Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Belated reporting of last checkup

Where has the time gone?  Children are back in school, my band (a time-consuming project) has been rehearsing for a brief European tour of sorts, and my job remains a demanding one.  Life is busy!

I had a good checkup in Arkansas.  I remain in complete remission.  But it wasn't a perfect one.

First, there was a brief scare when my bone marrow biopsy came back with 13% plasma cells in the aspirate, 10% in the core.  Recall, gentle readers, that the core marrow is more important since that is where new cells are being generated.

At any rate, such a level of plasma cells was deemed "abnormal plasmacytosis" on my chart, with several studies still ongoing.  The core was negative for myeloma, so that much was good...but I didn't like the number of plasma cells.

I was pretty unnerved for about an hour until the physician's assistant CR came in and said it was likely high because I was recovering from a cold.  He had a cold himself, and suggested that his plasma cells were probably 30% right now.  Even as I exhaled, my mind went back to a conversation with Kathy Giusti from around my diagnosis where she had said that it's a bad idea to have a blood test, even, when you have a cold since immunoglobins all shoot up at that time.  Well, the blood was negative for Myeloma, and it all looked good.  But I think there was some residual reaction from my immune system, hence the plasma cells.  In any case, no big deal.

I was somewhat saddened, though, to look at the MRI and see that the last four little lesions in my spine are stable -- I was hoping they would fully resolve.  BB was somewhat perturbed by this same thing.  So he prescribed more Zometa.  I'll return in six months, and we'll see what things look like then.  In the meantime, I'll continue to get my cancer markers every two weeks from the lab out here.  I anticipate there'll be nothing of note.

Twelve more months of maintenance, hopefully, and then we'll see how to transition off drugs and what my immune system looks like.  Will I be on Acyclovir for the rest of my life?  Will I need to be reimmunized?  Can I expect my immune system to recover and behave normally?  Interesting and important questions for a Myeloma patient.

There's more to report but work calls...so I'll fill you in on the other stuff in the days ahead.