One year out – Steady as she goes!
We just completed another checkup at UAMS one year after my active treatment and stem cell transplant. The results were all perfect! The Flow Cytometry results from my bone marrow aspiration, my personal favorite ;-), had my 5 most favorite words “No Minimal Residual Disease Detected”. This test is sensitive to 10-5 meaning it can detect 1 cancer cell out of 100,000. The MRI’s all came back clean with no bone lesions.
Bottom Line = I’m still 100% cancer free.
Finally, the wonderful medication I’m on that is keeping “The Beast” in the pit of hell where it came from can cause heart damage for a small percentage of people. Therefore, they run a lot of tests, including an Echo Cardiogram, and my heart looks great and is functioning properly!
Given those results we are taking the “If isn’t broke don’t fix it approach”. Therefore, I will be continuing the same maintenance treatment which has proven to be very manageable. I go into MSK’s location near White Plains on Saturday mornings for an infusion and I have one oral medication I take at bedtime. Like many cancer maintenance regimes, it’s 3 weeks on with 1 week off for rest. The only side effect I deal with is fatigue that requires me to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Other than that, it’s pretty smooth sailing.
In the year that has elapsed since my treatment, things have mostly returned to normal. I got my hair back (again without the grey hair I used to have), I’m back in the office vs working at home, traveling when needed, hiking and eating anything I like. On the medical side, most of my counts have returned to normal levels and they have started the process of repeating my childhood immunizations. At this point I have the immune system of a 1 year old ;-).
Thanks to all of you for your prayers and well wishes. They mean more than you know.
For my fellow Myeloma Warriors and those who are just interested, below is a link to a fascinating conference I attended last year hosted by the MMRF and MSK debating how best to use the latest Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) technology. If you watch the Patient Panel you might recognize one of the participants ;-).
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