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Monday, March 10, 2014

Start of Cycle 20

Today was my monthly Farber visit.  I got up early to hit the road for my 9:15 am appointment.  I left about 7:30 and fought the rush hour traffic for over an hour and a half, getting there just a few minutes early.  I then found out that I had the wrong appointment time--I wasn't due until 10:45!  I don't know how that mix up occurred, but I was stuck with an extra hour and a half wait.  It was not an auspicious start for the day.  I was planning to have lunch with a friend, Denise, after my appointment, so I had to cancel that.

Then, while waiting for my blood draw and IV insertion for my Zometa infusion, their computer system went down, so that pushed everything back another 20 minutes or so.  That's OK though.  I'm trying to learn to just relax and go with the flow when this stuff happens.  Well, maybe not completely.  My blood pressure was a little high when I had my vitals taken, so I guess I was still a little annoyed.

I have been taking iron supplements for the last 2 months, so I was supposed to have my iron levels checked today, but that wasn't on their list.  Things just weren't going smoothly today.

The good news is that when I met with Mary and Muriel, my pathology reports from last month still show no M-spike or monoclonal protein.  That's great!  This begins Cycle 20 of my maintenance therapy, and so far, so good.  That added some perspective to my day.  How trivial are these minor inconveniences I've been grumbling about compared to the news that I am still in remission!  I mean really, this is a good day.

Mary put in an order to have my iron profile tested today while getting my Zometa infusion.  After I got home, I checked for the results on the Dana Farber Patient Gateway website.  I was disappointed to learn that after 2 months of iron supplements, my iron level is still quite low.  The result was 34 ug/dL, vs. a normal range of 49-181.  That's up from my January level of 24, but not by much.  My ferritin only increased from 10 to 11 (normal range 20-400).  Also, my TIBC only dropped from 507 to 492, with the normal range being 250-450.  I'm a little concerned by this.  This persistent iron deficiency, along with my other chronic anemia situation (low HCT & Hgb), has me puzzled.  I'm going to continue taking iron supplements, but I'm not sure what good they are doing.  I haven't had an occult blood test yet, so I'm thinking of checking in with my PCP to make sure I don't have any internal bleeding.

I still don't have any results yet from my bone marrow biopsy from last week.  Those results might be available later this week.  That will be the real test of the depth of my remission.  I'm still a little sore from the procedure, so I will make it a definite point to request my favorite PA to do the BMB next time.

On my other cancers of interest, I have a mohs surgery scheduled for Wednesday on the "possible invasive squamous cell carcinoma" on my right cheek.  I also have an excision surgery scheduled for April 2 for the "well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma" on my right arm.  Never a dull moment!

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