We got back from Rochester really late last night. Everyone is completely exhausted, but there was lots of good news over the past few days.
Good News #1: While Jay, WCK, and I were hitting the road for Iowa/Rochester on Saturday morning, my friend Abigail was back in Kansas City, hard at work on Ticketmaster.com getting the two of us tickets to ... THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK! Woo hoo! She says our seats are up high, but really close to the stage, so I could throw my shirt at them if I wanted to. I'll think it over, but I still have the shirt I bought at a NKOTB concert nearly 20 years ago, and I plan on wearing it. If I tried to throw it anywhere, it would probably disintegrate in mid-air. The thing is an antique. Anyway. The concert is not until Nov. 11. What am I going to do with myself until then? I'll have to find a time-consuming project, like cross-stitching a giant banner that says, "I (heart) Donnie!" That's sure to get his attention.
Good News #2: Pepper was really surprised by her party, which was wisely held outdoors in case she got too surprised. WCK and her cousin (World's Cutest Niece), who will turn three in September, had their first slumber party together. They did sleep. Briefly. WCK is the more talkative one of the pair, so we did have to endure several hours of listening to WCK: "That's my bed, WCN! THAT'S MINE! Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!!" Before you think WCK is the poor victim here, we finally went upstairs to find WCN lying in her own bed, and WCK vigorously jumping up and down in it. They finally fell asleep, only have WCK wake up at 5:30 a.m. and announce, "IT'S MORNING!!" to everyone in the house. At least we all got to try Aunt Jenny's Famous Rainbow Pancakes (secret ingredients: whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles), which sort of eased the pain of the slumber party.
Good News #3: Dr. H says she is very happy with the way my treatment is going. My M-spike results weren't back when I met with her yesterday, but my IgG protein (another way to track the myeloma) is down to around 1,500. This is nearly NORMAL. At its all-time high, my IgG was well over 5,000; it was around 3,700 when I was first diagnosed. It was around 2,300 at the time of my stem-cell harvest six months ago. The IgG tends to correspond with the M-spike. Dr. H wasn't too concerned about what I will forever call "The 2.1 Incident" and agreed with our theory that it could have been a fluke test. (Once again, I'm SO GLAD I didn't freak out about it.) She agrees that we can keep trying to get me off of the dex, but it might be better to try quitting it gradually this time. She reduced my dose from 8 mg to 6 mg per week. We'll see how that goes for a while. She also said I can reduce my Revlimid dose from 25 mg to 15 mg. The Rev has been making my white cells drop a little bit, so the dose reduction should help. I won't be able to do that until the next cycle, though, because I have a bottle of 25 mg pills all ready to go right now.
The best news of all, though: If this tapering-off-the-drugs thing works out, Dr. H seemed really, really, really optimistic about the possibility of me COMPLETELY QUITTING ALL DRUGS, maybe even within the next six months. If I did that, I'd just go back to having blood tests every two to three months, like I did before when I was smoldering. Drs. H and GPO would keep an eye on me and start me back on the Revlimid if things got out of hand. She told me she had another patient who is doing this and has been drug-free for 18 months. That's so exciting that I'm trying to keep myself from thinking about it too much. First I need to taper off the dex and see how that goes. If that works, then we'll taper off the Revlimid. Woooooooo!
Good News #4: On our way home from Rochester, we stopped at a Subway and were told it was "Free Cookie Night." I think the three best words in the English language are probably "Free Cookie Night."