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Saturday, November 30, 2013


So far, this has been a delightful holiday season.  Last weekend, we drove to New Jersey to visit with Brian, Pam, and our grandson, Logan.  We had a wonderful time!   We were then able to celebrate Thanksgiving at our house with sons Jason and Jeff, along with Jeff's girlfriend Christine and her mom.  The only ones missing from this holiday week reunion were our daughter Holly and her boyfriend Ryan, who are in San Francisco.  But they are coming back home for Christmas, when the whole family will finally be together, if only for a short while.

Yesterday, my college roommate, Steve, and his wife, Sue, came to visit and stayed over until today.  Some of you who follow my blog might recall some of his comments along the way, which he often signs OCRM  (Old College Room Mate).  Okay, Steve, you've just been outed!  We had fun reminiscing about the old days at MIT.  For some reason, most of his stories were usually at my expense.  Why is that?

Then today, to top it off, we got together with our close friends, Bobby and Cathy, and their family to continue our tradition of going to a local tree farm and cutting down our Christmas trees.  After that we celebrated in front of a roaring fire with hot chili and other treats.  Not too shabby!  I guess the Christmas season is now here.  It's time for us to be jolly and don our gay apparel (fa la la), but I don't have any pink shirts!

Monday, Gretchen and I are going into the Farber for my monthly blood test and Zometa infusion.  I am excited about being able to meet another MM patient there, Dee, who has an appointment with Dr. Richardson that day.  We have communicated before, and I wrote about her story in a previous post:  new-twist-on-lyme/mm-connection.  She has also suffered from chronic Lyme Disease, and I am anxious to learn more from her about her experiences.  I am slowly piecing together some of the stories I have gotten from a number of people about their experiences with Lyme or other autoimmune diseases and MM.  Dee has one of the more interesting stories, connecting with a rare disease, NXG. 

There was a story in yesterday's Boston Globe North Section about a local State senator, Brad Hill, who has recently been diagnosed with MM.  As it turns out, Dr. Richardson is his oncologist, and he is quoted several times in the article.  Here is a link to the article:  state-rep-brad-hill-stays-job-while-undergoing-cancer-treatment.  Paul Richardson is a big fan of metaphors.  When I was first diagnosed with MM, Paul described a coordinated attack on MM by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, which included MLN-9708, Revlimid, Dex, and Zometa.  It was a very inspiring story as I sat in his office that first day, stunned with the realization that I had just been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.  He has also used the metaphor of a mongoose and a python, where aggressive early treatment puts the MM python in a basket, and further maintenance therapy is the mongoose that keeps the python in the basket.

In this Globe article, Richardson adds some more colorful metaphors to his MM repertoir, and I quote:  “The metaphor I use is that the stem cells are like salmon,” said Richardson.  “You catch them, and put them in the freezer, and you give them back to the patient and reinfuse them, just like a blood transfusion. The miracle of nature is these little guys, just like salmon, swim back to where they’re born, and regrow in the bone marrow.  Whereas Brad previously had, kind of, crabgrass in his bone marrow from the myeloma, after this chemotherapy all the crabgrass is wiped out. Then the little salmon come back, they repopulate the bone marrow . . . then you get Kentucky bluegrass.”

It's really comforting for me to know that I now have Kentucky bluegrass rather than crabgrass in my bone marrow.  I've always liked Kentucky bluegrass.


  1. Dr. Richardson may like metaphors, but he needs to get them correct. The mongoose and the cobra are traditional enemies in India. I doubt that a mongoose would stand a chance against a python. I remember reading the story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling back in grade school. In it Rikki saves his human family from two vicious cobras.

    1. Hi OCRM, I think Richardson used the correct metaphor. I'm the one who substituted python for cobra. My bad!

  2. I've always heard that it is better to be on top of the grass rather than under it. I'm not sure what to think about having grass inside of you.