Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Some Good News

We got some good news from the latest round of blood sampling and today's doctor visit. The M-spike actually decreased slightly this time, down by 0.1, after having some significantly sharp increases of 0.3 for the past couple of times. Whereas I had at the doctor's counsel been mentally preparing to resume chemotherapy in January (and postponing at that for insurance reasons), there is now a real possibility that I might not resume at all in 2015. While we must be cautions about putting too much credence on any one test, looking at the trend over the past year and a half, not having another sharp increase makes that big of a difference. Translation: the date for resuming chemotherapy extends beyond the current range of forecasting.
We'll go through this again in two months. Thanks for all of your prayers and concerns.

September is Multiple Myeloma Unawareness Week

Blogspot buds - Will you please join me in highlighting unawareness? In this photo, I am wearing a piece of transparent scotch tape on my lapel because I have long planned to take it upon myself to declare the entire month of September as "Multiple Myeloma Unawareness Week." The scotch tape is to highlight unawareness of this invisible disease, an incurable cancer that claims the lives of 10,000 to 11,000 Americans every year, including such notables as former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, actor Peter Boyle (the cranky old dad in Everybody Loves Raymond), advice columnist Ann Landers, and billionaire Sam Walton, as well as other people who were simply my friends. This month will mark seven years since my own diagnosis, when God put the "my" into my own myeloma, http://txbennett.blogspot.com/

You can participate in Multiple Myeloma Unawareness Week by doing any of the following:
- Go to www.Wikipedia.com, and read just 3 or 4 short paragraphs on this disease.
- Join me in highlighting unawareness by wearing transparent Scotch tape on your collar, and posting your picture of same back to me. You might even repost, and encourage others to do the same.
- Contribute to research towards finding a cure at either of the websites listed below. Truth be told, I would probably be more grateful for even a small donation towards finding a cure while I am still alive, than a donation in my memory after I am gone.
Mayo Clinic: https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donate (specify for multiple myeloma research, or where most needed).
International Myeloma Foundation: www.myeloma.org.

Hope to see some scotch tape on collars and lapels. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July Update

Yesterday, I went to see the cancer doc to discuss the results of a blood sample taken a couple of weeks ago. I had the results in hand prior to the visit, so I knew that the cancer was increasing at a higher than normal rate now for the second sampling event in a row. While this was very disappointing news, the doctor said that I am doing fine, and (paraphrase) to quit being such a whiney-baby. I am feeling really fine, too. All said, resumption of chemotherapy will likely start sooner rather than later. While no medical person would dare make a prediction, I could see early 2015 as a likely time to resume taking treatments.

Thanks to all for the love, prayers, care, concern and support.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Comparitively High Increase

The latest blood sample was taken on 4/17. The M-spike had a comparatively large increase this time, from 1.1 to 1.4. I guess we could look at it as catching up from last time, when the test showed a decrease.  Two times ago, it was 1.2, so it has only increased 0.2 from 4 months ago. Anyway, at this rate of increase we are still looking at 2 to 3 years before resuming chemo, as opposed to the 3.5 to 5 years we were looking at last time.  Praying for a cure to be developed by then.

On a related development, for at least a year I have had a sore on the end of my nose that just would not heal.  I went in to have it tested, and it came back as a mild form of cancer called basal cell carcinoma. I will go in for in-clinic surgery to have the cancer spot removed on Thursday, 5/8.

Thanks for all the prayers, love and concern.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Update February 2014

The latest news from the world of oncologists is that I went to see the cancer doc on Tuesday to discuss results of blood sample drawn on Friday, 2/21. The M-spike (measure of cancer) actually appears to have decreased a little bit over the past two months, from 1.2 down to 1.1. This is likely just due to variations of it being difficult to read the test, but it also means that it is increasing at a very slow rate. Although the numbers differ, the rate of increase between tests taken at Mayo is exactly the same as the rate of increase for tests taken here in Texas.
At this rate of increase, my personal calculation is that it would likely be 3 to 5 years before I resume chemotherapy According to esteemed medical minds, my course of action for now is to go off and live my life as though I don't have cancer, come in and get it checked on every couple of months, and they will let me know when to be sick again.
I'm feeling good most of the time, just a little fatigue and a little pain (from past treatments, not the cancer) to deal with from time to time. Thanks to all for the love, prayers, and support.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Back to Mayo

On January 25, Carol and I made our way back to the frozen north for my one year check up at the World Famous Mayo Brothers Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  It was on January 25, 2013, that I received my autologous transplant of stem cells. The good folks at Mayo had intentionally killed my bone marrow in an attempt to kill the cancer, then replenished it with my own stem cells on 1/25/13 to grow the marrow back before it finished dying. So many of you have come up to ask me how the trip went that I am humbled, and apologize for not posting sooner.

Medically: There were no surprises, good or bad. The cancer is right where we thought it was from tests done here in Texas, and increasing at about the same rate as we measured here, and there still remains no damage to the skeleton. I will remain off of chemotherapy for now, and continue checking it every couple of months here in Texas, and go back to Mayo for a check up in early 2015. Unless there is a drastic turn of events, I should remain off of chemo for 2014. We have today, and will not borrow any possible troubles from tomorrow.

Climatologically: It was COLD. Monday morning, Carol and I walked the 4 blocks to the clinic just for old times' sake. It was 18 degrees BELOW zero on the Farenhieght scale. Monday afternoon, we decided to take the shuttle back. When we tried to come home on Tuesday morning, we sat on the runway at Minneapolis-St. Paul for 3 hours while they got the plane thawed out enough to fly.

Socially: On Saturday afternoon/evening, we went to see the live broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" at the historic Fitzgerald Theater in beautiful downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Here is a picture of me and my "good buddy" Garrison Kielor on the sidewalk outside the Fitzgerald after the show.

Perspective:  We once again stayed at the Gift of Life Transplant House, near the clinic. Since our stay there last year, we know of four patients who were residents alongside of us, who have died, including one in our closest circle of friends. This year, we encountered many in very dire circumstances. It is good for one's perspective on things.

Once again, I thank everyone for their love, prayers, encouragement, and support. I am blessed far more than I deserve.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


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