Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Dog Ate My Homework...

Multiple Myeloma patients contribute some heady commentary full of intimidating statistics, analysis and the implications of various FDA drug trials. At times I feel like I'm sitting in science class without having completed my homework assignment.

My next clinic visit is Friday, January 20th, at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute here in Boston. (You may have heard of Boston as the home of Mr. Thomas Brady, the greatest quarterback in NFL history.) The oncology team at the Dana Farber is one of the nation's top teams in the battle against cancer.

My treatment over the past 10 years has been successful and it might be that I've taken the good work of my doctors and nurses for granted. They have taken me through a couple of rough spots and have found a balance between aggressively confronting the myeloma versus backing off when it seemed my immune system could do the work. Recently, my numbers have jumped a bit and I'm looking forward to Friday to see what the blood work and exam reveal.

I was last treated with revlimid in 2009 and have been in relatively good health with a zometa infusion every other month.

Trying to catch up with the class, I went back and reviewed what I think are important numbers. I have the kappa light chain version of mm and looked at those stats first:

  Date                                       kappa light chains range       (19.4mg/l is top of normal range)
Aug. 2010 to July 2011               80 to 85mg/l
Aug. 2011 to Nov 2011               100 to 106mg/l
Dec. 2011                                          140mg/l

In mid 2007, kappa light chains peaked at about 300 mg/l.

The Kappa/Lambda ratio registered at 29.412 in December 2011, vs 1.65 normal value.

Bilirubin December 2011 registered at 1.7 vs normal of 1.2 (not clear on the significance), so a touch high.

My creatinine is always 1.4 vs 1.3 normal, but the consistency of the value probably means I just don't drink enough water.

In general I feel a bit more fatigued than usual but I've avoided serious colds, bronchial infections and such, because the nurses attack like Seal Team Six at the first sign of a cough, rise in temperature, etc.

If you think I'm missing something, if there are more data points that I should be looking at, please feel free to advise. Thanks for checking in.


  1. I felt like I learned so much science when Mom was undergoing treatment and no matter how much was learned, there were so many "huh" moments. I Like to use the things I DID catch onto to make connections for students.

    1. JHN, Your comment is spot on. I've gained new admiration for the intellectual capacity of the doctors and nurses in the oncology world. It sounds like you are a teacher? The best teachers I remember were those who provided a real world context for the lesson at hand. Lucky kids!

      Thanks for checking in.