Thursday, January 8, 2009

Big C Update

Each month when I visit the oncologist, I get an elaborate version of "a poke and a piss." I bring with me a 24-hour urine collection, and they draw 3-5 tubes of blood before I see the doc. Before I get my IV of bone-strengthening drug (Zometa), they check the creatinine level. They mail the rest of the blood test results.

Each month, I feel like a big dope because I have no idea what these 2-3 pages* of results means. And for the last couple of months, I really haven't cared, because my back hurts, every day. Either I have a new fracture(s), or there are lesions/tumors causing problems. I also continue to have troubling neuropathy issues in both hands.

I don't care if I'm in remission or not. I don't care what the lab says. Those are just numbers on paper. Here's my new plan. When anyone asks me how I am, I'll say “Great! Never better! Best day of my life!” even if I'm curled like a pretzel and gasping through clenched teeth. And I'll get those double bonus points for Positive Attitude.

*The front page, from the doc, offers some multiple choice options for him to check. I went from "in remission" (November) to "improving" (December), which felt like a demotion. Abnormal protein is 3mg/d. IgA is 133, within the normal range of 60-400. IgG is low (540, normal 700-1500) as is IgM (29, normal 60-300). My WBC and platelets continue to improve. Free Light Chains are as follow: Kappa Light Chains Free Ser 41.70H (normal 3.3-19.4); Lambda LC Free Ser 4.52L (5.71-26.3); Kappa/Lambda Ser Ratio 9.23H (0.26-1.65). November report includes this immunology interpretation: "Multiple small monoclonal bands are present in the IgG, kappa and lambda lanes. Oligoclonal gammopathy." And December's interpretation is "An oligoclonal pattern is identified by immunofixation electropheresis." I have no idea if that's better or worse.

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