Health Update

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Do you want a quick summary or all the gory details? The details, of course. Because, really, what’s better than listening to an acquaintance ramble on about their health issues?

So: My M-protein marker test—a good proxy for the level of cancerous bone marrow cells—is down from 0.72 last month to 0.63 this month. This is the right direction, but not the right magnitude. So we’re going to increase my Revlimid maintenance from 10 mg to 15 mg. This puts at me at a slightly higher risk of blood clots, which means that I will also be starting a daily baby aspirin regimen.

Blood clots aside, the main side effect of the Revlimid is that it weakens your immune system. This is measured primarily by looking at your neutrophil count. Yours is probably around 5000 or so. Mine is now down to 1800. Anything above 1000 is OK, but obviously this is getting close to worrisome. So now we’re doing a balancing act: we want to use the highest dose of Revlimid that still keeps me out of the immune system red zone. It will take several months to figure out what that is.

And speaking of this, it turns out that following the stem cell transplant I now have what’s effectively a baby immune system. This means that in a month or so I’ll start going through all the usual baby immunizations. Not all, actually, but a bunch. Fun.

On a positive note, apparently my bones are in good enough shape that I’ll be allowed to do strenuous stuff if my back fully recovers. So that’s something to look forward to. Assuming my back ever fully recovers, of course.

And finally, a test to see if my sister reads all the way to the end: I now have permission to clean the cat litter box. So you don’t need to come over tonight.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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