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Tuesday, March 19, 2013


At 7:02 am Eastern Daylight Time tomorrow, March 20, 2013, the sun will cross the celestial equator, an event known as the Vernal Equinox, signalling the official start of spring.  Looking outside tonight, after the latest in a succession of recent snowstorms, it's almost hard to believe, but it's true.  This marks the advent of rebirth, renewal and growth, a time to emerge from the darkness of winter and enjoy the freshness of spring.  Here at home, we too are emerging from the darkness of Gretchen's accident into her time of rebirth, renewal and hope, as she valiantly struggles to recover her full physical and mental capabilities.  The recent news has been good.  Yesterday, her neurosurgeon, Dr. Altman, said her latest CT scan looks great, she's doing fine, and she doesn't have to come back to see him any more.  Gretchen told him she felt "Very, very, very, lucky".  He looked back at her and said, "You are very, very, very lucky".  I might add that I am also very, very, very lucky.

I also had my monthly visit to the Farber yesterday.  My neutrophil counts are still low (1,113), but high enough to keep taking my Revlimid maintenance therapy for the next cycle.  My other numbers were pretty stable, so I guess I'm still doing fine.  I won't get the results of my blood and urine electrophoresis results for a few more days.  In addition to my Zometa infusion, I also got more immunization shots...6 of them!  Ouch!  They included DTP, Hib, Hepatitis B, Meningococcal, Pneunonia, and Polio vaccines.  I felt like a pin cushion. 

Pat Killingsworth recently posted on his blog a video with Dr. Richardson.  It is meant to be a continuing education course for medical professionals.  It is a great discussion between Dr. Richardson and Dr. Jesus San Miguel from Spain on "Practical Strategies for Maintenance Therapy in Patients with Multiple Myeloma".  Here is the link:
Some people have had trouble opening it, but it worked fine for me.  It is a terrific discussion of the advantages of using maintenance drugs (Revlimid or Velcade) to promote long-term remission of MM.  I felt like they were talking about me, as I am almost a "poster geezer" for the approach they discuss, including the advantages of a consolidation phase.  I mentioned this video to my nurses, Mary and Muriel, yesterday, and they both plan to watch it and get the CEU credits for it!  Good!  I want them to be as up to date as I am on MM treatment options (just kidding!).

Tomorrow is also special to me for other reasons.  In 1975, my father died on February 13 at the age of 70 years, 108 days.  He was always very special to me, and despite his many faults, I admired him greatly.  I have missed him a lot over these years.  He abused his body by smoking his entire life, and his final years with emphazema were not pleasant.  I have often wondered if I might live beyond his years.  My recent diagnosis of MM had given me some doubts about that.  No longer.  Tomorrow, I will have lived 70 years, 108 days.  Unless I croak before this post is published, I will have reached that milestone.

However, as interesting as that may be, tomorrow marks an even more important milestone in my life.  One year ago, I lay in Brigham and Women's Hospital awaiting my Autologous Stem Cell Transplant, nervous, a little scared, and uncertain about my future.  Tomorrow, on March 20, my new bone marrow will be one year old.  It's my first birthday!  As with the Queen of England, I now have two birthdays, December 2 and March 20.  I am a very lucky guy to have had a remarkable recovery and still be in good health and in remission on my first birthday.  I am very grateful.  Happy Birthday to me!!


  1. Congratulations on good news for both you & your wife! My stem cell birthday will be April 18 and am on rev maintenance but have enough side effects (headaches, gi issues, feeling tired) that I am considering if I am going to continue. Would love to hear talk on Rev Maintenance--did you have to join Medscape? When I hit link, it says I have to join. Here's to a happy, healthy spring for us all! Carol in NC

    1. Hi Carol, I guess you might have to join Medscape to see the video, but it's free. I would suggest it would be worth it for you to join and see the discussion on this topic. One thing they both emphasize is that maintenance therapy should be moderated so as to minimize major side effects. If your side effects are getting in the way, perhaps a lower dose of Rev or an interrupted schedule might be in order. Also, they discuss the concept that maintenance therapy shouldn't be forever. At some point, you need to stop before a new, more resistant clone surfaces. Good luck with your maintenance therapy and Happy Birthday in advance!

  2. Congratulations and Happy Birthday. Are you now born again? When you were getting all of those shots, did you think about how your kids must have felt when they got all of their shots and were too young to understand why they were being stuck with big needles? Steve in FL

    1. Hi Steve, Also, think about the male babies who get circumcised right after birth. They must think, "Damn, I liked it better in there."