Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Little Line = Left Linear (Humeral) Lucent Lesion

I received the CDs from my skeletal survey and CT of my arm from the NIH. I have NO idea how to view the images from the CT scan. It said there were 690 images...of my arm...how is that possible?! I gave up and I stopped pretending I knew what to look for.

On the other hand, like I posted a while back re: my skeletal survey from 2009, viewing the images from my recent skeletal survey was pretty simple and straight forward. Below is the image of my left humerus from February. Can you find the thin, little, line? Also known as...the "lucent lesion." I could right away. Other people I've shown had a little more difficulty....

See the little line?
Left humerus February 2013

Below is the image of my left humerus from August 2009. I don't see the same little line. So, hopefully it was always there but it's just not showing up on this image? Let's hope so.

No line.
Left humerus August 2009

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alliteration fan? Left (Humeral) Linear Lucent Lesion

I have a lot of the reports from my recent trip to NIH. My skeletal survey and CT scan of my arm were the most uhm, startling? to see in black and white. I present to you... my skeletal survey and CT scan reports. So thrilling, I'm sure. :) 

DX Bone Series

Patient: ******, ELIZABETH **** MRN: ******

REASON FOR EXAM (Entered by ordering clinician into CRIS): For SMM Only

Findings: AP and lateral skull: Normal. Calvarium no lytic lesion.

Entire spine: Cervical spine AP and lateral: Normal alignment.

Disc and joint spaces intact. No lytic lesion.

Thoracic spine: Normal alignment. No lytic lesion. No compression.

Lumbar spine: Disc and joint spaces intact. No lytic lesion or compression.

Rib series: No fracture. No lytic lesion.

Upper extremity long bones: Small mid humeral lucent lesion near the insertion of the deltoid. Forearms negative.

AP each hand: Normal.

AP pelvis: Hip joints intact. No lytic lesions.

AP lower extremity long bones: No lytic lesions. 

AP and lateral feet: Negative.

Impression: Focal left mid humeral lesion, suspicious for myeloma. Consider additional imaging, PET CT or MRI.

Suspicious for myeloma, huh? Hmmm.
But, 24 hours later...

Just kidding!

Exam: Exam Date: Accession #: Ordered By:

CT Humerus - * CT Humerous w/o Contrast - 73200


Patient: ****, ELIZABETH ******

MRN: ******

REASON FOR EXAM (Entered by ordering clinician into CRIS): Evaluate suspicious lesions from skeletal survey on 2/19 to left humerus

Comparison: Bones series February 19, 2013.

Procedure: High resolution noncontrast axial CT left humerus.

Findings: Small linear lucent canal in the vertex mid left humerus corresponding to the plain radiographic finding. No convincing evidence of endosteal scalloping. This lucency is in region of the deltoid musculo tendinous insertion. No focal lytic lesions are seen in the osseous structures included on the study.

Impression: Lucent left humeral lesion probably related to variant, a vascular groove. No convincing evidence of myeloma.


Huzzah. No convincing evidence of myeloma. Do you like how I bolded all the important heart attack provoking parts of the reports? Heh. Seriously, none of this is major. I'm supposed to have Dr. R compare this recent CT scan of my humerous to the films of the PET/CTs I've had in December 2009 and August 2012 and we'll basically just watch the area to see if it develops into anything. Aside from the minor heart attack this experience caused me, hopefully this left linear lucent lesion will not be a big deal. :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This weekend we have been searching for a kitty costume to dress up Hennessy for St. Patrick's Day. Yes, we've become "those people." Couldn't find much except for this. He was NOT happy with the bow-tie. AT ALL. But isn't he so cute? He's almost as Irish as I am!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Just a few others... All I wanted was a nice, calm, sweet, loving, lap cat....

His new favorite hang-out spot... on THE FRIDGE.

Second favorite hang out spot while we do the dishes....

May the luck of the Irish be with you this St. Patrick's Day. :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Eat this and you WILL DIE"

Dr. M and I have a love/hate relationship. I love all the information he provides (among the misinformation sprinkled in) and I hate him because he scares the crap out of me on a daily basis. This Dr. M is not to be confused with my ID specialist Dr. M, of course.

Last summer as I attempted to start my "permanent health kick" I signed up for emails from the one and only Dr. M. Every single day my inbox contains a cryptic message stating, "Eat this and YOU WILL DIE." Well, maybe not exactly that. Here is a brief sampling of the article titles:

Eating This Could Turn Your Gut into a Living Pesticide Factory
Proven to Kill Cancer Cells without Killing You
Reconsider Drinking another Glass of Water until You Learn the Disturbing Truth
Help Flush These Brain-Damaging Toxins Out of Your Body
Discover Why Your Tap Water May Not Be as Safe as You Think

Avoid This Meat Like the Plague (Unless You Want to Eat Horse Meat or Get Sick)

Don't Eat Too Much of This Healthy Food (Even Organic) - It May Be Linked to Cancer

Doctor Stops Eating This - Starves Cancer and Escapes Death

Seriously?! I have come to the conclusion that pretty much anything I were to eat, drink, wear, use, touch, breath in, or look at, will eventually KILL ME, according to Dr. M. However, one email that I received recently made me feel like I might NOT die tomorrow because of something I've eaten or not eaten and may actually be headed in the right direction!

Common Household Chemicals Linked to Human Disease Lately, I have really been attempting to limit my chemical exposure. Not easy sometimes but according to this list I'm on the right track!

