#67 Remission!


I spoke with my new BC Cancer Agency oncologist yesterday. We had a nice chat about our alma mater and the weather, but we also discussed my myeloma. Of course we did!

He told me that I am effectively in remission. There is no trace of the myeloma protein in my serum. That, I would say, is great news. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have cancer anymore. Myeloma is incurable but it is treatable. The hope is that I can go some time without needing chemo.

While I don’t have any trace of the myeloma paraprotein in my serum, I still have issues related to myeloma and I have to live with the side effects of the chemotherapy I was on between December 2019 and June 2020. I have lots of peripheral neuropathy or nerve induced pain and weakness in my legs. I also have back pain for which I need to take opioids. My oncologist has ordered a spinal MRI to see if we can pinpoint the specific cause of the pain. I do have residual pain from surgeries I had on my lumbar disks and from the removal of my left kidney in 2002 because of kidney cell cancer. To help us figure it all out I have pain specialists (palliative care doctors) on the job. With them, we’re trying to determine what kinds of medication I need to take and how much.

It’s complicated because there is some pain that is muscular in origin, other pain that comes from problems with connective tissue and then there’s nerve-induced pain. Different meds are required for the different types of pain. For example, opioids aren’t much good against neurological pain but they work on muscle-based pain and to some extent on connective tissue pain. Right now I’m on two main pain medications and a couple more on standby. Hydromorphone isn’t much good for neurological pain but it works for my back pain although the dose is critical. My age is working against me too. It’s normal in ageing to have weakened muscles and degenerative connective tissues. My body is ganging up on me! But I’m fighting back!

One thing I aim to do is increase my physical exercise as much as I can. That means walking more. I have to be careful because my balance isn’t great, but I can walk maybe two kilometres a day using one or two canes. I can also, on rainy days, use our semi-recumbent bike for twenty minutes a day. We also have light weights I can use and stretchy cables (?).

That’s enough for now. I just wanted to give you the good news. Today is such a great fall day. This red maple in front of the house is living up to its name. Every day it gets redder, then it seems like overnight all the leaves are on the ground.

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AND, haha…there’s a snowfall warning for tonight and Friday morning at higher elevations (which could mean Cumberland). ❄️🌨❄️❄️❄️⛄️ Sleep tight!

13 thoughts on “#67 Remission!

  1. Hi Roger,
    That sounds like a pretty good report card Roger and very welcomed news for Annette and I. On the occasion of my 61st birthday I can think of no better present than this news, makes me really happy to hear of this. Keep up the good progress and know that the two of us are in your corner both physically and spiritually.
    Danny

    Sent from my iPad

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    1. Hi Dan. Yes, it is good news but I would like to have a more definitive long term prognostication.That said, it’s another great fall day today and I’ll go get a flu shot in a bit. Marika and David come tomorrow to spend some time here with us. They still have to work, but they are working from home most of the time anyway these days.
      Take care, Dan. Carolyn doesn’t agree but I think I’ll be able to do some work on the canoe this winter. No painting or anything like that, but prep work for sure.
      We’ll see. Right now my neck is cramping my style big time.

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    1. Thanks, Brenda. I’m anxious to get the MRI done. There’s something not right at all in my neck and upper back. That’s my major focus right now. At least I don’t have to worry about myeloma so much at the moment. It is good news.

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  2. This is great news! You have been in our thoughts for a long time. Although there is no a cure,when they get the pain under control, there will be no holding you back. Take care. Love to Carolyn.

    Bruce & Vicki

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  3. Good news Roger! Thanks for posting..and I never knew that there would be so many after effects from the treatments. Good luck with managing your pain.

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    1. Thank you…and yes, there are many side effects from chemo. Some people don’t experience them at all, or hardly, and others experience them to the point where not taking the drugs anymore is the only option. I hit that wall but now things are improving slowly. I’m able to manage my pain to some extent but I’m still fine tuning it..

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  4. Wonderful news, so very happy to hear you are in remission Roger! You’re always in our thoughts, hugs and love to you and Carolyn.

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