The New Normal…It’s not so Normal

Health Update: I visited Mayo Clinic on August 27th and my oncologist there is pleased with how treatments are going. We discussed what’s next for treatment after this chemo stops working and there are options including a CarT Cell Therapy, which is the closest thing to remission and in time a possible cure. That’s very exciting.

I just completed my 15th cycle of Darzalex/Pomalyst/Dexamethasone yesterday. Counts are staying higher with steroids, with the exception of Platelets, they aren’t even hitting what’s considered low normal, but they are keeping at around 100,000. Low Normal is 150,000. In labs this week, there was a cancer marker that is being watched closely. Other than that my ANC was very low, so I’m back to wearing the mask.

IVIG infusion today, which is helping keep my immune system stronger.

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Since this blog is pertaining to my journey with cancer, it’s important that I start at the beginning.

It was on December 15, 2014 that I first heard of Multiple Myeloma or Plasma Cell Leukemia. That was the day that my life changed forever. What I’d come to know as a “normal” life was no more. There was a “new normal” filled with doctors appointments, transfusions, hospitalizations, chemotherapy and flying every other month to Mayo Clinic to see a Multiple Myeloma Specialist.

I’ve always struggled with my weight, but I had spent that year and a half concentrating on losing weight and I’d been successful. Through diet and exercise I had lost 75 lbs and feeling fabulous. Something didn’t make sense, you see, I was in the best physical shape of my life, or so I thought. I was determined and faithful to my 5:00 am at least three days a week, usually waiting for the YMCA staff to open the door. When I started working out, I could not run on the treadmill for 30 seconds, but I’d conditioned myself well and was running three miles at 9 minutes per mile every time I went to the gym. So, how could I have cancer?

In September, I developed an upper respiratory infection. After an exam my doctor gave me a prescription for an antibiotic. I mentioned that I was having pain down the front of my legs. She said it was probably from running, which made sense, so I took the antibiotic and lightened up on the running.

Still sick, I returned to my doctor in October. The pain in my legs continued and was a little worse, even though I had lightened up on my workout and bought a new pair of running shoes. Again, she wrote a prescription for a stronger antibiotic, added an inhaler and dismissed the leg pain as being varicose veins because I was, after all, “in my 40’s.”

On November 25th, still sick, I returned to the doctor, this time seeing the nurse practitioner. After explaining what I’d been through the past couple of months, including the leg pain, she did a blood test called a CBC, I was told I’d hear back in a couple of days with the results, however, I was called that evening and told that I was severely anemic and would need a blood transfusion the following morning, which happened to be the day before Thanksgiving. It would be the first of many blood transfusions that would be needed in the coming weeks. A follow-up appointment with my doctor the next week led to a referral to a Hematologist because there were abnormalities seen on the CBC results.

It was on December 15th, 2014, when the elevators opened to the fifth floor that I saw the words “Hematologist/ONCOLOGIST” that I knew the “abnormalities” seen in the CBC test were very serious.

<Stay tuned, my journey continues in next week’s blog.>

Life, Love and Cancer Ribbons,

Amy

2 thoughts on “The New Normal…It’s not so Normal

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