly surprised to find that by 16:30hrs, I was beyond tired, nauseous and in need of my bed. Unable to understand why this would be happening, I telephoned Big Sister to ask why I should feel so ill. She eloquently explained that I had cancer and I had received chemotherapy just five days before. Then I remembered. I have cancer. I get tired. I need to nap.

Reminded of my plight, I lay down for an hour and let my world spin, feeling sorry for myself. I then remembered my to do list. It was time to bake.

For the last two weeks, after I returned to my 60mg dose of morphine per day, my pain has been well managed. I would go as far as to say that it has been very well managed. Remember now, I am only talking about a two week period, but in my mind, I have been “back to normal” pain-wise for months.The radiotherapy appears to have worked, and only this afternoon, I noted that I no longer have a need for my walking stick for anything other than protection. I have felt the occasional sharp tinge in my lower back, but that has been the extent of my pain. Morphine is dangerous. My pain has been so slight, that I have been able to witness the extent of the bone damage, and unfortunately this includes limited mobility in my left arm. If I had ever dreamed of being ambidextrous, those dreams would now be dashed. Shame. As I have not been in pain, I have been bending over, hugging whomever I want when I want , stretching and thrusting. Forgetting that I have bone lesions has been delightful.

After I had completed this evening’s baking session, which by the by involved some bending and light kneading, I sat down to thread some popcorn. The average Tuesday. I was enjoying myself. Yay. Enjoyment. It was a strange sensation. I then dropped a bottle of water on the floor and being a normal human being, I stretched out my arm to pick it up. As I stretched, I heard a “pop”. I felt it too. “Pop”.

And that was my reminder… I have cancer. I have multiple myeloma and with that comes bone lesions. Lots of them.

Never forget is the moral of this story. A thought of the day if you will.

In case you are on tenterhooks, the “pop” was located in my right ribcage. I have fractured a rib before because of My Stupid Myeloma and I do not need an X-ray to tell me that that is what I have done now, simply reaching out for a bottle of fizzy water. Beat that. It was a painful lesson; morphine is not a magic cure. In more ways than one, morphine has helped me to forget about this aspect of My Myeloma.

Remembering is a catch-22. Forget and I may get tired, nauseous and/or fracture something, apparently. Remember and I may get depressed and become more cancer obsessed than I am at the moment.

I should probably take some instant relief right now so I can sleep, but I fear that will make me forget even more. I will manage the pain for now, not because I am brave, but because it is safer. Starting tomorrow, I am going to have to reintroduce The Grabber. I had forgotten about that particular bad boy. One of my ribs has reminded me.

EJB x

PCH To The Rescue

Last night, there was a dilemma in the Jones household. It made me stamp my feet and squawk swearwords, really, really loudly. It was a drug dilemma. I did not have any. Try as I might, I need morphine to function. The prospect of four days without my beloved morphine, really did make me say some proper swearwords.

After a quick ring around to the emergency hospital number and then local pharmacies, I discovered that getting my morphine without a prescription was going to be next to impossible. The hospital thought it would be easy; they were wrong.

Major dilemma.

Then, with a bit of prompting, Haemo Dad came to the rescue. After another phone call, a doctor kindly offered to assist and said that by midday today, I would get my fix. This was amazing news for the school, because it meant that I would be able to move. By move, I mean walk, stand and bend. All the things most people take for granted. I am going to be honest with you, sitting up this morning from my bed was no easy task. I had to complete it on three.

So, this morning, I got to revisit the weekends of my childhood with a visit to a lab. Albeit, a lab in new clothing, for Peterborough District Hospital no longer exists. Peterborough City Hospital does. They brought along the old green high chairs. I wished I could have twirled on one like I used to, but I am fairly certain that would have resulted in a broken back.

Whilst, I was technically at the hospital because of My Myeloma, it wasn’t UCLH, and I wasn’t receiving treatment. It was nice, refreshing almost to view a hospital as something that is unconnected to the cancer. In my current state of mind, it was almost exciting. Maybe because it was the weekend and it was quiet. See for yourself.

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An empty hospital corridor. Exciting.

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Lab coats. Riveting.

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Gas. Whatever.

