No news to update, while I wait to schedule an upcoming trip to Arkansas for a significant series of tests including multiple bone marrow biopsies (assuming the former lesions in my spine still exist).
I'm beginning to come around on the notion of this M protein being benign, actually. Although I note that in the Mayo research the majority of these faint signals resolve on their own after a median of six months. It's been about that long for me, give or take, so I wouldn't mind seeing it go away. If it hasn't, I may have more significant issues.
So best case is the lesions have all fully resolved with healthy new bone tissue (I've had a few courses of Zometa over the past few months to help this process, although I'd been on that before and it didn't finish the job and BB discontinued it before resuming it this time, so who knows...probably guesswork at this point). If that happens, and the M protein is gone, and the MRD (minimal residual disease) test is negative, then I may be celebrating soon.
Worst case (other than disease return) is the lesions haven't resolved, M protein still there, but MRD is still negative including all the marrow analyzed from those lesions, in which case we still watch and wait and maybe consider treating more aggressively.
An added bonus to lesion resolution is they won't need to do more than one bone marrow. We'll have to see.
Wow, for a post that wasn't supposed to be about my biology, it sure has turned into that...
Anyhow, what I was ORIGINALLY going to post follows. I posted this elsewhere (in a comment on a post on Pat Killingsworth's blog) but I thought it was a good thing to keep in mind in the spirit of New Years Resolutions. Essentially: when someone you know -- even if only a little -- is facing a tragedy or a terrible event in their life, err on the side of reaching out. It may be more helpful than you know.
I remember I always used to wonder, when a friend or loved one faced some sort of tragedy or crisis, whether or not they wouldn't want to be bothered by a call to check in on them -- or whether I didn't know somebody well enough to intrude on a private experience. When I was going through my own diagnosis and initial aggressive treatment, the calls and emails that touched me most were from people that I wasn't in regular contact with, or whom I didn't know particularly well, but who just wanted to let me know they were thinking of me. I found these remarkably uplifting. Perhaps it's because it's a reminder of how many lives we touch -- more than we think. In any case: when in doubt, call someone, email someone, send them a note and let them know you are thinking of them. The worst it will do is nothing -- and it might significantly brighten their day.