Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Report

Yesterday I got my Official Report from the Mayo Clinic. It contains the results of the 6,979 tests they ran in November. Seriously: When I was doing my collection, I'd get blood counts done twice a day, and the results of every single one are in there. (All-time low of my hemoglobin? 8.6! If you get to 8.0 they give you a transfusion).

I love the Mayo report, because I get to sit and analyze every single number. I hate the Mayo report, because I sit and analyze every single number. Then I get all shaky and nervous and assume that I'm on the brink of death for a whole afternoon as I ponder everything I read. My plasma-cell labeling index (this is the rate at which the Evil Cells are multiplying) is up to .4, which the report says is an "intermediate rate." When I last had this test done two years ago, my rate was .2, which all the reports pointed out was "VERY LOW." Seriously, it was so low that the reports all used capital letters like that: VERY LOW. Should I be freaking out now? The capital letters have vanished from my report. Now they're all in my head. "INTERMEDIATE RATE? I'M DYING!"

After I freak out over all the numbers, I analyze everything that Dr. H has written. "Serum M-spike is essentially stable at 2.4." OK, OK, that's pretty good. Then the next sentence: "IgG is up slightly from August to 2300." When she wrote that, was she focusing on the word "slightly" (Translation: "You're doing all right") or the word "up"? ("YOU'RE DYING!!!!")

The worst part is the bone-marrow biopsy report, which doesn't appear to be written in English. Every third word is one I don't understand. I tried typing some of them into a search engine, and apparently many of these words don't even exist. If anyone knows what "trilineage hypoplasia" means, please e-mail me, because I guess I have it. (I know, it probably means I'M DYING.) I hate the biopsy report, because it reminds me that no matter how good I feel, no matter how much it seems like I don't have cancer at all, I still have this monster stomping around deep inside my bones, messing everything up. I can walk 15,000 steps a day, I can eat green vegetables, I can run around after a two-year-old ten hours a day, but my bone marrow is still 20 percent Evil Cells.

Anyway. After spending an afternoon feeling freaked out by the report, I calmed down and decided to focus on one of the bright spots, which was a note included with my urine results. My urine tests have never been too bad to begin with. Some people have M-spikes in their urine, and I never have. I've always had a small amount of myeloma protein in there, though. Now? "No monoclonal protein detected," says the report. That's right: I HAVE COMPLETELY NORMAL, CANCER-FREE PEE! So. I'm hoping my pee will lead the way for the rest of me. Maybe that means I'm not dying. I'll think about it.

6 comments:

Brooke said...

"Cancer-free Pee" has a nice ring to it! Congrats:)

Anonymous said...

Healthy new year! I always enjoy reading your blog very much. Thank you.
I would like to ask you about the plasma-cell labeling index you refer to in your blog. I've never done this test here in Italy and I'm curious to know: is it made on blood or on bone-marrow?
Many thanks!
Anna from Italy

Karen's sister said...

Not that I think you need this, because I know you're an avid google-er, but I just went to a conference (which went okay, by the way), and met some folks from the National Institute of Health. They were advertising their website:
http://health.nih.gov/
And how it is one of the most comprehensive sites for health care information that is independent and not influenced by drug companies.

The NIH representatives also gave out pencil-top erasers shaped like brains. I got you a pink one.

Anyhoo, I thought this might be helpful.

Beth said...

have you ever had symptoms from your MM? I've been talking to another doctor lately. He's been encouraging me to stay off treatment from now on until I actually have symptoms.

Is it treatment that's making you anemic?

Will you say hi to Dr. H for me next time you see her?

Beth

NancyJoy said...

"I hate the biopsy report, because it reminds me that no matter how good I feel, no matter how much it seems like I don't have cancer at all, I still have this monster stomping around deep inside my bones, messing everything up. I can walk 15,000 steps a day, I can eat green vegetables, I can run around after a two-year-old ten hours a day, but my bone marrow is still 20 percent Evil Cells."

Likewise. I was diagnosed 2 months ago and my bone marrow is 80% cancer cells. I decided I didn't really need to understand the rest of the medicalese.

gina said...

Sweetie, I have come to the conclusion that we are all dying.
Some of us get surprised. Some of us get to warn our children/grandchildren in advance what we're dying of. Some of us get to track our progress along the way.
So what. We're all dying.
But how our we living?
Keep living, mommy friend, keep living and doing what you do.
love,
g
www.caringbridge.org/visit/christerry