I do however, have myeloma, which meant that the fancy machines have a hold new dimension in my cancer obsessed mind. I got to see what happens to my blood every time it leaves my arm twice a week. It gets spun. And other stuff. As somebody who asks a lot of question, it was educational.

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There you have it. Today, PCH came to my rescue and as a result, I can rest easy. All I had to do was set my Dad’s out of office (for the first time in seven years).

EJB x

A Radioactive What?

“Good morning, Mr. Kirkpatrick. I work at the VA and your doctor referred you for a stomach scan. Can you come Friday morning at 8 am?” I allowed as how I could do that, and then asked if it was a CAT scan or what. “No, we’re going to have you eat a half of an egg sandwich and then watch the way your stomach processes it and see how long it takes to move through the gut.”

“Interesting. How is it you do that?” I asked.

“Well, we’re going to give you a sandwich that’s radioactive.” I started laughing. “No, I’m serious. It’s one of the ways we here in nuclear medicine track the body’s systems. I see in the record that we did a circulation test on you about 18 months ago.” That was true. I recalled how disconcerting it was to see them pull a syringe out of a lead lined steel box. Anything protected that well struck me as probably being dangerous. But they explained that the metal container was more for their protection, since they handled the materials day in and day out, and radioactivity builds up in the body like lead or mercury does.

The thought of a radioactive egg sandwich struck me as bizarre enough to be something I thought was funny, Then I discovered that I had to lay on a steel tray for an hour and a half, and wasn’t allowed to move. “It’ll make the image blurry and we’ll have to start over again –but in a week so that the radioactivity from the sandwich would have petered out. Now, with the lesions and deterioration of my lumbar area, I have to sleep on an adjustable bed to keep my butt lower than my head and feet, otherwise the pressure on me is very painful. I had to lay flat on my back for the scan, and within a few minutes the pain had me sweating profusely and shaking from the pain. They had to halt the test and build me a nest of pillows and then adjust their scanner angle so it was perpendicular to my stomach.

It still wasn’t all that comfortable, it still caused an ache but one that was manageable. However, each of the last 10 of the 90 minutes felt like an hour, and my eyes were watering and a gentle tremor was trying to insinuate itself on me. Fearing having to go through it again, I toughed it out. I did annoy them though because when they said the test was done, I rolled off the table without giving them the opportunity to raise the scanner and lower the table. “hey, hey,” said the tech, “you can’t do that!”

“Funny,” I said. “I just did.” He sighed and nodded his resignation to the situation. Some of the folks at the VA just don’t get how painful things that don’t bother them can be for those of us who suffer pain chronically. Actually, most of the people I know who’re healthy can’t really relate to how powerful pain can be, even those who’ve suffered extreme pain at one time or another. When people ask me how it feels, I often ask them if they’ve ever had a severe toothache, and then tell them to imagine that pain emanating from multiple points at once, and never ends. Still, I’ve been called a wimp (and worse) for my attitude towards pain and my efforts to avoid it.

Then again, I’ve gotten some funny looks just explaining the radioactive egg sandwich they gave me at the hospital, some showing disbelief.  I guess if they can’t get behind the whole egg thing, I guess I’m not surprised theycan’t relate to the pain. It is pretty otherworldly for people who’re fortunate enough to have no personal pain experience, no less a nuclear diet.

Given the number of times I have been irradiated and given radioactive materials, maybe I should get a nuclear hazard placard to wear.

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Neuropathic Two Step

Phantom Appeasement. That’s pretty much what we might call a medication that was effective in damping the discomfort of peripheral neuropathy. Most analgesic medications limit the signals which pass through certain channels. Pain paths, they’re called. Signals pass along specific routes from the area of affectation to the brain and the drugs effectively interfere with the passage of those signals, usually blocking pain receptors. Neuropathy is such a difficult pathology because there are no pain paths involved. The pain is the result of short circuits within the nervous system. They are similar in nature to phantom pain experienced by amputees, who suffer pain in limbs that no longer exist.

