Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blood counts good!

I love the honesty of this blog as I think it is one of its most valuable attributes, as I have said in the past.

And I have been willing to be very self-effacing, as needed, to retain this honesty. Like in the last post!

However, there's nothing saying I can't top off the blog with non-embarrassing posts to space it out. So here goes today's update. :)

After a week of recovery from Revlimid, I start cycle three tonight.

All the counts look good, with the exception of the mix of white blood cells. I have a lot of young cells, and not a lot of mature cells. This isn't a problem at all from a functionality standpoint. It's simply an abnormality that is easily explained by Velcade. What I described as the Logan's Run effect.

White count is at 6.6. Don't know how much of this is a response to the colds in my house, versus a normal recovery, but it is squarely in the normal range. I also have to say, TamiFlu may very well be the cure for the common cold. I've had three sore throats in the past two months. When that happens, I double up on TamiFlu one day, and return to daily doses the next day. In each case, by the next morning, the sore throat is gone.

Anyhow, white count is good. Platelets are at 136. Not robust, but in a decent range. They will probably continue to go up over the next few days, although the Revlimid will begin to depress them again. Not a problem -- they seem to bop around in the 100 to 150 range.

Hemoglobin is a very normal 14.8! Again, it will probably start to edge down as the Revlimid kicks in, but it never really falls below 13 and change, so I'm in normal mode. N.B., to those other MM travelers that follow along, when I talk about red blood counts I always use Hemoglobin (as opposed to actual red cell counts, hematocrit or other measures) since this is what Arkansas tracks to determine the need for a unit of blood (below 10 and BB is thinking about it, below 9 and you are on your back with a bag or two being put into you).

Then there's that kooky RDW figure...the one that measures variability in red blood cell width. This was always high during cancer therapy, and even a bit afterwards (it is also a hallmark of anemia). But it has been consistently healthy, now at 12.7, and pretty steady for the past two months. Good stuff!

All looks good. Happy Thanksgiving, friends!!

P.S. I promised I wouldn't politicize this blog, but the impending healthcare legislation is SO HORRIBLE that I have to urge you all to oppose it. It will not work as it is stated, it will definitively decrease the quality of care in this country, and for those of us with Myeloma (or those who are diagnosed from here on out) it may very well result in BB's protocol not being covered. There are good people that follow this blog in the UK, New Zealand, and elsewhere who are not allowed to receive Velcade because they are notionally responding (or could respond) to other therapy...even if that means partial response / stable disease. Medicare doesn't cover Velcade. BB's clinic covers people that are not covered by the government...and does so because the current system allows them to make enough money to do so.

We can address things like coverage for children under 18, and mandating that coverage cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions, without completely destroying the system that provides us with the best access to the best quality care in the world. There's a reason the vast majority of Myeloma research is done in the US!

Plus, consider this: when Medicare was launched, the government estimated 1990 costs would be $10 billion. Actually 1990 costs? TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY BILLION. If I was off by a factor of 29 in a critical estimate, I'd be fired. No such redress occurs in government.

Okay...soapbox mode off. I won't bring it up again! :) I am more than happy to discuss / debate this with any of you in a friendly fashion. However I would ask that if you want to do so, you do it via email to artisannvandyk at earthlink dot net, rather than in responses here, as I really don't want to turn this blog into a political forum...I just felt the need to vent on this issue since I've been thinking about it and since the five people in the doctor's office getting infused with me today were all opposed to it and scared to death about its implications for them.