Search This Blog

Friday, December 15, 2017

Is Anybody Still Listening?

I was somewhat relieved to discover that my blog account has not been mothballed due to my long absence.  It's been seven months since my last update.  My how time flies!  So, here I am, still alive and kicking.  I've had a lot of encouragement over the past few months to update my blog, but somehow I have kept procrastinating.  I have finally overcome whatever mental or writer's block has kept me away.  There's been a lot of water under the bridge or over the dam since then, but I promise not to bore you with too many details.

On the Multiple Myeloma front, I am pleased and grateful to report that I am still in remission.  It has been almost 6 1/2 years since my initial diagnosis.  At that time, expected life expectancies were about 5-7 years.  By that reckoning, my time should be about up by now.  But I was fortunate to find myself at the vanguard of the new novel therapies which have transformed the MM landscape and extended survival times.  While I have no illusions that this can go on indefinitely, I feel pretty good about my prospects right now.

I seem to be healthy in most other respects.  My blood counts and chemistry numbers are mostly in the normal range, except for my white blood cell and neutrophil counts.  These are normally suppressed due to my Revlimid maintenance therapy, which is why I have to have them checked monthly to make sure they don't drop too low.

Oh yes, and my bilirubin generally runs high, also due to the Revlimid.  Bilirubin is a liver-related number, with a normal range below 1.2.  Mine usually runs about 1.7, but all my other liver-related numbers have been in the normal range.   A couple of months ago, my bilirubin jumped up to 2.5. Oops.  Since it relates to liver function, I thought that maybe I had been imbibing too many Blue Moons (my favorite beer), so I decided to cut back on my intake.  The next month, the number dropped back to 1.7, and then this past Monday, it fell further to 1.5, well within my normal range.  I don't know if my drinking had anything to do with the elevated number, but I think I will continue to monitor my Blue Moon consumption going forward.

On other health matters, I still have issues with skin cancer.  I continue to pay the price for my youthful indiscretions of willfully basking, baking and broiling my lily white Irish skin in the sun. I recently had three more squamous cell carcinomas diagnosed.  The one on my cheek was surgically removed two weeks ago, and the other two on my chest and back were removed by freezing with liquid nitrogen.  Unfortunately, I just found out that the dermatologist didn't get all of the one on my cheek, so another surgery is necessary.  I'm kicking myself for having this done locally in Newburyport rather than going into Boston as I did last March.  Now I have to go back into Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and have Dr. Schmults do a Mohs surgery to get the rest of it, which I should have done in the first place.  Live and learn.  Sigh!

Thanksgiving was a really special time this year.  We had the whole family here for a change.  Brian, Pam, and Logan drove up from New Jersey, Holly and Ryan flew in from San Francisco, Jason came from Hartford, and Jeff and Christine came along with her mother and sister.  As an added bonus, Gretchen's God daughter, Stephanie, joined us from Beacon, New York.  We had a delicious turkey dinner with all the fixin's for the 13 of us.  I must modestly admit that I did an admirable job roasting the 20 pound turkey on the grill.  Gretchen did a great job with the spinach pie and other goodies.  I have a lot to be thankful for!  Who knows how many more times we can gather the whole clan together again?

Now for the big news.  Considering our advancing ages and health issues, we recently decided to seize the day and travel while we both can.  Fortunately, Gretchen has been recovering nicely from her surgeries, so she should be able to manage the stress of an extended vacation.  We have wanted to travel to Southeast Asia for a long time now, so in September, I tried to find a Viking Cruise in that region.  Almost everything was sold out for the entire winter season, but there was only one slot available for the entire season that I grabbed immediately.  On December 28, Gretchen and I are headed to Southeast Asia for a Viking Cruise on the Mekong River!  Our itinerary includes 3 nights in Bangkok, then we fly to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for 3 nights.  We then board a river boat to cruise up the Mekong River for the next 7 days, stopping in various Vietnamese and Cambodian villages, including Phnom Penh.  We then go by bus to Siem Reap, where we spend the next 3 days exploring the Angkor Wat area.  Then we fly to Hanoi to spend the last 3 days of our trip.  We fly back to Boston on January 15.  What an exciting adventure this should be!

Now for the kicker.  I had a birthday lunch with best friend and business partner, Bahar, last week.  (Yes, I just turned 75.)  We both talked about our travel plans, and Bahar said he and Katherine are headed to South Vietnam after Christmas.  Really?  As it turns out, they are taking the exact same Viking Mekong River Cruise that we are!  Almost as astounding, their stateroom is #307, right next to ours #305.  Now what are the chances of that?  Come on, really!  Bahar and I have shared many coincidental experiences in our lives, such as our sons, Brian and Jason, being born a day apart in the same hospital with the same doctor, with their mothers sharing the same room.  That was pretty weird.  But this one takes the cake!  This should be a lot of fun!