Medications like Nerontin (Gabepentin) are effective in a small number of people and they work by dampening, or slowing, certain nervous system functions. But it, and drugs like it, are generally targeted and there is no way to ensure that the areas suffering neuropathic discomfort will be included in the damped portion of the brain or nervous system.  While most people figure that the malfunction of neuropathy occurs in the head, the brain is actually a distributed organ with elements in the cranium and throughout the spine. This is why some people with Multiple Myeloma experience neuropathy even when they have not had chemotherapy. It’s rare, but at times deterioration of the spine  affects elements of the nervous system outside the skull. But usually neuropathy results from the destruction of cells involved in the nervous system in general. As a result, any medication to subdue the phantom pain of neuropathy will have to be similarly phantom in nature. A bullet that strikes its target regardless of the direction it’s fired.

Some people can get an appearance of relief through opiates, and even aspirin can have some positive effect. Again, it depends on the person. But in cases of narcotic and non-narcotic analgesics, the effect derived is through a general dulling of the senses generally. But the case can be made, at least for narcotics, that the discomfort isn’t reduced, the patient simply doesn’t care about it quite as much. However, any improvement in neuropathic symptoms is negligible at best.

I am dubious personally when it comes to supplements. However I readily admit that some nutritional and medicinal supplements appear to have some benefit. However, like the benefits of Gabepentin, opiates, or aspirin, the spread of people benefitting is a small percentage of the total. When it comes to peripheral neuropathy, there is no magic bullet, no single or combination therapy that can be depended on to provide neuropathic relief.

What I know of peripheral neuropathy is that giving the brain something else to focus on and react to is a way to alleviate, at least temporarily, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Soaking feet in warm massage baths or enjoying foot and lower leg massage can bring almost a flood of welcome relief. It’s true that the positive effects are transient, and that the symptoms will return. But the actions can reduce or eliminate the discomforts for a temporary period, and when it comes to the exquisite agony that peripheral neuropathy can manifest, any relief is welcome.  Taking steps like not wearing shoes, instead resorting to slipper socks a size too large can reduce the external irritants that provoke neropathic symptoms. The same is true of setting pillows to each side of the feet in bend, making a tent which keeps the pressure of the blankets and sheets from pressing down on the feet can make a huge difference in comfort levels. Combining this approach and enhancing sleep time with Ambien or Temazepam or Benadryl can help sleep come and remain for a greater period than one would otherwise experience.  Taking warm baths and showers can also be a plus, flooding the body with pleasant sensations that overwhelm the negatives is also a proven way to achieve at least temporary relief. Like I said, any relief is welcome, especially the more profound the neuropathic symptoms.

A recent addition to the tools against illness and treatment side effects are specialty pain clinics and specialists. Different from the typical pain clinics, they specialize in combating the disabling symptoms of neuropathy. They will work with a victims, moving through the various medications, supplements and physical therapies which ave proven effective for some, tailoring a best approach for sufferers. True, some are hacks, front people for miracle cures. But many are dedicated and empathic people who only want to alleviate the suffering of others. Whether a victims approaches their discomfort on their own, through their oncology team, or with a specialist in neuropathic pain, there are ways to at least make it more tolerable for many who suffer from neurpathy’s special torture. But it’s a battle.

First Post in 2012

I don’t like that I’m so inconsistent in my blogging here. My intentions were good when I created this blog. They remained good throughout the years even. But I just can’t seem to get to it on THIS blog.

I started out with three blogs (on three different locations). My purpose for each blog was not clear…to me. I thought I’d had a plan in my mind, but I really didn’t. I’d hoped that in time it’d just work out and I’d figure it out. It hasn’t happened. Yet.

What mainly keeps me linked to this blog is that every once in a while I receive comments that touch my heart, inspire me, or plain old get my attention. Last November I made friends with a wonderful lady who had commented. We send emails back-and-forth periodically (she’s better at it than me). (NOTE TO SELF: I need to not only write her, but get pictures together and send her a package. Maybe I can accomplish this by July.)

I also receive a load of spam associated with it. Comments do not show unless I approve them. There are options for the comments to approve, trash, or assign as spam. For some reason, I suddenly started receiving lots of spam comments. Over the years I’d accumulated over 1500 spammed comments. For some reason I deleted them. I think I opened the gates for those spammers to spam me again. Perhaps in time the spam will once again slow down…once I respam the spammers. *sigh* I don’t even understand what the purpose is for spammers, but they must be really sorry people/groups.

