Week 90 chemo complete: Cancer levels explained with umbrella analogy

Week 90 chemo complete: It’s raining, raining...

I get asked often why my cancer levels seems to continuously increase and decrease and what it means in terms of the effectiveness of my chemo treatment. As I have Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer, the myeloma/cancer resides in the white blood cells within my bone marrow. White blood cells play an essential role in the immune system by fighting viruses and foreign invaders within the blood, before illnesses can occur.

So, my chemo attacks the myeloma so that the white blood cells can continue to function effectively in protecting my immune system. Sometime my chemo works really well and that when my cancer levels go down, other times the chemo is less effective and that’s when my cancer levels go up.

I think that an umbrella analogy could best explain this. In my world, it is always raining (cancer), but I have an umbrella (chemo) for protection. When it is a heavy rain, the umbrella can’t protect me completely and I get wet (cancer levels go up), other times it is just a light drizzle and the umbrella does its job (cancer levels go down/remain stable).

However, if it is a huge downpour with heavy winds that destroy my umbrella, well then that means the chemo is no longer effective, my cancer levels will spike, and I will have to look at another chemo treatment (get a new umbrella).

Overall, I remain hopeful that my chemo will remain effective for a long time. Staying positive!

I took this self-portrait at Third Beach in Stanley Park on Friday. It wasn’t raining so I did some editing in Photoshop.

To recap: On Sunday, October 30th, I completed Cycle 23 Week 2. 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).

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

Fraser River Canada Line BridgeMay 2014: Fraser River Canada Line Bridge

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