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I visited my oncologist this morning and got the latest reading of my M-protein level. Basically, it’s stable: 0.61 last month, 0.58 this month. I know you all want this in chart form, so here it is.

The bad news is that this is higher than we’d like. (We’d like it to be about 0.01.) The good news is that it corresponds to a pretty low level of cancerous cells in my bone marrow. Probably around 3-4 percent, which isn’t high enough to affect me in any serious way. If my maintenance med keeps me at this level, I could pretty much live forever. And the side effects have been pleasantly minimal. I feel fine in almost all respects.

Still, if it’s really working well, it would get my M-protein level lower. So how long should I keep taking it before we start to think about alternative treatments? I tried once again to dredge an opinion out of my doctor, and as usual I failed. So I have no idea. I’ll just keep taking this stuff forever as long as my levels remain under control.

On the other good news front, my back pain is finally almost completely gone. I still need to be careful, but this means I can start doing exercise more strenuous than walking. Hooray!

On a related front, I have a piece in the latest issue of the magazine. I don’t know when it will go online, but you should buy a paper copy anyway. You know how teen magazines like Tiger Beat feature posters of teen idols? Well, the current issue of Mother Jones has one of me. Seriously. If you want a nearly life-size picture of my head to put on your refrigerator—and who doesn’t?—just tear out page 26. It’s only $6.99.1 Buy one for all your friends.

1Which is actually pretty steep, isn’t it? Why not subscribe instead for 12 bucks a year? Or give gift subscriptions to all your loved ones? Or, if you already subscribe, donate some money to us. It’s tax deductible and it goes to a good cause!

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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