Specific criteria needed for different types of myeloma

Yesterday I came across a Science Daily article discussing a recent study on the need to have different diagnostic criteria for the kappa and lambda types of myeloma. Apparently some patients with the lambda type go undiagnosed, based on current criteria.

Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2GfulHf

And here’s an excerpt: “Current testing trends lean toward looking in the serum only which also can lead to problems detecting lambda-associated conditions.”

I wonder how many have had that problem…?

Exposure to permethrin increases risk of developing multiple myeloma

I just read a bit of news that I thought I’d share here on the blog.

A new study shows that exposure (NOTE: “a high lifetime exposure“) to an insecticide called permethrin increases one’s risk of developing MM. This insecticide is used in public health mosquito control programs, for example. Eeeeek!

Here’s the article, for those interested: http://bit.ly/2G1haJN

I’ve been reading some interesting stuff lately…I just have to find the time to post about it all! Anyway, have a great weekend, everyone! Ciao! 🙂 

Let it cool down!

I already knew about the dangers of drinking very hot tea, and this is confirmed by a new study: it can almost DOUBLE your risk of cancer, esophageal cancer. I read about it a couple of days ago in this CNN article…interesting read, have a look: http://goo.gl/F6jC6N

Here’s an excerpt: “Researchers found that tea drinkers who liked their beverage to be warmer than 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) and consumed more than 700 ml of tea per day — about two large cups — had a 90% higher risk of esophageal cancer, when compared to those who drank less tea and at cooler temperatures.”

According to Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (now, that’s quite a mouthful, eh!), the problem isn’t the type of beverage. The problem is the heat. So basically, anything that’s too hot is dangerous, even, say, microwaved jam (now, why would you microwave jam? Hmmmm…whatever…). I’d add this to the list: very hot soup.

At any rate, since we are already dealing with multiple myeloma in various shapes and forms, I don’t think we need to raise our risk of getting another type of cancer 🙄 (sheeesh!)…And so, just to be on the safe side, let’s avoid eating or drinking anything on the way-too-hot side!

Tough germs

Well, well…well.

I mean, you try to be oh soooo careful whenever you set foot outside your house, especially during the flu season…For example:

  • you never go food shopping during peak times
  • you avoid seeing friends if they have the slightest sniffle
  • you never shake hands or kiss anyone, or, well, you try not to…

My “try to avoid getting sick” list goes on and on…I repeat, I try to be sooo careful. I always carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse, for emergencies, such as, well, let’s say that, due to social circumstances, I’ve been forced to shake hands with someone and can’t immediately rush off to find a bathroom and wash my hands, which wouldn’t be very courteous, would it? Sort of like, “Oh, such a pleasure to meet you…um, excuse me, where’s the bathroom?” Much more polite to turn my back discreetly ASAP and whip out the sanitizer, right? And certainly much better than saying, “Oh, please don’t take this personally. I don’t shake hands with anyone because I have smoldering multiple myeloma, and shaking hands with you might kill me.” Hmmm, I wonder what the reaction to that would be! I might try it someday…(just kidding!)

So yes, I try to be super careful, especially during the flu season, as I mentioned before.

But sometimes, in spite of all your precautions, the germs GET YOU anyway. And this time it wasn’t because of my passing next to a sneezing child in the supermarket.

This time it was an IN-HOUSE GERM ATTACK.

‘Fruity nose, hints of wild cherry, soothing & gelatinous on the palate, goes well with cough and cold.’

Last Friday Stefano came home from work with a sore throat. When he told me about the sore throat, my “GERM ALERT” alarm started blaring loudly, and I avoided touching or going near him all weekend, no hugs, nothing…well, duh, of course we sleep together…

But usually that works…keeping away from him, I mean.

Not this time.

This time the germs he’d picked up were a bunch of really TOUGH guys…

And those tough dudes MIGRATED OVER TO ME, where else?, over to the innocent nice gal with the teeny tiny immune system…

And so, while Stefano merely had what he called a “mild sore throat,” and in fact we had dinner out with friends on Saturday night, here’s what happened to me, starting on Sunday: I woke up with a TERRIBLE sore throat (which, luckily, disappeared within 24 hours…awful, I could barely swallow/talk).

By Sunday evening I had a TERRIBLE cough, ah yes, THAT cough, THE cough. Then fever, vom…well, yeah, that, too. What else? Oh, terrrrrrrible fatigue. I slept and slept and slept, propped up into a sitting position in bed because of THE cough.

