Tuesday, November 17, 2009

...I think it's good!

This week I'm in my "one-week off" mode until Friday. Last Friday I went in for my checkup to confirm how the first two weeks of RVD have impacted my system. I'm not an expert (but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night) but I have developed a bit of a background on what means what and I've been tracking bloodwork and numbers in a spreadsheet since September last year. And I have to say the results have been quite amazing to me! Here's the breakdown of everything.

Basic blood counts have stayed what they've been in recent months.
- WBC counts are in normal range
- RBC counts are low averaging around 3.4 (should be 4.16>5.72)
- Hemoglobin and Hematocrit are also low 11.4 and 33.5 respectively
(should be 13.5>18 and 38.7>49.9 respectively)

Total Protein was the original indicator that helped me identify the fact that I had Multiple Myeloma. Since September of last year that value has never been less than a 9 (should be 6.9>8.9). As of last Friday my total protein count was 7.9. That's down from 11.9 the previous check (and 11.5 and 10.8 the two times prior.)

Globulin is another factor that is monitored. In Sept '08 it was at 4.0, since then it's been fluctuating in the mid-6's (normal would be between 2.3>4.2). My last three checks were 8, 7.1 and 6.7. As of Friday that number was down to 4.1.

Calcium, which is used to identify the fact that potential bone degeneration is taking place, is another flag. Normal is 8.5>10.5 and my last three visits were 10.8, 10.4 and 9.7. Friday's visit was 8.7 (on the low side of normal).

The type of Multiple Myeloma I have is IGA Lambda. This signifies that the protein antibody that is present and overtaking the marrow is IGA (vs IGG or IGM) and is working in tandem with a "Lambda" Free Light Chain (vs Free Kappa and only appropriate as my fraternity was Lambda Chi Alpha!). The norm for IGA is 70>400 and my lowest count has been 2,900 but my average has been around 3,800. Most recently the numbers were 4116, 4370 and 3951 and that increase was the cause for taking the next step to the RVD regime. The free lambda numbers should be between 6.1>29.7 and most recently were 344, 357 and 379.

As of Friday IGA was 1759 and free Lambda was 69.7.

So what does this mean - well I had to read one of the Doc's messages twice to realize he actually did say these results were "fantastic". The other doc said this is a good sign. Neither of them is quite as impressed with the results as I am but then again, I'm always impressed with myself ;) Bottom line, the results are good. This Friday begins Cycle2. Before that, I have my regular doctor visit so I'll be able to see what, if any, changes have taken place in my 'week off'. Till then, here's to keeping the numbers low!

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