Monthly Archives: November 2010

A Saturday in Pisa…

Yesterday Stefano and I took the day off. When we got up, it was such a lovely sunny day that he suggested we drive to Pisa (about an hour from Florence) and spend the day there.

Gee, twist my arm! I was ready in less than five minutes…We put down enough food for the cats and off we went…

Every time I step into Piazza dei Miracoli it’s is like the first time…I am always taken aback…It’s simply stunning…and no words can possibly describe it properly. So I won’t even try…

Stefano and I whipped out our cameras, of course, which in his case is not an easy feat. You see, he has a big super duper complicated camera and a big heavy tripod (which he had to carry around all day…and I have a reason for mentioning this, as you will realize in a second), whereas I have a rather small, compact automatic Canon, which I looooove and wouldn’t change for anything more complicated…

Anyway, we both began taking photos of the square and of the people in it…(By the way, these photos were taken at different times of day, so some have clouds in ’em and some, taken earlier in the day, don’t…)

Yes, that’s right…of the people. I really really enjoyed taking photos of tourists who looked as though they were practicing tai chi or qigong but were actually posing so that it looked like they were holding up the tower of Pisa with their hands, just as my sweet little Myeloma buddy Honey is doing (oh, but, since her hands are clasped to her bosom, she had to use her entire head…)…and as the woman in shiny boots is doing (not with her head…). Ahhh, so very amusing!

In just a little while, I counted at least 50 people doing more or less the same thing…Some folks got really carried away and would lean this way and that, with hilarious facial expressions…while their partners shouted, in different languages, something like: “Okay, turn the index finger on your right hand slightly to the left…no, to the left, not to the right…ahhh, that’s good…okay, now raise your left palm slightly…no, not like that, like this…blablabla.” I listened in particular to two U.S. women who were very keen on getting THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT “I-am-holding-up-the-leaning-tower-of-Pisa-with-my-own-hands” photo…It took them at least ten minutes to prepare and take it…But, for privacy reasons (=you can see the posing woman’s face), I won’t publish the photo I took on the sly of that little scene…

We had been in the square for only a few minutes when I heard my Stefano let out an unhappy moan/groan/wail. When I asked him what the matter was, he told me that both of his camera batteries had died…BOTH…and he didn’t have a replacement! A photographer’s WORST nightmare! Just imagine…there you are, with, say, a black-breasted puffleg in front of you…just about to take THE photo that would win you THE National Geographic’s “BEST PHOTO EVER” award…and your camera dies…Eeek!

Of course, since his is a big super duper complicated camera, I am sure that you have figured out that his camera batteries are not your regular AA ones (like the ones that my camera takes). Oh no. These are big super duper complicated batteries…

It gets worse. Stefano’s discovery occurred just 15 minutes before 1 PM. Shops here close at 1 PM and do not reopen until 4 PM…

I am a positive-thinking kind of gal, though. So, while he was putting his big super duper complicated gear back into his big super duper complicated backpack, I hurried over to a couple of traffic policewomen to find out where the nearest photo equipment shop was. And so Stefano and I trotted off to see if we could reach it before closing time…

No such luck.

And, as I just mentioned, the shop wasn’t going to reopen until 4 PM…too late…

Well, we weren’t going to let something like that ruin our glorious sunny day in Pisa. Er, let me correct that statement: I wasn’t going to let that ruin our glorious sunny day in Pisa. I very thoughtfully told Stefano that he could use my camera whenever he wished…but he merely glared back at me and snapped rather haughtily that he wouldn’t even touch my …dotdotdot… crappy camera. :-) Whatever…

As a result, I took many photos of Pisa…and he simply…glared and made a few rather inaudible remarks about life not being fair and what an idiot he was and…well, you get the picture. Okay, okay, I am exaggerating a bit and having a bit of fun with this…We actually did have a lovely time, and he looked fiercely at me only a couple of times…(And now I am in trouble, since he reads my posts…hehe).

Change of subject, quick!

