Sunday, July 29, 2007

Not detectable!

There actually is time to worry, after all. When the doctor told me he might want to do a bone marrow test for myeloma if my blood counts continued to go down, I experienced some anticipatory anxiety, best relieved by thinking of something positive. My positive thought was being so glad that Gene is now 13 instead of 10.

Instead, though, we did a simple blood test for the protein that the myeloma puts out, and it came back "not detectable"! That made me happy enough not to need my lubricant eye drops (which help with the eye irritation that the magnesium saline IV can cause).

End of story? No, because we don't know why it's not detectable. We'd like it to be because the new immune system is attacking the myeloma, but as the doctor said, "Ask me again in a year." It might be gone because of the autologous transplant in November, combined with the conditioning for the donor transplant in March.

In addition, I still have a number of battles left to fight. For instance, the CMV has activated again, and I'm on antiviral medicine which is helping. I also have to continue tapering off of the anti-rejection drugs, and watch for graft vs host disease.

For these reasons, I've realized that I can't work full-time. I'm trying to even remember why I wanted to, but it probably was to try to get back to normal, and not have this still affecting me so much. At this point I'm just glad that the disability programs offered at my company are as good as they are.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gone home

You can tell when someone goes home from a situation like this, no more updates! I've been wanting to write an update, but honestly, there's a lot of living out there to do. A 14 mile bicycle ride on a wonderful wooded trail, a 1000' gain hike in the Columbia River Gorge, walks to the Saturday farmers market downtown, and being with family and friends.

As I told the doctor today, I'm still concerned about getting GVHD (graft vs host disease), and about not getting it which might mean that I won't get the graft vs myeloma effect either. But I'm enjoying life so much that there's no time to worry about it.

Actually, what I was concerned was GVHD the last 2 days is more likely some minor skin infections due to my white cell counts being so low. That's a side effect of some of the medications I'm on. But as you imagined, there's a medicine for that, too!

Am I happy to be home? Absolutely, despite the unpacking, which isn't quite finished yet. I miss some of the people I grew fond of in Seattle, but not the kitchen flooring of the apartment. I was amazed to visit my buddy Chuck last week and find the same kitchen flooring! I didn't really want to see it again, but it was a good test of my mental stability. I think I passed.

Now it's just live and love and see what happens.