Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New lab results (no M-protein data yet), and portacath update, etc.

I went back to Dr. GD's office, carrying my jug of urine this time, so they could draw two more vials of blood that must be assessed at the same time as the small cup of urine (not to be confused with the big jug) that I'll be sending back to Arkansas.

I got my initial labs back from two days ago. Some curious things.

1. White counts are lower than I expected at 4.0. This is a little troubling -- I'd have thought they would be higher, especially given the shingles. They aren't wildly low, but given that Revlimid is supposed to suppress blood counts and I'm going to be on that for the next three years, I wouldn't want my immune system unable to respond to an infection.

2. RDW -- the variability in the width of red blood cells -- is high again. This seems like a meaningless figure except that one nurse several months ago said it was "high in people with cancer" and it had finally normalized before I left Arkansas. I'm going to chalk it up to red blood cells still growing, maybe. I dunno. Something to ask BB about, perhaps.

3. Uric Acid is a little high at 8.3 (normal is 3.6-7.7) and Creatinine is at 1.0, still very healthy but higher than what I've been running. I think this means the acyclovir could be working my kidneys pretty hard and I need to drink more water.

4. I have a high number of monocytes -- a type of which blood cell -- and I have "atypical lymphs" which don't sound good. It's a test I have not seen done in Arkansas.

In other news, platelets are normal at 185, liver function is mostly normal except for ALT which is midly elevated. Total protein is 6.3 and Albumin is 4.0, which means immunoglobulin is 2.3. Not too bad -- hopefully there's no room for M-protein within that number. I should find out on Friday or Monday at the latest.

They didn't even try to access the portacath today. I spoke with a nurse about it because TWO DAYS LATER it still hurts. From her poking and prodding, I can say that the area above (towards my head) of the placement is okay, but beneath it is VERY tender and painful to the touch. The nurse said she had a couple of patients in the past who found the portacath unbearable to use. One of them had it removed and a new one installed and had no problem with the new one.


I'm going to explore that option now, since this is far too painful to use.

Shingles still there, still hurt like hell.

Don't get Multiple Myeloma, people.


  1. I don't know about a lot of these tests but can tell ya that illness can lower the white blood counts in MM patients. It's common. Many times they have to give patients chemo breaks when they get sick so the counts are not being smacked down for 2 reasons and they can recover a bit. That portocath does not sound right to me. I know several who have them and never heard of that much trouble with them.
    Feel better soon!

  2. As a former EMT'er, with a long term curiousity about medicine in general, I can tell from the pain that something is WRONG with that Portacath. Perhaps discomfort is part of the installation, but pain is an indicator of infection as a rule. Please demand that they investigate it fully and take it out for awhile if necessary.... not a professional opinion, but an experienced one...