Still on Darzalex

This is just a quick update.  I’m still on Darzalex, but am also taking 2 mg of Pomalyst (pom) 21 days a month.  I’m not taking dex at the moment.  I just get 20 mg of dex with each dara infusion. We’ll see how that goes. For the last 3 or 4 months, I’ve been …

Week 182 of chemo complete: Absence of rain, the new normal?

I like to be prepared in case of rain when I leave the house. I will check the weather report and if there is a possibility of rain, I’ll throw my umbrella in my backpack. As I walk and transit everywhere, I don’t want to get caught up in a rainstorm and end up with a cold. I always need to be cautious with my health, due to my cancer of the immune system.

This morning, I was reflecting on how I couldn’t remember the last time I packed my umbrella or actually felt raindrops on my face. The heatwave experienced here in British Columbia and mirrored elsewhere has been called ‘the new normal’. I hope that isn’t true.

Listening to the pitter-patter of rain is such a tranquil experience.

Week 182 of chemo complete: Absence of rain, the new normal?

On Sunday, August 5th, I completed Cycle 46 Week 2. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and Dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/Dex). On July 16th 2017, my Dexamethasone treatment ended, due to right eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th, 2018 I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels. On July 23rd, dexamethasone (40mg) was added to my Ninlaro and Pomalyst chemo treatment, due to excessively high cancer levels.

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

StevestonMay 2014 – Steveston, BC

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Week 172 of chemo complete: Admiring the beauty of nature

In the front area of my home is a Pacific Dogwood tree. I enjoy admiring this beauty of nature each time I look out the window. The tree blooms in April and May and it is the provincial flower of British Columbia. Saturday evening I knew I had to take a self-portrait here before it was too late. Nature rocks!

Week 172 of chemo complete: Admiring the beauty of nature

To recap: On Sunday, May 27th, I completed Cycle 43 Week 4. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels.

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

Steveston - Britannia ShipyardsMay 2014: Steveston

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Week 161 of chemo complete: Evening adventures by the water

Week 161 of chemo complete: Evening adventures by the water

On Friday, I found a rocky beach area, where I sat and watched as the water moved in and out from the shore. I always enjoy taking self-portraits in the early evening as I prefer the soft light then and I love watching the sun go down. I find that having a creative outlet helps me cope with my long-term chemo and the related side effects. The positive energy generated from my self-portraits contributes to my overall well-being and health.

Feeling happy!

To recap: On Sunday, March 11th, I completed Cycle 41 Week 1. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels.

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

Sun sets on Granville IslandMay 2014: Granville Island

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Week 159 of chemo complete: Estimate cancer levels reasonably stable

The results from my February monthly blood test were missing the m protein value. My particular type of multiple myeloma is less common and it is not always possible to get an m protein value – the best measure to determine my cancer levels. However, looking at less specific measures on my test results, I believe my cancer levels are similar to January (estimate between 13 and 14). The additional chemo seems to be keeping my cancer levels reasonably stable, however I remain hopeful for lower cancer levels for March.

M protein (g/L) (0 = cancer undetectable)
Feb = value missing (estimate between 13 and 14)
Jan = 13 (began Ninlaro chemo – 2 weeks prior)
Dec = between 10 and 11
Nov = 8
Late Oct = 9
Early Oct = between 5 and 6
Sept = under 7.7
Aug = value missing
July = 3.0 (ended dexamethasone – steroid)
Feb 2015 (began Pomalyst chemo + dexamethasone) = 36.1

Unfortunately, the side effects from two chemo has made me much more mentally and physically fatigued. My mind often wanders making it difficult to remain focused. However, everyday I give myself virtual gold stars for accomplishing challenging tasks with minimal mistakes.

Yes, everything takes longer than usual and I am quite forgetful, but each morning I wake up happy and ready for the day.

Week 159 of chemo complete: Feb blood test results - Mostly Stable

Photo: Life is full of adventure that begin with the first step outside your home.

To recap: On Sunday, February 25th, I completed Cycle 40 Week 3. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels.