What Can You do to Reduce Unnecessary Chemical Exposure to Your Family?

Rather than compile an endless list of what you should avoid, it's far easier to focus on what you should do to lead a healthy lifestyle with as minimal a chemical exposure as possible:
  1. As much as possible, buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides and fertilizers. (Totally trying to do this!)
  2. Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality purified krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity. (Eh... don't really buy fish.)
  3. Eat mostly raw, fresh foods, steering clear of processed, prepackaged foods of all kinds. This way you automatically avoid artificial food additives, including dangerous artificial sweeteners, food coloring and MSG. (Definitely trying to do this!)
  4. Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap and canned foods (which are often lined with BPA-containing liners). (Only use glass pyrex dishes these days! Guilty of plastic wrap and the occasional canned good. Whoops.)
  5. Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath). (Haven't had our water tested... I'm sure it's terrible.)
  6. Only use natural cleaning products in your home. (Starting to make the switch...)
  7. Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group has a great database6 to help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals. I also offer one of the highest quality organic skin care lines, shampoo and conditioner, and body butter that are completely natural and safe. (Trying to make the switch...this is really hard.)
  8. Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances. (I use dryer sheets. Bad.)
  9. Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware. (We have stainless steel pots and pans?)
  10. When redoing your home, look for "green," toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings. (Eh... nope.)
  11. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric, or install a glass shower door. Most all flexible plastics, like shower curtains, contain dangerous plasticizers like phthalates. (We have a glass shower door where we live now but I've always used plastic liners in the past...whoops.)
  12. Limit your use of drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) as much as possible. Drugs are chemicals too, and they will leave residues and accumulate in your body over time. (Sure... just say no.)
  13. Avoid spraying pesticides around your home or insect repellents that contain DEET on your body. There are safe, effective and natural alternatives out there. (Definitely trying to do this!)
 Yikes, a lot to remember!

Friday, March 8, 2013

MMRF Race for Research 5K Walk/Run: Boston

J and I participated in the MMRF Race for Research last year - I wrote a post about it back in September. We have formed a team for the race in Boston this year as as well. The most recent race was actually held in September 2012, but typically the Boston race occurs in April, like this year.  The MMRF Race for Research at Carson Beach in South Boston will be on April 27 to raise awareness and funds for research of multiple myeloma. Hopefully it won't rain this year! :)

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy's diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As exceptional stewards of its donors' investments, the MMRF consistently surpasses its peers in fiscal responsibility and an outstanding 90% of total budget go directly towards research and related programming.
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is a leading cancer-research foundation that has helped to double survival for multiple myeloma patients since its inception. Together with its partners in the pharmaceutical industry and at academic centers, the MMRF has contributed to the development of six new treatments in the last decade, several of which may be effective in treating other cancers. The MMRF continues to build innovative collaborative models that will accelerate the development of new and better treatments for multiple myeloma and all cancer patients, and lead to cures.

As the world's number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $225 million since its inception and directs 90% of total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four four-star rating for nine consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency.

Held annually in nine cities across the country -- Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tri-State (New Canaan, CT), Twin Cities, and Washington D.C. -- this family friendly 5K walk/run raises both awareness and funds for multiple myeloma. Since its inception in 2001 in Chicago, the MMRF Race for Research program has raised more than $17 million to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s urgent work.
To learn more about the MMRF Race for Research 5K Walk/Run that may be in your area, please visit visit MMRF Race for Research.
If you would like to contribute to my team please visit:
Boston: Myeloma Mashers - MMRF Race for Research 5K Walk/Run

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Not a Zebra!

I have had frequent fevers since the summer of 2009. When I saw Dr. R in December he suggested I see an infectious disease specialist to determine if the fevers I had been experiencing could be caused by something other than the smoldering myeloma. I saw Dr. M who thought that I might be a Zebra and could possibly have a periodic fever syndrome.

Well... I don't! The genetic testing was finalized last week and I have no mutations. I do not have a periodic fever syndrome. I am not a zebra.
No zebras here.

Dr. M said, "You don't have any of the 'KNOWN' mutations for a periodic fever syndrome."  Heh. I don't think he likes being wrong!

After I saw Dr. M in January he requested as "homework" that I record my temperature when I first wake up and then again between 7-8PM which I have been doing quite diligently. When I spoke with him regarding the results of the genetic testing, I mentioned to him that I seemed to be having fewer fevers than I usually do. I had only had a temperature over 100.4 four times since mid January and my temperature was below 100.4 by the next morning. He was happy to hear I'd been, “cooler than usual” and added "you need to come see me more often!" Hah. He cured me!

Not really. I had a temperature of 101.6 last night. And the beat goes on....

But anyway, Dr. M still wants me to go to see this fever specialist at the NIH. Not sure if I want to do that (Mo doctors, mo problems! Remember?) or even if the team would still want to see me for the study because I don't have any of the genetic mutations. He still wants me to have blood work when I first get a fever (CBC with differential, full chemistries (electrolytes and liver function tests), a CRP, a ferritin and triglyceride levels). Not entirely sure what he's hoping to "see" in this blood work that would be different when I have a fever. He said the monoclonal protein being produced by the MGUS/SMM clone could somehow be short circuiting the way my body regulates my temperature and it triggers/allows the periodic fevers to occur.