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Monday, December 2, 2013

Birthday Boy

Gretchen and I spent my birthday today at the Farber.  Woohoo!  One might think that there would be better places to celebrate one's birthday, but I don't think so.  Without the Farber, I might not even have been around for this occasion, so perhaps it's fitting that I could celebrate it at the place that has gifted me with more birthdays.  It has been almost two and a half years since my diagnosis with MM, and I am still going strong.  The next milestone will be March 20, the 2-year anniversary of my "second" birthday, the day of my stem cell transplant.

The blood test results today were good again.  Some of the numbers I was concerned about last month have bounced back, and there is still no sign of any monoclonal gammopathy.  I'm still feeling good, and I haven't been quite as tired lately.  Maybe that's because my anemia numbers showed some improvement this month.  In any case, I am grateful for my continued remission.  Happy Birthday to me!

Today, we had the pleasure of meeting with fellow patient, Dee, for lunch in the Farber cafeteria before her appointment with Dr. Richardson.  It was really helpful to exchange our stories.  Her expertise in scanning electron microscope (SEM) imaging is intriguing.  As a previous sufferer of chronic Lyme Disease (as was I), she thinks she has found evidence of the Lyme bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) in her bone marrow samples using SEM.  Bb doesn't stay in the blood stream, as it burrows into various tissues in the body.  The available blood tests for Lyme can only check for antibodies that have been mobilized to fight the bacterial infection.  The only way to actually find the bacteria itself is to biopsy tissue samples, which has been done in some cases.  I think it would be really interesting and important to test bone marrow biopsy (BMB) samples for the possible presence of Bb in MM patients, as Dee has tried to do for herself.  There may be more sensitive means to do this than SEM, such as focus floating microscopy (FFM), but it would be worth trying to explore this potential connection in more detail.

It's intriguing to think that Bb can find its way into the bone marrow for Lyme Disease sufferers.  It's also intriguing to postulate that once it's there, this bacteria could trigger potential genetic mutations leading to MM.  Hmmm.  I'm just thinking out loud here (of course this is a figure of speech, as I'm writing not speaking, or would that be a "figure of text"?).

I know the medical community in general poo poohs any discussion or research into Lyme Disease for mysterious reasons that I'm sure have a lot to do with money.  But my prejudices aside, it might be difficult to have insurance companies pay for testing tissue samples for Bb without any established connection, so patients may have to shell out of their own pockets to have such a test done.

So the plot sickens.

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