Friday, September 28, 2012

Slap Down

The cancer can live in my body  as long as it wants, provided it's a quiet tenant.  And when it gets out of hand,  
we slap it down.
Jill Cohen

Today, when I opened up the Fall 2012 issue of Cure magazine, the first thing I saw was this quote.  It was highlighted in an article entitled "The Estrogen Effect."  Jill Cohen learned she had metastatic breast cancer in 2002 but she has long outlived the statistical odds.

As a multiple myeloma survivor, this quote really spoke to me. I know that even though I am in remission, myeloma is always lurking in the background.  Yesterday, I saw my oncologist and got my latest blood work results.  My WBC had come up to 3900 from 3100 and my RBC was up a bit, although, still below normal.  Platelets and neutrophils were both in the normal range.  While my kappa and lambda light chains were in the normal range, my lambda chain has been trending upward  for several months.  I don't like that.  Will it exceed the normal range in a month when I am checked again? Will it be in two months? Will it be next year? One can never know.  This is quite worrisome to me but my doctor keeps me under close surveillance and if the evil myeloma cells start misbehaving, they won't get very far in their deadly work before they are discovered. Then it will be time for a slap down!  Thank God for the many advances in treatments for multiple myeloma.

Even though my lambda chain isn't behaving the way I want it to, I have had several months of feeling well and enjoying life again and I plan on continuing. I have started yoga and I am volunteering at the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership.  It feels good to be back navigating the real world instead of the medical world.

Aislinn Striking a Pose Again
What a lovely bundle of paws she has.  She is quite the beautiful lady.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Change of Perspective

Don't regret growing old. It is a privilege denied to many. It is hard to see those wrinkles and tough to watch your hair grey but you're lucky when you get a chance to.                                                                          The Bridge
 It struck me this summer that there are two big things I don't have to worry about anymore. Before I became ill, I worried about getting old.  I didn't spend a lot of time dwelling on it; I just noticed there were more wrinkles, a few grey hairs and my body wasn't as agile and energetic as it once was.  Being in my early sixties it was obvious that I had probably lived over two thirds of my life given my genetic history.  I didn't fret about it much but I did think about it.  Now that I have been diagnosed with incurable cancer, I hope and pray that I continue to get old! Living to be 70 or 80 sounds positively wonderful - wrinkles and all! Everything is relative.
The second thing I don't fear anymore is being diagnosed with cancer. When this thought came to me, I did have to chuckle at the absurdity of it. Thinking about someday having cancer wasn't something I ever spent a lot of time on but, like everyone else, I always hoped it wouldn't be part of my life.  Well, now it is and I don't have to worry about being blindsided by it.  If I relapse, which I probably will someday of course,  I will be tremendously upset.  However, it will never be like hearing for the first time, "You have multiple myeloma and it is incurable."  Isn't it interesting how one's perspective can change in light of a cancer diagnosis?
On Wednesday, I saw my oncologist for the first time in two months. It was good to see him since he has become such an important part of my life and I so enjoy his sense of humor. Having an oncologist who can make me laugh is a blessing in my book. The results of my blood work were mixed.  The best news was my kappa and lambda light chains and ratio are still in the normal range.  The not so good news was my WBC took a bit of a nosedive from 4300 to 3100.  That was really disappointing to me because I have been feeling so well and have started getting "back into my life" as I stated in the last post.   I couldn't help but worry even though I know my WBC has dropped before.  I have been feeling somewhat gloomy the last few days because of this and I am working to overcome that.
Last Monday, my husband and daughter and I rode on the Great Seattle Wheel which is located on the waterfront.  It was a stunningly beautiful day and Seattle never looked more scenic.  It was another small moment to savor.
The Great Seattle Wheel
 View While Waiting in Line
Washington State Ferry
Space Needle
I couldn't resist : )
Beautiful Girl, Lily