If you go to Pisa, don’t forget to walk down to the Lungarno. Lungarno literally means “Along the Arno.” The same river (the Arno) that runs through Florence runs through Pisa, too, you see. On the Lungarno you will have a lovely view of a miniature Gothic church, called Santa Maria della Spina (look behind Honey, and you will catch a glimpse of it on the other side of the river), which originally (it was built in the year 1230)  seems to have been a loggia with an oratory attached to it but was transformed into a small church in the early 14th century. You can read more about it here: http://goo.gl/Uixfl

Oh, and if your camera batteries are fully charged (and perhaps not super duper complicated), you will also be able to take a few photos of this cute little jewel of a church. (Oh boy, NOW I am in double heaps of trouble…!) 😆

Speaking of jewels…

There is another very good reason to visit Pisa’s Lungarno: CHOCOLATE! One of the best chocolatiers in Tuscany is located on the same side of the Arno river as Piazza dei Miracoli (or on the opposite side with respect to the tiny Gothic church).

The name of the shop is “Cioccolato De Bondt.” You are right. De Bondt is not a Tuscan surname. The shop, as you can read here http://goo.gl/cQOVP, owes its name to Paul De Bondt, a Dutch cook and confectioner. He and his Italian partner (who, by the way, was in the shop yesterday…and took a fancy to us and kept giving us yummy little chocolate jewels to taste, mainly with different types of hot pepper and ginger…) have won many national and international awards.

Needless to say, we are all set for a chocolate Xmas now. 😛

Well, that certainly was a sweet finale to a glorious day in Pisa…

As soon as we got home, I went to feed the cats, while he went to charge his camera batteries…

We all have priorities…(Okay…and now I’d better go into hiding for a couple of days…ROTFL 😉 )

The importance of pomegranate juice…

When pomegranates are in season (right now, actually), Stefano and I add their ruby red (and tart!) seeds to our organic green salads…or I simply eat them by the spoonful. I have known for some time now that pomegranates are very very very good for us but, even so, I was a bit surprised when I read what this Science Daily article had to say on the subject: http://goo.gl/BT6FB 

An excerpt: (pomegranate juice) is a good source of antioxidants and lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure, especially in diabetic and hypertensive patients. A preliminary study now suggests that it can ward off a number of complications in kidney disease patients on dialysis, including the high morbidity rate due to infections and cardiovascular events, according to a paper being presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in Denver, CO.

Anyway, have a look at the article…especially if you have any kidney-related problems…

A lovely love story…

I am in the middle of a huge translation (which is great, since we can certainly use the extra bit of money), so I don’t have much time to dedicate to my blog today. But I couldn’t help posting briefly about an amazing love story…I am sure it will touch your heart the way it touched mine…Even those of you who don’t care for cats. Yes, this is a feline love story. I read about it earlier today the Italian National Agency for Animal Protection (ENPA)’s Facebook page…

Here is the story, which I have translated (loosely) from the ENPA article, which you can read here: http://goo.gl/tauqk By the way, I am a bit tired right now from having translated a large legal document, so please forgive any weird stuff that doesn’t make any sense… :-)

Ginevra and Lancillotto were two inseparable stray cats living in a cat colony in the city of Genoa, Italy. One day, Anna, one of the human volunteers who provides food to this particular colony, noticed that Ginevra had lost a lot of weight and looked ill. She immediately took Ginevra off to an ENPA vet clinic on the other side of the city. Anna knew that Ginevra and Lancillotto were very close but had to leave him behind. He was perfectly healthy…no reason to take him to the clinic, too…

Three weeks passed. Ginevra was slowly on the way to making a full recovery. But one thing was clear: she wouldn’t be able to go back to her previous, stray-kitty life. She needed to be adopted.

Well, at one point, another volunteer, Elisa, began noticing an orange tabby sitting in front of the clinic where Ginevra was still convalescing. A big cat staring fixedly at the door of the clinic. She thought the cat might be hungry, but no, he refused all the food she brought out for him. Finally, thinking that this orange cat had been abandoned, she consulted Anna, who went outside and recognized Lancillotto. She opened the door of the clinic. Immediately, Ginevra ran outside into the clinic’s yard, where she and Lancillotto were finally reunited…They began happily purring, butting heads and rubbing against each other…

To find his beloved Ginevra, Lancillotto had travelled to the other side of the city…walking for more than four kilometers…facing who knows how many dangers…traffic, etc… What I can’t get over is this: how did he know where to go? Amazing…absolutely amazing…

Ginevra and Lancillotto’s story doesn’t end here. Unfortunately, it is harder to find a home for two kitties than for one. So the volunteers were at a loss. They didn’t want to separate the two friends again, but Ginevra really needed to be adopted by a loving family. What to do with Lancillotto?