Anyway — here is my first offical post for 2012. Thus far my MM is remaining dormant. I am not taking Revlimid or any other treatment for it. As I explained in previous posts, my doctor told me that the current regimen is to place MM patients in partial remissions as I am in, on a maintenance dosage. It’d probably be Revlimid and I don’t know if it’d include a steroid or anything else. Since I’ve maintained very well without it for over four years, he’s leaving well enough alone.

Again, as I’ve stated in previous posts, I do have spinal cord damage and have major issues with it. The tumor I’d had at my T8 caused my spinal cord to atrophy. I don’t function well from about the waist on down. That includes walking and even moving my legs and feet, let alone eliminating (urinating and bowel functioning). With not functioning well comes extreme discomfort and pain. There’s a difference between the two and one is not any easier to cope with than the other. That might be a good topic for another entry in that maybe I can reach another individual dealing with the same thing.

While frankly I hate having to deal with this spinal cord damage because of the pain and discomfort, I think just as challenging for me is that I do not know of one other individual in the same predicament as me: MM’r in partial remission & doing fairly good but has spinal cord damage with similar effects as me. As weird as it sounds, I envy women who get breast cancer as opposed to this. They at least have common issues and can bond. They can relate with what the other women are experiencing. Even other people with MM seem to have much in common. At least it seems that way to me. I’ve not come across another individual who got MM, went into a partial remission and doing relatively well considering the MM progression–but then have to deal with the crippling & demobilizing effects of damage to the spine. My spinal cord damage does seem to be getting worse, too, which is a little alarming to me. I get around, drive to the store and to most doctor appointments, and such – but it is difficult. And it’s getting more difficult. But I still can do it. It would be so helpful to talk to another in the same predicament.

I’ve checked out support groups, asked the nurse practitioners, doctors, and other medical personnel I come in contact with if they knew of one, but to no success. I haven’t tried in a while, so it may be time to search some more.

I do belong to a MM support group and I highly recommend anyone with MM to find one. The one in my area is a great group. They have bbq’s and special meetings throughout the year and are supportive of each other. Over the years I’ve lost contact with them. It’s weird I say this as I don’t attend the meetings – but I am on their mailing list. It’s like I’m a lurker…lol. They’ve just started sending out meeting minutes. I had attended only a few meetings at the start but discontinued when I started having problems getting around. They are about an hour’s drive away and in the depths of the city. Last I attended they are on an upper floor but I do recall there is an elevator. I’m not sure I have the physical strength to first make the drive, then make the walk to the meeting room, then have the stamina to endure the meeting and make it back home. This is something I should reconsider. Perhaps during the nice summer weather I can try to attend a meeting and get reacquainted. If there is another in my personal predicament, by being an active participant in the group would be a way meet them.

I need to try to muster the courage and the strength to perhaps give one of those meetings a try. But I also must have the wisdom not to bite off more than I can chew. As I type this I know that it’s not feasible for me to drive that far to a meeting – as good as it would be for me. I will still ponder it to make sure it absolutely is not feasible…that I’m not wimping out. Sometimes I get myself in trouble when I’m afraid I’m being a wimp and I get myself out on a limb I have no business being on.

This post is disorganized. There’s really no central theme or point in it, is there? Well, I guess I did touch base.

I plan on writing again, perhaps one entry to focus on just where I am in my mobility or lack of. It will either be helpful to another with similar symptoms OR I may meet someone with whom we can share our ideas and what works for us.

Also, I will post pics of my patio. As I’d mentioned in an earlier post, I planned on enjoying my patio this summer. I’ve been sensing that I am slowly getting worse in this spinal cord damage. I don’t even want to admit it, but I suspect I will eventually be wheelchair bound. *sigh* In the meantime, I am going to do as much as I can to enjoy what independence I have left. That stated, I planted lots of flowers and veggie stuff. My patio is full of various potted plants. I got that new umbrella I needed. I love it. In another post I will not only describe my patio but I hope to post pictures of it. But I will inform that I have four different tomato plants (all with tomatoes on them already), four green pepper plants (one with two nice sized peppers already!), herbs of thyme, rosemary, cilantro, & parsley, and spinach. Then I have violas, impatients, gerbara daisies, another kind of purplish-white daisy, and some other lovely flowers that I forgot the name. I’ll list all that in the post.

