Sunday, September 12, 2010

Progress and still doing well, per Arkansas

This last week I had the usual battery of tests.  The MRI was particularly long this time as they now do something called DWIBS -- I looked it up but can't remember what it stands for but it essentially measures the heterogeneity / homogeneity of bone marrow.

Long story short, I remain in complete remission.  Blood work was good.  MRI showed that one of the five original active lesions -- the one in my left shoulder which was the first pain I felt associated with this disease -- has completely resolved.  The other four are shrinking, albeit slowly.  

My bone marrow came back with 7% plasma cells, and about 3% plasma in the core marrow.  This crept up a bit and made me nervous but it was negative for Myeloma and neither BB nor Dr. U, his new assistant guy, were concerned.

BB was impatient for more progress in the bone healing, but he noted in his dictation that bone healing lags complete remission in the blood and that the median time from complete remission to resolution of lesions is 18 months, per their research.  I am a year into CR, so hopefully within six months my bones will be fully healed.

He was sufficiently impatient that he looked into whether or not he could increase my Revlimid dosage while keeping me on protocol.  But protocol is a maximum of 15mg 21 days a month, which is what I am on.  Now I know he would take me off protocol immediately if he needed to do so in order to improve my outcome, and the fact that he did not do so made me feel a little better -- although I will admit to some nervousness between the plasma cell increase (I was below 5% before) and this other fact.

I will return in four months, now, not every three months.  And hopefully we will see more improvement in the bones at that time.  He thought another course of Zometa would not be a good idea, for what it's worth.

Lastly, I did ask folks about Maca root and nobody had heard of it.  Still not sure what to do there...

Enjoy the rest of your weekends!


  1. Nick, good to hear you are still in CR. Do you take contrast material for the MRI? Do you know if they use the 1.5 or the 3 Tesla MRI machine?

    How would more Revlimid help the bone healing?

  2. Jerry -

    I have, in the past, taken contrast but I didn't feel like it this time so I just said no. I never had (thank God) any involvement in my skull so there isn't a whole lot of reason to do it every time. If I'd already had an IV installed I'd have considered it, but as I didn't, I passed.

    I don't know which MRI they do but they put me in THREE different machines so I probably had both. :)

    Re: Revlimid, it's not so much that Revlimid heals the bones but the absence of Myeloma allows the bones to heal on their own. Since the bones haven't healed particularly rapidly, he was (I suppose) a little nervous that the Myeloma needed to be hit harder. I am hopeful that we will see significant progress over the next four months.

  3. Nick: Glad to hear that you remain on the CR track and that your lesions are healing- slowly, but surely. Curious as to why they would stop Zometa? Hope you have a nice So Cal Fall. Sean

  4. Sean -

    I think BB thinks the density of my bones is good right now and another course of Zometa might overdo it.

    When do you return to LR? Would love to coordinate one of our visits!