Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day

Today was a great day. I suppose everyone deserves one really great day every four years.

First of all, it was BEAUTIFUL out today. It got up to around 55 degrees. The way the winter has been, it felt like 80 degrees. We actually got to see the sun.

This morning, we celebrated Leap Day by going to Arts and Crafts at my friend Brooke's house, where all the kids made some really hilarious buggy-eyed frog hats. (You know, because frogs leap.) It was one of the cutest crafts we've ever made. Brooke even made frog-themed snacks, such as round, green Rice Krispy treats with Junior Mint eyes. It was very festive morning.

When we got home, there was a big package waiting for me on the doorstep. I had no idea what it was. It was from a woman named Kathy from New Jersey, who I have never met in real life -- only through this blog. Inside were ... TWELVE TEN-OUNCE PACKAGES OF BLACK JELLYBEANS. That's right. How great is that? A lifetime supply of black jellybeans just showed up on my doorstep without warning. Actually, at the rate I go through them, it could be a one-week supply of black jellybeans, but still. That is an awful lot of jellybeans. Thank you, Kathy!

I thought the package of jellybeans was going to be the big highlight of my day. Close, but ... a few hours later, I had my appointment at the Cancer Center. I'd mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my new Dex schedule was going well, but I expected things to start going bad at any time. I was right. Shortly after I posted that, the Dex started to catch up with me again. I've been in complete Dex misery for about a week and a half. It's been a constant, awful roller coaster. On my days off, I feel like I've just been run over by a car. I'm completely exhausted and my brain doesn't work. On my days on, I feel like I want to get in a car and run over somebody else -- that is, if my heart doesn't explode and I don't jump out of my skin first. It got so bad, that last Monday I tried calling Dr. H at the Mayo Clinic to see what I could do about it, only to discover that the Kansas City Cancer Center hasn't been faxing her any of my test results, so she couldn't comment on my case. This was not the news that I wanted, especially while I was all Dexed up. I decided to tough it out until today, and then talk everything over with Dr. GPO.

First of all, Dr. GPO was horrified that no results have been going to Mayo, and he promised to fax off every number immediately and call Dr. H himself.

Next ... and this is probably the greatest news of my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE:







Dr. GPO told me exactly what I had been thinking: It's true that the cancer isn't gone, but I'm so stable and so healthy overall, that there really is no reason for me to feel so miserable all the time. I will still be taking the Revlimid, so we'll see how that works by itself. If my numbers suddenly take a turn for the worse (and Dr. GPO doesn't think they will), then I'll probably have to get back on the Dex again, but trying out Revlimid alone for two or three months isn't going to kill me. At the very least, I'll be giving my body a little break from the Dex horror.

I don't think I've ever been so happy in my entire life.

All of my other numbers were good. My hemoglobin is hanging in there at 12.1, and everything on my blood count is in the normal range. Dr. GPO went over all of my results from last month; there's one thing he always tests for called Beta-2 Microglobulin. Most myeloma experts say that your Beta-2 level is one of your biggest prognosis indicators. The lower your level, the better your prognosis. Mine has always been within in the normal range, but now it's down to 1.2 (still normal, but very low normal). You want it below 3.0 to still have a "good prognosis". Dr. GPO says mine is the lowest Beta-2 level he's ever seen in a myeloma patient, so he was pretty excited. Me too.

After I danced out of the Cancer Center, I stopped at Hy-Vee to pick up a meal for our neighbor who just had surgery. Whenever I take a meal to someone who is sick or had a baby or whatever, I never actually cook anything: I just pick up a rotisserie chicken and sides at Hy-Vee. I think I'm starting to get a reputation around here as the Hy-Vee Chicken Girl. That's a whole separate blog entry, though. Back to my story: On my way out, I accidentally dropped my big carton of deli green beans all over the ground, and a complete stranger rushed over to help me clean it up. Then the nice deli lady said I could have some new green beans for free.

Let's review: Frog hats, black jellybeans, no more dex, kindly green-bean people.

Greatest day ever.


Vanda said...

Greetings from across the pond, great, great news to read this morning. You go girl!

Isn't it wonderful when such nice things happen all at once, well nearly at once:-)

Abigail said...

Karen, I am SO happy for you! Bye bye evil dex. May you never return. What a great day.

Brooke said...


You should have picked up a HyVee chicken for yourself to celebrate:)

And, OMG on the jelly beans! If you're anything like me, you'll eat them until you make yourself sick just because they're there. Black jelly bean sickness has to be way better than Dex sickness:)

Jen said...

That is such great news! I am so happy for you...and I think that does officially qualify as a great day! Jen

Sunshine said...

Oh JOY!! We are delighted for you!!!