Until next entry….hopefully in a timely manner…God bless!

2nd ASCT – Day 7 – Pain – May 25 2012

I developed a new pain tonight, May 25 2012. I have a right sided headache that extends to my right orbit and upper jaw. I do not feel like it is a migraine headache as I have not had one in years. RN Emily suggested that it could be Neupogen pain and I’m inclined to agree with her. I did take the Claritin at 3 PM today, but it is no guarantee. They have given me an ice pack and that seems to help.

RN Jamie gave me plain tylenol early morning May 25 2012 and within an hour, my gripping facial pain ceased! It was wonderful. I had a good day without any pain after that. Dr. Gutman thinks the pain may be Neupogen related, but he does not think it is anything serious.

Giving In and Giving Up

Every few months or so I make the same stupid mistake. 
Sometimes I
just get so frustrated with
my poor health,

never ending infections and  PAIN,  that
I just decide to throw it all
up.

I mean literally and figuratively!
  


Lately I have been dealing with nausea from too many antibiotics

resulting in stomach aches and another ulcer. 

Also...
My liver decided to quit functioning properly.


So a few weeks
ago I had a liver biopsy. 

The Liver doctor inserted a long
needle between the ribs

on my right side and pulled out a sample of
tissue to be examined.

(it was not nearly as painful as I had imagined-thank goodness)

It's been over three long anxious weeks and
I still
have not received any results.
 

The nurse did tell me over the phone that
it's not likely cancer

from the lab report she read (whew).
But still I
must continue to wait! Very frustrating!!
  


So to sum it all up.
I am sick of being sick! 
Yesterday I decided
to quit. 

Instead of getting out my 2/day pill box filled with antibiotics,
pills for this side effect and another for
the side
effect of that side effect,

as well as a host of vitamins and
minerals,

I just gave up and threw the box up onto the shelf.
I
tore off my pain patch and decided it was all in my head. 

Maybe the
reason I am always tired, have no appetite and can't sleep

or can't
sleep enough is just because of all these stupid drugs!


     

At 2am I woke up in PAIN.
It hurt from my toes up to my nose.
My body was stiff and grating.

I managed to hobble to the bathroom to
get a drink. "I can do this,"

I said giving myself a pep
talk, I turned my iPod on,

plugged in my ear phones and forced myself to
go back to sleep

 while listening to my " middle of the night, lull me
to sleep music".


It finally worked for a couple hours
until the pain
grew and gnawed me awake. 

I lay there gathering my thoughts and then

finally my strength to do what I had to do.
  

I hobbled back to the bathroom pulled down my pill box,
and
took the few most important pills including a pain pill. 

I grabbed a
new pain patch and slapped it on my back.


I gave up and gave in. 
I gave up the idea that my poor health is all
in my head. 

That the pain is just imagined,
and that because I am in
cancer remission

 the effects of fighting it have disappeared.
They
haven't.
 

And I gave in to the fact that I can not do this on my own. 
That
(as my husband says) "It is what it is." 

My body has pain and my body
is still trying to heal.

I can not run away from that fact. 

I
gave my pain and my problems up in prayer.
      

I pleaded for strength and courage to continue.
I need medication. I need faith.
I need strength from my Father in Heaven.

When I quit fighting against the pain, and
give in to what I must do.
When I give up my pride in trying to do it all my own,
and lean on the Lord for help,
I gather the strength to continue
climbing this multiple myeloma mountain. 

Here is one of my favorite hymns.
"How Firm a Foundation"
3. Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am
thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and
cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my
righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.









  


Before our journey ends…….

Exactly 18 months ago yesterday our lives were forever changed; when we began this journey. Like most, we knew that  Bob had just been given a diagnosis of cancer, but we knew nothing about this incurable though treatable, and often even called chronic, disease. How quickly we began to learn!

We learned early on, that everything on the Internet isn’t the gospel and shouldn’t be trusted. We found great Myeloma websites, and blogs, with information and support from other Myeloma “victims” and caregivers.  We’ve been surrounded by wonderful friends, caring family, and above all … great doctors.  Finally, we learned that sometimes there are comments, and people, that we just have to ignore.