Maybe I'll update this blog when we return.  But then again, with my history, maybe I won't.

Happy Holidays!!!




10 comments:

  1. Hi.. my husband was diagnosed the fall of 2014 at the age of 70.. so please know that your blogs continue to give us hope and encouragement as we continue on this journey.. so yes I am listening and rejoicing in your ability to travel and celebrate with friends and family. Merry Christmas. Happy healthy New year and safe travels.. Karen O'Brien

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen. Thank you for your warm response to my blog post. I appreciate it very much. How is your husband doing these days? I hope his therapy has helped bring it under control. I wish you and your husband all the best. Have a wonderful Christmas, and I hope your New Year is a healthy, happy one. All the best, Bill

      Delete
  2. it all sounds good Bill. happy new year and enjoy your travels!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved reading this, just ran across it. I have MM too, 62 and in remission since July asct. It's been really really hard, I couldn't have imagined the full spectrum I've been through. I feel really good now though. I decided to not take any post treatment meds, just couldn't take any more. Mine was very advanced and unresponsive to the novel drugs so I got a lot of old style chemo and just want to give my body mind and spirit a chance to heal and detox. I was got with horrible anxiety and depression after treatment, it really wopped me, but it's much better now. I love that it's going well for you and wish you a GREAT time on your vacay. These blogs and testimonies from people like you have been life giving to me. 🤗

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Wendy, for your good wishes. I'm so sorry the novel drugs haven't worked for you, but I'm so glad you're in remission now and feeling better. There is so much happening now in new therapy options that should give you great hope for the future. You have a great attitude, and I think that's half the battle. Good luck to you!

      Delete
  4. Yes we are still listening! I hope you had a fabulous trip. My husband and I have been doing trips we never expected to do because of the MM. Seize the day!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sheri! I agree with you. Carpe Diem! Our trip was awesome, and we've decided that we are going to keep traveling and see the world while we still can. Great advice!

      Delete
  5. ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS WITH HIS HERB MY WIFE WAS COMPLETELY CURED FROM MYELOMA
    Is my pleasure to comment on this site and i thank the admin of this site for his/her great work so far.one of the happiest moment in my life was when the doctor confirm that my wife is been free from this illness. this awesome moments makes me the happiest man on earth, I really don't know how to thank DR WILLIAMS for helping my wife get cured for over how many year of suffering from myeloma. i came across DR Williams contact through a headline news on internet about how DR Williams help a woman to get cured of her myeloma and so many other with similar body problem ,i contacted him and he told me how to get his herb,few day later he sent me the herbal portion which my wife take every morning for 28 days, and his medicine was able to cure her completely from myeloma. and now she very mush okay without any side effects whatsoever, If you have myeloma , you can contact him on his email address drwilliams098675@gmail.com for advice and for his product.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hiv disease for the last 3 years and had pain hard to eat and cough are nightmares,especially the first year At this stage, the immune system is severely weakened, and the risk of contracting opportunistic infections is much greater. However, not everyone with HIV will go on to develop AIDS. The earlier you receive treatment, the better your outcome will be.I started taking ARV to avoid early death but I had faith in God that i would be healed someday.As a Hiv patent we are advise to be taking antiretroviral treatments to reduce our chance of transmitting the virus to others , few weeks ago i came on search on the internet if i could get any information on Hiv treatment with herbal medicine, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from Hiv her name was Achima Abelard and other Herpes Virus patent Tasha Moore also giving testimony about this same man,Called Dr Itua Herbal Center.I was moved by the testimony and i contacted him by his Email.drituaherbalcenter@gmail.com We chatted and he send me a bottle of herbal medicine I drank it as he instructed me to.After drinking it he ask me to go for a test that how i ended my suffering life of Hiv patent,I'm cured and free of Arv Pills.I'm forever grateful to him Drituaherbalcenter.Here his contact Number +2348149277967...He assure me he can cure the following disease..Hiv,Cancer,Herpes Virus,Lyme Disease,Epilepsy, ,Bladder Cancer,Colorectal Cancer,Breast Cancer,Kidney Cancer,Leukemia,Lung Cancer,Non Hodgkin Lymphoma,Skin Cancer,Uterine Cancer,Prostate Cancer, fibromyalgia ,ALS,Hepatitis,Copd,Parkinson disease.Genetic disease,Fibrodysplasia disease,Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva,Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome,Inflammatory bowel disease ,Huntington's disease ,Diabetes,Fibroid...

    ReplyDelete