Well, I am happy, very happy, to report that a kind-hearted man heard this story and adopted both cats…so they are together now…

Here you can see a photo of the two kitties in their new home: http://goo.gl/hxzgT 

A blogging friend just lost her much beloved husband to myeloma…ah, here come the tears again…Well, this may sound very odd to you, and in fact it sounds quite odd to me, too, as I write these final words, but I wish to dedicate this unusual but heartwarming love story to them…

Sad days for the myeloma family, these…

Markers of progression from MGUS to MM…Part II

And now, finally, we get to the Conclusion. The researchers state that, from a clinical standpoint, it is essential to identify which of us are going to progress to MM, in order for our doctors to be able to keep a closer eye on those in a high-risk category and be able to use some or all of these markers to determine the choice of therapy and response to therapy in patients with full-blown MM.

From a research standpoint, they say, the development of better biologic and molecular markers will improve our understanding of the molecular pathways involved in disease progression in patients with MGUS/MM. This, in turn, will help identify newer therapeutic targets and novel treatments

More or less, that is the study’s conclusion. But I still have a few comments to make on what I read in the middle of the study…at the end of the discussion concerning genetic abnormalities, hyperdiploidy, trisomies, RAS mutations and MYC up-regulations:

Taken together, although many of the above-mentioned markers have been identified in patients with MGUS, and the prevalence of some markers has been reported to differ between MGUS and MM, currently it is unknown whether any markers are associated with an excess risk of progressing from MGUS to MM. Importantly, at this time no systematic study using serial samples (from the same patient over time) has been conducted to formally address the role of these genetic markers in predicting disease progression in patients with MGUS/SMM.

What this section says to me…quite loudly, in fact…is that all the MGUS/SMM progression studies are little more than a long series of words and sentences surrounded by elaborate graphs and Tables. To be blunt, these studies are essentially useless to us (=the patients). The bottom line, in fact,  is that not even one of them can predict who will progress to active myeloma and who will remain at the MGUS or SMM stages…

At this point, though, I asked myself the following question: do I really need or even want to know if I am going to progress to active myeloma some day? Heck. No. I. Definitely. Do. Not.

Knowing what might or might not lie ahead for me two, four or ten years from now wouldn’t have an impact on my life… Oh wait a second. That is not entirely true. It would almost certainly have an impact: stress, to some degree. And stress, as we know, makes MM cells proliferate (http://margaret.healthblogs.org/life-with-myeloma/what-is-multiple-myeloma/multiple-myeloma-and-stress/).

So why would I willingly choose to add a “timer” to my daily life? Indeed, why would I choose to add to Stefano’s burden of worry and stress (…even though he never shows it, I know it’s there…)? Or to my family’s worries? Why? Why? Why? Wouldn’t it be better just to enjoy my life, husband and cats, have fun with my friends, take curcumin and other promising anti-myeloma, non-toxic, backed-by-science substances and so on?

Sometimes, just sometimes, perhaps it is best not to know: “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise…”

Now, don’t get me wrong, eh. Blissful ignorance doesn’t mean that I never think about the possibility that one day I might progress to full-blown myeloma. Hah. Believe me, I do…perhaps not every single day…but I do… And, when I find out that a myeloma friend, especially one close to my heart, is dying, the emotional pain is a bit hard to bear…Susie, many hugs to you…

No, blissful ignorance doesn’t mean that I will stop doing all the things I do to slow down or even, wowsie!, halt my progression… Besides, all of these activities really help me deal with my fear of (and anger toward!) the nasty beastie that is currently slumbering inside my bone marrow…

And my research and ramblings might be of help to others, too. That is a great comfort to me…

Markers of progression from MGUS to MM…Part I

Yes yes yes, I am indeed procrastinating on my “possible viral connection” piece, which has turned into a daunting magnus opus…But at least I am procrastinating with a study that will, I hope, provide us with some juicy food for thought and, why not?, a bit of constructive debate. I have divided my long post into two parts…and will be posting Part II after I get home from work tomorrow…

A blog reader/Facebook friend (thanks!) notified me about a new progression-from-MGUS-to-MM study, which I asked another friend (more thanks!) to retrieve for me. Click here to read the abstract: http://goo.gl/MWpRY A key excerpt: …it currently is not possible to accurately determine individual risk of progression. Well, in addition, sigh, to containing a split infinitive that makes my skin crawl, that statement doesn’t really sound too promising, does it? Well, let’s have a look at the full study now…

In the Introduction we find a discussion of “racial disparity patterns.” MGUS and MM are 2-3 times more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians, and Asians have a lower prevalence of MGUS than Caucasians. Why is that, I wondered? Diet? Genetic makeup? Luck? What?

