...and the winner is, well, it's not the Myeloma!
Went to the Dr. today with the fam in tow: Dave, Mom and Dad. After waiting for about two hours, a couple rounds of charades and numerous mindless conversations to keep us occupied, the final verdict was revealed. The bone marrow biopsy showed no detectable cancer cells and the blood results showed a mere trace of protein! Dr. M calls this a complete response; although he is a bit reluctant to call it a remission (he explained that myeloma is not a type of cancer that lends itself to a true remission) the complete response to the chemo and the stem cell transplant is as good as it gets. Based on these results and my demographic, he expects that I'm in a good position to enjoy the 5-year average of myeloma inactivity.
Despite this great news, we have some decisions to make. Recent studies show that maintenance chemotherapy in the form of revlimid and velcade can prolong the inactivity period. This maintenance therapy would be administered for 18 months. The possible downfall of this aproach is that if and when the Myeloma relapses, my body may become immune to these frontline treatments. We have about a month to decide which route we want to take.
As far as other next steps, I will resume the Aredia therapy for my bones, continue to take an antibiotic and antiviral medication daily and have monthly blood work and Dr. visits. But, this weekend is focusing on celebration and thanks!
Oh, one other bit of good news, for the first time in months, my white blood cells are in the normal range.
The end to this journey's long chapter couldn't have come at a better time. The spiral bound notebook I've been carting around and writing Myeloma notes in for the last 13 months is down to just a few blank pages. Where could I possibly find another notebook that so resembles Myeloma cells under a microscope? It's time to place it in the archives of life.