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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Health Check

Despite my MM, I seem to be healthier in some respects than I was before my diagnosis.  This may be due partly to my having shed about thirty pounds of excess weight, as well as my cutting down on alcohol consumption.  While some think that I am now too skinny (one even calls me emaciated), my current Body Mass Index is about 22.5, right in the middle of what is considered the normal range.  I don't think that's too bad, and I wouldn't mind staying somewhere around my current weight.  I still need to get back to the gym to start toning myself up, but that's another story.  I did sign up again for another year at Planet all I have to do is start going.

For years, I have been taking medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  However, for the past year, my BP numbers have been consistently low.  I also had my cholesterol checked back in February, and those results were way down as well (chol = 133, HDL = 60, non-HDL = 73).  So around the end of July, I decided to go off my blood pressure and cholesterol meds to see what would happen.  I told Dr. Richardson, who suggested that I check it out with my PCP, Dr. Guidi, which I did a couple of weeks ago.  Since my BP was still low, Dr. Guidi suggested that I stay off the lisinopril and amlodipine, but check my blood pressure at home weekly.  If it goes back up, he may have me go back on half my normal dose (2.5 mg) of the amlodipine.  He also scheduled me for another cholesterol blood test at the end of August.  That test came back with excellent results, so I plan to stay off the simvastatin for the foreseeable future.  I am now down to taking only one of the four prescription drugs that I have been on for lo these many years (omeprazole).

Since I was getting the cholesterol blood test, I also asked Dr. Guidi to have my Vitamin D and C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels checked.  I was a little concerned about the Vitamin D, since I'm taking 5000 units of Vitamin D3 daily, which is more that the maximum FDA-recommended dose. However, my Vitamin D level came back in the normal range, so that's OK.

As for the CRP, a research paper forwarded to me by my patient friend, Steve, has implicated elevated CRP in preventing anti-myeloma drugs from killing the MM cells.  However, my CRP level came back <1, which is very good.  So other than this pesky MM thing I'm dealing with, I seem to be in reasonably good health.

Another plus is that my hair is growing back in very nicely.  It's not as gray as it was before, and it's even curly now!  I haven't had curly hair since I was a kid.  Of course I hated it then, but now, not so much.  Our son, Brian, who is somewhat follically challenged, wondered what he would have to do to get a stem cell transplant.  ;-)  If I can get a decent picture, I may include it in one of my future posts.

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