Week 24 chemo complete: If at first you don’t succeed…

Week 24 chemo complete: If at first you don't succeed...

On Sunday I completed Cycle 6 Week 4. I saw my Hematologist last week and they were very happy with my progress. From the beginning of my chemo in February, my cancer levels (marker is the igG) dropped from 36.1 to 15.7 this month. The region where my cancer lives is called the Beta 2 Globulin. Those levels have dropped from 33.9 in February to 11.4 in July. Everything remains the same regarding chemo, in a best case scenario, I’m still in treatment 2 years from now. But my weekly dexamethasone (oral steroid) has been reduced to 3 pills from 5 to help slow down my weight gain and reduce the likelihood of other side effects.

This multiplicity self-portrait (multiple images using different poses) represents a significant accomplishment for me. A few weeks ago I had tried to figure out how to edit the multiple photos in Photoshop without success. I watched many YouTube tutorial and I just couldn’t follow them. I got confused, a bit frustrated so I put them aside for later. I decided to try again, found a YouTube tutorial that was easy to follow and I was able to create this final product that I’m happy with.

A few lessons I learned:

  • Take your photos as soon as possible, because the sun will affect your lighting. Although it was cloudy out, I spent a long time taking different poses and that resulted in different lighting in places.
  • Avoid touching your camera. My 50mm lens seems to have problems with blurry photos sometimes shooting with my remote, so I use a timer to take for my photos. Pressing the shutter may have caused slight adjustments in my photos that weren’t corrected in Photoshop, as my tripod extension is broken.
  • Many sure you don’t whack your tripod. I accidentally hit my tripod while shooting. Although the view looked the same, I started at the beginning and reshot everything, just in case.
  • Find tutorials when you’re stuck or learning something new. Definitely helped me out and gives me confidence for the future.

I will continue to use this awareness project to learn new genres of photography and explore new forms of creativity for my weekly self-portraits.

Staying positive each day!

To recap: I have Multiple Myeloma and anemia, a rare blood cancer. It is incurable, but treatable. From February to November 2013, I received Velcade chemo through weekly in-hospital injections as an outpatient. Since February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). I now take 3 X 4mg dexamethasone weekly. I started Cycle 7 yesterday.

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

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