And there is also a certain degree of familial clustering…that is, if someone in your family has MM, then you apparently have a higher risk, perhaps two-fold, of developing it. The researchers therefore conclude that there seem to be susceptibility genes in the causation of MGUS and MM. No cases of multiple myeloma in my own family, incidentally. I am the first…and, I hope, the last!

Ah, here is an interesting bit of news: Although MGUS is commonly referred to as a single entity in the literature, indeed there are two kinds of MGUS: lymphoid (or lymphoplasmacytoid) MGUS, and plasma cell MGUS. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Between 15 and 20% of MGUS folks belong to the former group: they secrete IgM and can progress to Waldenström macroglobulinemia, lymphoma, or other malignant lymphoproliferative disorders.

2. Most MGUS folks instead have a plasma cell phenotype, characterized by a serum M-protein concentration of less than 3 g/dL, fewer than 10% of plasma cells in the bone marrow, and with no end organ damage.

The two types of MGUS are completely different, on a biological level. This study focuses on the second group…

Reading on and skipping a few bits. Ah, here we go. The authors discuss the two major models for risk stratification: 1. the Mayo Clinic model and 2. the Spanish study model. Concerning the latter, do you remember the fuming post I wrote about the SMM “high-risk” Spanish study? Ooooh, whenever I am reminded of that study, my blood begins boiling…For a reminder, see: http://margaret.healthblogs.org/life-with-myeloma/what-is-multiple-myeloma/myeloma-supplements-and-il-1-beta/a-high-risk-smoldering-myeloma-study-ridikkulous/. Oh well…

Let’s look first at the Mayo Clinic model, which focuses on serum protein abnormalities. The following features are considered as adverse risk factors: non-IgG isotype, M-protein concentration 41.5 g/dL, and an abnormal serum free light chain (FLC) ratio (normal reference 0.26–1.65). In the Mayo Clinic model, at 20 years of follow-up, patients with MGUS with all three risk factors on average have an absolute risk of MM progression of 58%; for MGUS patients with two, one, and none of these risk factors, the corresponding absolute risk is 37%, 21%, and 5%, respectively.

This model also gives SMM risk factors: serum M-protein concentration >3 g/dL, bone marrow plasma cells >10%, and an abnormal free light chain ratio. The cumulative risk of progression at 10 years with one, two, and three of the risk factors was 50%, 65%, and 84%, respectively. Based on this model, by the way, I am in the group with an 84% risk of progression. Well, no surprise. I can interpret my own numbers by now. So far, they haven’t scared me… Besides, statistics are just…numbers… 

I would really really really like to skip the Spanish SMM study altogether, for the above-mentioned reasons…but no, I won’t. For the sake of fairness. The Spanish model uses BMBs (=bone marrow biopsies) to determine the ratio of phenotypically aberrant plasma cells (aPCs) to total bone marrow plasma cells (BMPCs) at diagnosis. The patients with at least 95% aPCs/BMPCs at diagnosis had a significantly higher risk of MM progression. Other factors, such as immunoparesis (=the reduction of one or two immunoglobulins, in a nutshell) and DNA aneuploidy (=DNA abnormalities, again, in a nutshell), are also considered.

More specifically, for patients with MGUS with no, one, or two risk factors (>95% aPCs/BMPCs and DNA aneuploidy), the risk of progression at 5 years was 2%, 10%, and 46%, respectively. For patients with SMM (risk factors: >95% aPCs/ BMPCs and immunoparesis), the corresponding numbers were 4%, 46%, and 72%, respectively. Okay, I think I have devoted enough attention to the Spanish model…

Our study authors reach the conclusion that the risk of MM progression varies greatly among individuals diagnosed with MM precursor disease. Clearly, we need better markers to define high-risk (versus low-risk) MGUS/SMM and to better predict individual risk of MM progression.

