WBC: 4.67 (normal!)
Things are progressing nicely in Richardland.
Richard has been spending a little time in the garden. Here's a recent not-the-best-lighting picture. Can you tell we need to prune that bush behind him? Fall is a great time, but it also signals all sorts of fun activities like pruning!
Richard had a check-up yesterday. He's gained two pounds over the last week (cue angels singing Hallelujah), and his blood pressure, pulse, heart rate and blood oxygen levels are all good. Also, his white blood count is finally in the normal range for the first time since June. Red blood counts remain a little low (3.84), but not terribly so.
The doc informed us that less than 5% of patients develop a particular strain of pneumonia after transplants. He wants Richard to avoid this nasty predicament, so he prescribed sulfameth/trimethoprim (800mg) two days a week for two months. As soon as Richard's nausea subsides, he'll start taking it.
Richard has developed a rash, and it's especially visible on his forehead. It makes me itch just looking at him. The doc says the rash is not uncommon, and that it will go away in time--go away with all the other lingering symptoms, such as nausea, low food tolerance, fatigue, light sore throat, a slight cough, and always feeling cold. While these symptoms are annoying, the rash makes him miserable. If he can't stand it longer than another day or two, the doc will put him on a steroid treatment. However, they're trying to avoid steroids if possible because of Richard's diabetes; steroids really elevate glucose levels.
Richard starts back soon on monthly infusions of arredia (the drug that makes his bones function properly). In two weeks he will have the arridea treatment and a check of his IgG level.
The IgG level, which indicates the number of plasma cells in the bone marrow, will tell us if the stem cell transplant worked. His IgG level going into the transplant was about 2500, after months of treatment (it was 9700 at diagnosis). Normal IgG levels are between 700 and 1600.
Let's see. What other updates are there. Well, Richard remains bald. The good news is that I no longer wonder who the stranger is in my house.
Well, that's just a whole lot of in-depth tidbits about Richard's body that you didn't bargain for. We share most of the details for other multiple myeloma folks who keep track of those types of details. Thanks to the rest of you for hanging in there with us!