It has often been a stressful year and one-half filled with everything from the initial diagnosis to pain and infections, both of  which are not uncommon for Myeloma patients. During this leg of our journey, we’ve had quite a few hospital visits. Again, not uncommon for Myeloma patients. I was even beginning to think we might get a “frequent visitor” card! Other than being on a first name basis with a great group of nurses, there are no added benefits.

Bob’s back pain has begun to be almost constant, even with pain meds. On Wednesday, Dr. S. will perform another RFD (Radio Frequency Dennervation) which will hopefully bring much needed relief; as it did in February, 2011.

There are days when my honey doesn’t feel good, but on many of those days he makes an effort to go to his shop. Hearing the sounds of the sander, planer, saws, or even the “elevator music”that plays on the television in his shop allows me (and maybe both of us) to forget, just for a minute, that he has cancer. The cancer that invaded his body hasn’t taken away his ability to design and build beautiful furniture……it just takes longer.

Cancer, regardless of the type, can be debilitating, painful, stressful, and emotionally draining on everyone involved.  Amazingly enough it also provides time……..time to focus on the really important things in one’s life. Time to realize that nothing should be taken for granted. Time to realize that each day is a blessing. Time for each other.

The next part of our unplanned journey begins as this beautiful Easter Sunday ends.  We can only hope and pray, that somewhere along the way, a cure will be found…………before our journey ends.

Collateral Worries

In dealing with Multiple Myeloma the focus stays pretty much on the cancer. But there are a lot of secondary issues that victims of the cancer must confront. As I write this I’m trying to not think about the pain in my sternum and spreading under my rib cage. My doctors calls it nephrotic syndrome and it amounts to me holding fluids instead of expressing them through the urinary tract. Basically, there are small perforations in my kidneys large enough to pass proteins into my urine, but not quite big enough to let blood through. But no matter, my kidneys aren’t working the way they’re supposed to and I’m starting to bloat. It began as edema in my feet, and has slowly progressed upwards through the legs, the abdomen and is now just reaching my chest. Fluid is filling the pleura, the membrane containing the lungs, so my breathing is being affected. Frankly, it’s kind of spooky.

Renal failure is not uncommon in Multiple Myeloma cases, but usually it is a function of paraprotein secretions that clog the organs, such as the kidneys. The way to deal with the problem varies by the type of kidney failure. Nephrotic syndrome isn’t the sort of thing that is easily treated and it goes away. It can stick with you for months or even years, and in some cases for the rest of one’s life. It may involve dialysis or even a kidney transplant. But with the kidneys malfunctioning, the body starts to go septic because it isn’t cleansed by the normal body functions. I had thought myself immune from such problems, being a non-secretor. But there are lots of different kinds of proteins in the body, some good and some not. And it’s bad news when proteins that are supposed to be in one place end up in another.

Of course, when the body isn’t functioning properly, the immune system is further compromised. I say further because an aspect of Multiple Myeloma is reduced immunity. Infection more easily invades the body, and with the results one might expect. At the moment, I am also dealing with a serious case of the sweats and I had to take a break in typing between the paragraphs here because I have the chills. Kinda difficult to type when you’re shaking.

The most common collateral issue in Multiple Myeloma is pneumonia. Quite a few of those in mortality statistics perish because of pneumonia, although the end responsibility is given to the cancer. Sensible, if it weren’t for the cancer, the pneumonia wouldn’t be so likely. Then too, the body can”t fight off the infections because of the reduces immunity, usually signaled by anemia. As of yesterday my blood numbers looked excellent, but infection progression can be swift, especially in bodies with compromised immunity. It makes for a vicious circle. After my appointment with the doctor yesterday, I was given a sterile jug and told to collect urine for 24 hours. This will allow the lab to do a workup that shows a more complete picture of the situation, more likely revealing proteins that could easily slip by in a single urination sample.

As well as the effect of feeling greater pain, and feeling physically ill, there is an emotional component. I don’t mind saying this is a frightening experience. Renal issues are no small matter and can, as mentioned, be a starting point from which discomfort speeds to a life threatening situation. Reading about my woes on the Internet only serve to make it worse, filling me in on all of the details for every little thing that can go wrong.

Of course, the last thing my doctor said was that he’d see me back again at the end of the month, which is a reassuring statement. It’s a lot easier to hear than being told to stay in touch and come back tomorrow.

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