Subsequent sections deal with:

1. MicroRNAs. Remember my miRNA post (=October 28)? If not, here is the link: http://margaret.healthblogs.org/?s=microRNA At any rate, the study authors tell us that It is now known that miRNAs can act as tumor suppressors or proto-oncogenes, and that they are misregulated in most human cancers. So these thingies could perhaps be used as markers of malignant disease in a wide variety of cancers. I will skip the technical bits, i.e., the detailed descriptions of miR-93 versus miR-106b…uff uff uff. Bottom line: some miRNAs were up-regulated in MM but not in MGUS…

2. Gene promoter methylation. Oh no, no way…not getting into that…skipskipskip…

3. Molecular imaging. Yes, let’s have a quick look at this topic. Here we learn that in the future it may be easier to detect bone lesions using molecular imaging techniques equipped with novel MM-specific tracers. That sounds helpful. In particular, they discuss the use of a Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET/CT, which can detect bone marrow/myelomatous involvement with a quite high sensitivity and specificity. The radiation exposure, we are told, is about 1.6 REM.

I looked up the amount of radiation that we get from a chest X-ray = 0.01 REM…So 1.6 sounds like quite a bit…! The authors tell us that, as far as they know, this new technology hasn’t been used to identify early skeletal lesions in patients with MGUS…Too much radiation, I wonder?

They then discuss the “angiogenic switch” hypothesis, which is an attempt to explain the progression from a pre-malignant to a malignant stage. This switch would result from cumulative genetic damage leading to an imbalance of pro- and anti-angiogenic factors, creating an adequate microenvironment for a tumor to grow. I don’t want to go over the process of angiogenesis again, since I have written quite a lot about it here…

An important excerpt: In MM, increased angiogenesis results in changes of microcirculation in bone marrow. Interestingly, MGUS patients have a low-intensity pattern of microcirculation compared to MM patients. But, the researchers add, more studies are needed in order to determine whether a particular type of contrast-enhanced MRI, called DCE-MRI, can be used to predict progression to MM…

Wait a second. Contrast liquid? Could it be gadolinium? I checked on PubMed, and yes, gadolinium is indeed used in these types of MRIs… Do you remember my post on gadolinium, by any chance? If not, see: http://margaret.healthblogs.org/life-with-myeloma/what-is-multiple-myeloma/mris-and-gadolinium/ Incidentally, the reason WHY I began wondering about gadolinium is when I read that a patient with MGUS/SMM with a pathologic DCE-MRI pattern developed a progression to MM 6 months after the DCE-MRI. Hmmm and double-hmmm. Progressing to active myeloma just six months after having a DCE-MRI… Fate or pure coincidence? Or…something else?

Nope, I don’t think that I would ever have one of those MRIs…

Tinyurl hell…

This morning I read and wrote a draft, which I still need to finish editing, about an interesting, recent study on MGUS and SMM progression to MM. Well, I used the “tinyurl” function to shorten my links’ terribly long URLs…as I have always done. At one point, though, to my horror, I realized that the tinyurls weren’t working. Not working? Holy cats! I immediately checked some older tinyurls, and they didn’t work, either. 😯 AAAGGGHHH! Well, of course, it would be absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to check every single tinyurl that I have used in my 860 plus posts…ah no, no way I’m going to do that. Indeed, no way I can do that! 

This is what I have done: I have changed a few of the most recent ones and will continue to do so from time to time (“time” being the key word, here!). One thing is for sure: I will never use this function again. Ever.

Last but not least: if you wish to check out a link that I have published here but are unable to do so for the above-mentioned reason, please let me know, and I will do my best to retrieve the reference/link for you. I hope, fingers crossed, that it is just a temporary “tinyurl” glitch, but I won’t be taking any chances from now on…Okay, enough said, I have to eat lunch now, then finish editing my post…

P.S. Ah, mystery solved: the tinyurl website is down. Well, I am still not reassured or pleased that this occurred and will probably use full links from now on…whenever possible.

Friday cuteness…

This afternoon I am getting together with my girlfriends…playing cards…laughing…Yay! So I have no time to do any reading/research…

So, since today I am in my “fun fun fun” mode, I wanted to post the link to a video that a blog reader/myeloma friend put on her Facebook page today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vIfNn4pgw8 Awwww!

It’s one of the cutest kitty videos that I have seen since “Surprised Kitty” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Bmhjf0rKe8. Oh, and let’s not forget “Kitten Surprise!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLDbGqJ2KYk And how about the two kitties on a treadmill? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVjzd320gew Okay, I have to stop here…Have a great day, everyone! Ciaoooo!

