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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pin Cushion

Full Moon over Farm
I haven't updated this blog yet this week, since I spent from Monday to Wednesday up at the family farm in Champlain, New York with my son, Jeff, to open it up for the summer.   The Internet connections aren't so great up there, and besides, we were too busy having fun for me to worry about my blog.  The weather was great, and on Tuesday, we cooked porterhouse steaks over the charcoal grill for dinner (medium rare of course), and then sat around the fire pit smoking cigars, drinking beer, and just chatting.  It doesn't get any better than that!  It was a full moon, and the clouds scudding across the sky were breathtakingly beautiful in the moon light.  I took this picture with my iPhone, which kinda sucks, but Jeff got some really great pictures with his professional Canon camera.  I can't wait to see how his turned out.  Gallery quality, I would guess.  Alas, we had to come back yesterday so Jeff could pick up his girlfriend, Christine, at Logan Airport on her flight back from Paris.  (Most of our family have been world travelers lately going hither and yon!)  Short as it was, we still had a great visit to the farm.  It's always a relaxing, wonderful experience when we can get there.  We plan to head back up for the Fourth of July weekend.  Can't wait!

On my way to the farm, I went back to the Farber Monday morning to see if I had recovered from my cold and to check my numbers after a week without Revlimid.  It was all good.  My pathology results from last month still show no signs of monoclonal gammopathy (yay!).  The antibiotic prescription they gave me last week worked fine, so I was back in good health.  Interestingly, my white blood cell count (WBC) and hematocrit (HCT) both jumped back up into the normal range!  Wow!  My WBC was 4.1 and HCT was 38.8.  While my continued use of iron supplements has helped these numbers a bit, the most logical explanation for the big jump is that my week off the Rev really helped.  I have been worried about my continued anemia over the past several years, but these latest results give me some encouragement.  First, I think the iron supplements are slowly restoring my blood counts to normal.  And second, I think the Revlimid is responsible for a lot of my lower counts, even though I am taking the minimum dose of 5 mg/day.  I did forget to take my Rev to the farm, so I got an extra 2 days off.  My bad!  Anyway, I am now back on my normal daily regimen of Rev.  I also turned in a 24-hour urine sample on Monday, the first time since January.  The results have now come back showing no monoclonal protein in my urine (another yay!).  I couldn't be happier with my progress so far.  I consider myself extremely lucky.

I finally got my immunization shots, which have been put off for months because of a cold or forgetfulness or whatever.  Anyway, I got a full dose of five shots on Monday, three in my left arm and two in my right.  I felt like a pin cushion.  Here's what I got:  Polio, Pneumococcal, Hepatitis A&B, Hib, and DTaP.  The Hib is some kind of anti-meningitis vaccine, and the DTaP is the typical diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine given to all 2-year olds.  My new immune system is now two years old, so I guess it's time for me to get all these baby vaccines taken care of.  By the way, Heather, my favorite nurse, gave me the shots, and they didn't hurt at all, even though she hates giving them.  Only later in the day when I was up at the farm did I notice that my arms ached a bit.  No big deal.  I'm really used to being poked, prodded, and stuck by now.

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