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

Grand Central pleaseMay 2014: Granville Island

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Week 157 of chemo complete: The calm before the snowstorm

Friday morning, as a snowstorm began hitting Vancouver, I travelled back to Queen Elizabeth Park. Everywhere looked so beautiful with the snow falling. Vancouver always looks so amazing when it is snows. Love this city!

Week 157 of chemo complete: The calm before the snowstorm

To recap: On Sunday, February 18th, I completed Cycle 40 Week 2. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels.

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

Segway on the seawallMay 2014: Segway on the seawall

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Week 156 of chemo complete: Morning walk on Granville Island

Friday morning I travelled back to Granville Island, as a light drizzle fell. As I walked around Alder Bay, I observed a couple ducks swimming and bobbing for food. I always enjoy quiet time by the water.

Week 156 of chemo complete: Morning walk on Granville Island

To recap: On Sunday, February 4th, I completed Cycle 39 Week 4. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels.

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

English Bay - VancouverJune 2014: English Bay

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Week 155 of chemo complete: Cancer levels continue to increase

My monthly blood test results for January, show that my cancer levels/m protein have increased from between 10 and 11 in December up to 13 in January. I began Ninlaro chemo with my Pomalyst chemo on January 8th, however, it may be early to see the effectiveness of both chemo. Or looking at it from a positive perspective, if I wasn’t on Ninlaro, perhaps my levels would have spiked to 18 or 20. I have noticed this new chemo has increased my appetite as well as my level of fatigue.

M protein (g/L) (0 = cancer undetectable)
Jan = 13 (began Ninlaro chemo – Jan 8th)
Dec = between 10 and 11
Nov = 8
Late Oct = 9
Early Oct = between 5-6
Sept = under 7.7
Aug = value missing
July = 3.0
June =3.2
Feb 2015 (began chemo) 36.1

My m protein value is my cancer levels marker. Think of it as the amount of myeloma/cancer in my plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells used to fight infection. That’s why multiple myeloma is a cancer of the immune system and also called a blood cancer. If my m protein is 0, then cancer is undetectable in my bloodstream.

I remain hopeful that February’s results will improve.

Photo: Friday afternoon I headed to Stanley Park to take a photo in the forest. I wanted to express the challenges of chemo side effects, through the act of balancing with one foot on a rock. An ordinary task that seems simple and easy, actually isn’t. I am reminded of this when a tourist asks me for directions. I find that I will babble and give a convoluted response forcing me to recommend they ask some else for assistance.

Week 155 of chemo complete: Cancer levels continue to increase

To recap: On Sunday, January 28th, I completed Cycle 39 Week 3. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels.

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

Take a book, return a bookMay 2014: Granville Island

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Week 154 of chemo complete: The view from Granville Island

Friday morning, as the sun popped in and out of the clouds, I travelled to Granville Island, an area across from downtown, where locals and tourists go for food, shopping, and cultural activities. I searched for a quiet spot, away from the crowds, to watch the birds on the water and listen to sounds of nature. Happy to discover a new place to relax.

I love adventuring!

Week 154 of chemo complete: The view from Granville Island

To recap: On Sunday, January 21st, I completed Cycle 39 Week 2. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use. On January 9th I began Ninlaro chemo to combat steadily rising cancer levels.

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

Spanning the FraserMay 2014: Canada Line Fraser Bridge

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Week 152 of chemo complete: Quiet reflection by the water

Saturday morning as a light rain fell, I travelled to Vanier Park in Kits. It provides a beautiful view of English Bay, and on a clear day you can see the mountains. I sat in quiet reflection and watched rowers practicing their strokes, while joggers passed by.

I always enjoy spending time in nature. A perfect start to the day.

Week 152 of chemo complete: Quiet reflection by the water

To recap: On Sunday, January 7th, I completed Cycle 38 Week 4. 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 February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 16th, my dexamethasone treatment ended, due to eye damage, reported by my Glaucoma Specialist, from long-term use.

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

English Bay - VancouverJune 2014: English Bay

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