Beading and Buddying for a Cure!!!

Xmas is right around the corner, and there are so many worthwhile causes/projects that could really use our support. Well, it just so happens that I have a couple of excellent suggestions for your Xmas shopping: the Honeybeaders’ bracelets and the Myeloma buddies…

THE HONEYBEADERS. This fundraising project was started by a small group of family and friends of Scott, a myeloma friend of mine. All the money they raise goes to support multiple myeloma research…and by that I mean a REAL, specific research project. 

This project, as we can read on the Honeybeader website (link provided below), is being carried out right now at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and, if all goes as expected/hoped, should yield some very interesting (non toxic!) results…so I am very very VERY excited about it…

Anyway, with their deft little hands, the fabulous Honeybeaders create lovely Cancer Awareness bracelets for all types of cancer, not just myeloma. I happen to be the proud wearer of three bracelets, in fact (see photos). Oh, and as you can see by Peekaboo’s reaction, these bracelets can also double as cat entertainment toys, with careful human supervision… :-)

Last year I gave myeloma bracelets to my mother, sister, niece and girlfriends…And they were so admired by other friends, in fact, that I just put in a Xmas order, too…

You can have a look at the Honeybeader website and place your order/s here: http://thehoneybeaders.com/

MYELOMA BUDDIES. This is my creative friend Paula’s project to raise funds for Myeloma UK and the International Myeloma Foundation. Again, I can tell you firsthand that her dolls are adorable…irresistible, in fact.

This photo shows a rather grumpy Piccolo (I woke him up to take this photo…) posing with one of Paula’s multi-colored buddies, which are a bit larger than regular buddies…

Word of caution: don’t leave your buddy unattended with your pets…My youngest kitty, Pinga the Terrible, almost made off with one, right under my nose…

I took my own purse-sized Myeloma buddy (see photos below) to Rome with us a few weeks ago. While we were in the car, driving to Rome, I asked Stefano to help me find a name for her. He came up with “Honey,” because, he said, honey is “miele” in Italian, and myeloma is “mieloma.” So honey = miele = mieloma = myeloma. Get it? Hmmm, made sense to me. 😉

So her name is Honey.

The last three photos I posted here are of Honey visiting the Colosseum (the inside) and Emperor Hadrian’s villa…Speaking of which, I have an amusing little story (amusing to me, at any rate!). First, you should know that I was strolling around Hadrian’s villa, admiring these lovely, majestic ruins, with my little Honey nestled in my scarf. Passing tourists looked at me most peculiarly upon noticing her…but of course I didn’t care one whit…

I’m a happy, free spirit…

Anyway, at one point I happened upon an obviously bored little Italian girl who was really hacking away at one of the villa’s columns, chipping off bits and so on. She was about 8 years old…old enough, that is, to know better.

Since her parents had gone off to admire the view and were completely ignoring her (!), I gently but firmly reprimanded her…in Italian, of course. She gave me the oddest look, said nothing and continued to chip away at the column… I gave up. As I walked away, defeated, I realized that, with a doll sticking out of my scarf, I probably looked anything BUT a figure of authority…

No wonder she paid no heed to me…! Hehe.

Okay, enough babbling…Let’s get to the point. Check out Paula’s myeloma buddies for yourselves: http://www.etsy.com/listing/45335069/handknit-myeloma-buddy-charity-doll And don’t forget to have a look at her blog and at her super cute and brand new Xmas buddies! 

Oh, and in case this were not obvious, these buddies are NOT JUST FOR CHILDREN, since I have given buddies to my mother, sister, niece, AND I will be giving some to my girlfriends for Xmas…huge success so far.

Everyone needs a myeloma buddy and a myeloma beaded bracelet! EVERYONE!!!

Besides, this is Xmas shopping made easy…easy peasy, in fact! All you need to do is check out these two websites and place your orders. I already have. :-)

Lunch break!

At lunchtime, two of my cats broke a dish (long story; I will spare you), which shattered into about a million and a half pieces that flew everywhere, even under (!) a rug. So this seemed like the purrfect time to post the link to the most recent “Simon’s Cat” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv0OUdQNVM0

I dedicate this post to Bob O. (even though you were more of a dog person than a cat person!)…