Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mind Body Update

In August I posted about a clinical trial commencing this fall in Boston at Mass General / The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine - Mind Body Medicine for MGUS and Smoldering Multiple Myeloma. Dr. R had recommended I try to enroll as it would be "great for me."

Hmmm...say what? Me stressed?! No way.

This research study is a supportive care trial evaluating the effectiveness of a mind body medicine intervention called the Relaxation Response Resiliency Program (3RP) on stress and stress related symptoms in patients with MGUS and SMM. Data from this study will also be used to assess changes in gene expression that result from 3RP intervention, particularly genetic pathways that are known to be dysregulated in multiple myeloma. You can read more about the study here:

Mind Body Medicine and MGUS and SMM: A Promising New Approach

Well, I am happy to report that I have been accepted into this research study. I’m super pumped. The study is randomized - participants are randomly selected to be in either the “immediate" group - which means they go through the 8 week 3RP program at time of sign up, starting at the end of October - or the “wait list” group which means they go through the 3RP program starting in January.

I’m a tad bummed because I was selected to be in the “wait” group – I need some mind/body medicine now! January seems so far away. Oh well…luck of the draw. Like flipping a coin. The study is enrolling ~96 participants AND…drum roll please… I was the FIRST person to sign up! Participant #1. True story.

This is the Clinical Trial Listing:

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Flu Shot From Hell

Dr. R recommended I get the flu shot and pneumonia vaccine last year after my "upgrade" to smoldering and because I had been very sick during the winter with multiple sinus infections, chronic cough etc.

I followed his instructions and had both shots last fall. No issues minus one crazy male nurse giving me a hard time about the pneumonia vaccine. As a result, this past winter I was MUCH healthier: only sick with a cold 1-2 times, one sinus infection, and well, I did get the flu, but OVERALL I was much healthier than the previous winters. Also, exercise and healthy food helped!

Anyway, not wanting to jinx anything, and hoping for another "healthy for me" winter, J and I went to a flu clinic at our PCPs office about 3 weeks ago.

The Flu Shot From Hell story goes like this:

I entered the exam room and sat down. The LPN came over, used the alcohol wipe to clean around my shoulder/arm area. He said he was going to get the shot ready while the alcohol dried.

Okay, sure, not a problem.

Then, he came around to my left side and without any warning, or really looking at my arm at all, jabbed the shot into my shoulder. I literally jumped and yelled out something along the lines of, "OUCH!" He responded and said, "Whoa sorry! I guess you're a really small person!" and proceeded to inject the flu vaccine.

I looked over at my shoulder and a small amount of blood was dribbling out of my arm. And, I noticed the the injection site was at the TOP OF MY SHOULDER. Not into my deltoid or anywhere near my deltoid.



The LPN nervously stuck the band aid onto the injection site (this band aid was coming up over my shoulder, mind you) and I was on my way. Shocked and confused, but on my way. My arm was throbbing and I could barely move my shoulder.

Anyway, to make a very long, melodramatic story short, three weeks have gone by since this incident. These three weeks have consisted of ice and heat therapy, gentle stretching, shoulder exercises, and ridiculous amounts of Advil. After two trips to my PCP and a diagnosis of a "rotator cuff injury due to incorrect administration of the flu vaccine" - which could be just an injury that is causing pain and inflammation, a partial tear, or a full thickness tear...

I am headed to physical therapy next week.

Because I had the flu shot injected in the incorrect location on my arm.


I wish I was joking.

If after 4 weeks of PT there is no improvement, I will have an MRI of my shoulder and be referred to an orthopedic specialist.

This is how I feel about flu shots right now.