ASHWAGANDHAAA!!!

What I am about to write may sound almost too amazing to be true, and perhaps it is. When I got home from work today, I found my early October blood test results lying in my mailbox. Surpriiiiise!!! According to the schedule, you see, my results weren’t supposed to be mailed off until October 21st!!! My knees began shaking so much that I almost didn’t make it to the front door (oh well, okay, that’s actually not true; I just thought it would be neat to introduce some drama…teehee).

Well, I confess, I am ecstatic…even though, as prudent Sherlock reminded me, these results must be examined with a certain degree of caution because they were not processed at Careggi university hospital but at another one of Florence’s main hospitals (my reason for switching hospital labs can be found in my October 5th post, btw). A very good hospital, mind you. But that also means that a lot of my numbers now have different reference ranges. In some cases, though, thank goodness, the old and new ranges were identical, which made my job much easier. Okay, that said, here are a few values:

The following gives me a good reason to celebrate: my total IgG has gone down from a whopping 39,9 (June 2009 tests) to 29,7 g/L. No kidding. A more than 30 % drop! Incidentally, the reference range happens to be the same for both hospitals, except one is in g/L, the other in mg/dL, which simply means that I went from 3990 to 2970 (mg/dL, i.e.).

Trallallero trallallà!!!…brief dance of joy.

Now, my M-spike (or rather, what Sherlock and I believe to be the number corresponding to the M-spike, though this will have to be confirmed by our respective hematologists) has gone down from 2,68 to 2,41. That would also be a very good result: a drop of more than 10 %.

As for the rest of my results, taking into account the above-mentioned range differences, it would seem that…

1. my platelet count has increased to 305 (new range: 150-400) from June’s 244 (Careggi range: 140-440).

2. my serum calcium and creatinine are stable…still within the normal range. And my IgA and IgM also remain unchanged. Phew!

3. my C-reactive protein, which till now has been a maddeningly “less than” amount, is finally an ACTUAL NUMBER: 0,3 mg/L (normal range: <0,5). Good to know.

4. my monoclonal component has gone down from 28,3 % to 25,7 %. Another slide in the right direction!

5. my total protein seems to be stable, still slightly above the normal range, but, due to the difference in ranges, I will have to do a few calculations later on, with Stefano’s help. It looks about the same to me, though.

6. I am almost positive that my hemoglobin and hematocrit have increased. Hard to tell because of the, yes I am sure you have guessed!, slight range difference. My hematocrit has certainly gone up…Oh, and so has my white cell count.

There are a few bad things (can’t have everything, after all):

— my B2M appears to have gone up a bit. But yes, as you may have guessed (again!), the new reference range is lower than the Careggi one. Even so, my B2M is only slightly above the normal range. I am not concerned.

—  my vitamin D has decreased compared to June, in spite of my vitamin D supplementation over the summer, so I will have to do something quickly about that…this is a matter of some concern to me, now that the flu season has definitely struck Florence. This number is still within the normal range, but it is located on the lower end, which I know is not good at all!

Well, I am definitely in the mood to make merry this evening, as is Stefano, who slyly asked me over the phone if I wanted to celebrate this happy occasion with tripe and onions for dinner…yeah, right!!! He knows that I would rather eat my own shoelaces! Silly boy… 🙂

12 Comments

  1. Wonderful, excellent, fantastic, tremendous news Margaret! Do you really think it was the ashwagandha that made the difference? I may have to get some of this!

    So happy for you! Celebrating on this side of the Atlantic.

  2. Ah Lisa, I wish I knew for sure. If only I could have my blood tested by my own personal technician in my own personal lab…well, if I had all that (!), things would be a lot easier!

    I will have to test ashwagandha again in the future, perhaps even the near future…that is the only way to know “for sure.”

    I just wanted to title this post “ashwagandhaaaa,” since the word sounds almost like a victorious battle cry… 🙂

  3. Margaret

    This might be of interest to you. The journal Science just published a study out Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease. They have identified a retrovirus called XMRV that has been found in 95% of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This retrovirus was first identified two years ago in prostate cancer patients.
    The researches believe it might be playing a part in other immune system diseases including cancer . Similar to HIV it is transmitted through blood or body fluids.
    Ashwagandha work against infections and maybe this virus is playing a part in MM.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/health/research/09virus.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/is-autism-associated-with_b_316986.html

  4. Your battle cry inspired me to get in gear and refurbish my supplement pantry with curcumin and ashwagandha. I found the Doctors Best curcumin this time at an even better price ($13.60) on http://www.drugstore.com…..better than amazon or vitacost this time… currently on sale. Then there was a ten dollar off code on http://www.retailmenot.com for orders over $80 for drugstore.com orders. I know that some others might search for the values as well.

    Enjoy the conference with Dr. Durie. I will be so interested to hear your take of all that goes on. Take care. So wonderful to hear your lab news.

    ashwagandha!
    Linda B

  5. Hi margaret, my husband had his blood tested at Annunziata
    Hospital in Ponte a Niccheri and his beta2 microglobulin
    was 2,3 mg/L , lab normal range is 0.7-1.8.
    Last year, he was tested at Careggi Hospital, his beta2m
    was 1,8 and lab normal range was 1.2-2.5.
    Can you share the range of your new lab?
    thanks carla

  6. Thanks, everyone!

    Pan, I really don’t want to mention specific brands on my blog, but I can tell you that I was taking 940 mg a day of ashwagandha (capsules). I followed the instructions on the bottle.

    Carla, yes, my blood was tested this time at Ponte a Niccheri (più precisamente: sono andata alla Misericordia di Badia a Ripoli, zona viale Europa, dove puoi prenotare l’ora esatta del prelievo, il che è fantastico visto che ci sono già un monte di persone ammalate a giro…invece delle due-tre ore che ci vogliono alla Piastra, a Badia a Ripoli sei fuori dopo una manciata di minuti…roba da non credere). My B2M is now 2.4; it was 1.9 in June. The thing that puzzles me is that my current number would still be within Careggi’s normal range. Given your husband’s similar results, I will ask my hematologist about it.

  7. Hi, I was wondering if you are still taking ashwagandha? And what were the other drugs that you were taking along with it?

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