Week 175 of chemo complete: Cancer levels have spiked

My June blood test results show that my cancer levels (m protein) spiked from 20 to 25. It is difficult to get an accurate m protein value with my particular type of multiple myeloma, so my Myeloma Specialist/Hematologist also looks at another more general measure, called an igG. Together they provide a more complete picture of my progress. My igG increased from 25.8 to 30.5.

During my July appointment, we will discuss these results and decide when the right time is to change my treatment. During my last appointment I learned about the treatment options available to me. Breaking down the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative will help me make an informed decision supported by my Myeloma Specialist.

Recall: Jan 2015 – began Pomalyst chemo + Dexamethasone (steroid). July 2017 – taken off Dexamethasone due to eye damage. January 2018 – added Ninlaro chemo. Currently on Pomalyst and Ninlaro chemo.

I’m not upset or sad. Everyday I try to stay positive and create a happiness bubble around me. I enjoy reading, I love photography, and I welcome opportunities to explore new places.

Glaucoma Specialist Appointment
I have ongoing appointments with my Glaucoma Specialist to monitor my eyes. I’ve been on an eye drops prescription since November 2016, because the long term use of Dexamethasone adversely affects my eye pressure, resulting in eye damage. That’s why I was taken off Dexamethasone in July 2017. The eye drops keep my eye pressure low and stable. At my June appointment, my Glaucoma Specialist found my eye pressure to be normal (14 each eye), which is good news.

X-ray of Right Femur
I woke up one morning and my right thigh was sore causing me to limp off and on. Sometimes simple tasks like putting on a sock is difficult, other times I don’t even notice the soreness. I don’t know what is going on, as my right thigh feels weaker. My Myeloma Specialist ordered an x-ray and we will discuss the results next month. I suspect it is either a symptom of my multiple myeloma (e.g. bone pain, lesions, bone degeneration) or a side effect (e.g. muscle or joint pain) of my chemo treatment.

M protein (g/L) (0 = cancer undetectable)
June = 25
May = 20
Apr = 20
Mar = 13
Feb = value missing (believe similar to Jan)
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

The goal of multiple myeloma treatment is to improve survival, by reducing the cancer cells (myeloma) in the immune system as much as possible for as long as possible. The more myeloma (m protein > 0), the greater likelihood of cancer symptoms affecting my everyday life.

igG protein (6.7 – 15.2 normal levels)
June = 30.5
May = 25.8
Apr = 22.7
Mar = 22.0
Feb = 23.1
Jan = 20.6

Early Saturday morning I was walking to the nearby forest, when I stopped to watch the sunrise. The beginning of a beautiful day on the Sunshine Coast.

Week 175 of chemo complete: Cancer levels spike again

To recap: On Sunday, June 17th, I completed Cycle 44 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 2017, 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.

StevestonMay 2014: Steveston

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