Thursday, June 4, 2009
Positive News at Doctor's Appt. Today :)
Today was my monthly visit with Dr. Nair. Actually, I go to the doctor's office once a week to have blood drawn and have a complete blood count done (CBC) in the office, to check on what those little bugger white, red, hematicrits and and hemoglobins are doing as well as checking on my levels of coumadin, a blood thinner, which I have to take to prevent blood clots from forming (a common side effect of chemo). All tests came back pretty good...a little low on RBCs but that seems to be my norm, and nothing that needed additional attention. I have always tended to run low RBCs throughout this entire Multiple Myeloma shindig, which will give you anemia, so that's the reason I tend to feel fatigued most of the time. They are not low enough to take some sort of action (ie transfusion), just low enough to be a pain in the ass and make me feel tired! I just do my best to ignore it as best I can, and and go about "business as usual" :) One of the many things I love about Dr. Nair, is I am NEVER rushed when I see him. It's actually almost the opposite! Not only do we go over all the medical "stuff", but he takes more than enough time to find out how I am actually doing (mentally, spiritually etc). How many doctors do you know who do this? Most doctors I have ever gone to in the past, well you know how it is....they seem to be in a race to get in under the allotted 1o minute obligatory time frame allowed. The more patients you see, the more money you make. That sounds so cynical, but sorry to say, it is basically true. It's the way the medical system is set up. My doctor shares new information about MM that he is newly made aware of whether it be through his personal reading or seminars or talking to other doctors, and he just got back from the ASCO yearly meeting, and said he will photocopy all applicable MM material and give it to me at my next visit. Again, he knows I like being an informed consumer and that I appreciate staying up-to-date on my disease, so he is willing to share, all the new ideas, drugs and studies going on that have to do with MM. I really love my doctor for all these reasons and more. Today during my visit, I broached the topic of being at the 2 1/2 year mark since diagnosis and since most (all?) literature say the standard life expectancy is 3-5 years, I asked him what he felt about that as it pertains to me and my particular type of MM. He told me those are "old" numbers and that at this point in time, there have been and continue to be sooooo many advances in the research for MM that those numbers are meaningless at this point. He told me with as little chemo as I have had on this 2nd go round and having my MM numbers as low as they are, we are going to stay the course because I am responding so well. I then asked about the use of Velcade (another semi-new drug being used in MM, instead of the dex) as I had read that it had better results than the dexamethasone I am currently on and he said that he would have considered using it with my current arsenal, but again, because of my positive reaction to the current regime I am on, he is "saving" that for when I truly need it. He is stacking up a bunch of "big guns", in case this becomes a "war", rather than just the battle that it currently is. I am considered to be in "partial remission" at this time, which is the next category down from remission. It means that yes, I am showing there are MM cells in my body, but they are in the normal range and not wreaking any havoc at this time.