Monday was the worst. Then, on Tuesday morning, I began thinking I’d survive. How did I know? My sense of humour came back. 😉

Anyway, since by now I recognize all the symptoms and am well aware that, with my compromised immune system, things can go downhill reaaaaaally fast, from a little sniffle to a full-blown cough within hours, I began taking an antibiotic, a strong one, on Sunday night (but that’s when I was still in vom… mode, so I don’t know how much antibiotic I managed to assimilate…sorry, trying not to be too gross, here!).

Yesterday, much much better: I didn’t have a fever, cough was better, etc. Today I’ve barely coughed at all!

So I’m officially convalescent now, taking it easy, just doing some light housework (laundry, dishes, etc.) but mostly resting, watching my TV series in bed, with various cat-nurses draped on and around me.

But a little while ago I got a call from Stefano (who wasn’t feeling that great this morning but had to go to work…), telling me that he feels terrible. It’s not just a  “mild” sore throat anymore. Sheeshhhhh. No idea how he’s going to be this evening, but it doesn’t sound good.

I told you those germs were TOUGH! Mamma mia! But…we’re going to smash ’em to smithereens…no worries.

Anyway, take care, everyone, and stay well!!! Stefano and I will, too! Ciao! 🙂

Ufbp1: a potential new target for multiple myeloma

Some interesting news this morning: for the first time, a group of researchers has reported on the essential role that a specific protein, called Ufbp1, plays in the development and function of plasma cells.

Now, we don’t really need to know all the complicated steps involved in this process…Here’s what’s relevant to us: when Ufbp1 becomes upregulated (that is, when there is too much of it),  the development process of plasma cells can go wacky and give rise to allergies, autoimmune diseases, and, tada!, multiple myeloma.

Therefore, if researchers can find a way to manipulate and control the expression of Ufbp1, they might be able to come up with new treatments for all these conditions.

Very interesting, indeed.

In this Science Daily article, the paragraph on multiple myeloma is the third from the bottom: http://goo.gl/zqP5dY

The full study is available for free at this link: http://goo.gl/2gspSe

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read it today, the entire thing, I mean…but I thought that I’d go ahead and post about this discovery, which could, potentially!, have an impact on the field of myeloma treatments…not now, of course, but in the future…

As the SD article states, in fact, this discovery could lead to “the next generation of multiple myeloma treatments,” to which I would add, “preferably (!) a much less toxic generation compared to previous ones…”

Well, well. Fingers crossed…


How did I let a month, well, almost a month go by without posting even something silly??? Dear me!!!

Thing is, I’ve been super busy, with a million and a half things to do, including some long overdue house improvement projects, which have been taking up a lot of my time, especially since Pandora, = one of the two incredibly adorable kittens we adopted about a year and a half ago, simply loves to, er, HELP me. She follows every move I make, and often intervenes. And so, thanks to her, a task that should ordinarily take only one hour to complete can take up to two hours…Of course, she’s such an entertaining little creature that it usually doesn’t matter…She does make me laugh! 

So yes, all is well, yes indeed, all is well. I have been, and AM, absolutely fine and dandy.

Now, before I go back to a task I must finish before Stefano gets home from work, I wanted to let you know that I hope you haven’t tried to get in touch with me using the blog’s “Contact” form. That form hasn’t been working for ages. There are, however, a couple of easy ways you can get in touch with me (if you don’t have my email address, I mean):

  • My blog’s Facebook page (just look for Margaret’s Corner, living with smoldering myeloma). Send me a private message there. I will respond as soon as possible, within a day or so, at the most, unless I am on holiday or without access to Internet for some reason.
  • You can also leave a comment on the blog…on any post, even an old one. If you wish your comment not to be published, just ask me not to approve it, although often that is quite clear to me, and I respect my readers’ privacy. That way, I (and only I!) will have your email address and can reply to you.

Okay, I think that’s about IT for now! I do hope everyone is doing well, VERY well!!! Take care! Ciaooooooo!!!  🙂 

Diamond Jubilee Galleries and the circadian rhythm

Lately, I’ve been so caught up with stuff to do that I haven’t had time to post anything, not even a simple, quick post about our recent long weekend trip to London, which mainly turned into a Harry Potter tour (see last photo…and yes, I stood in line for about a half hour so that Stefano could take a photo of me waving a wand at Platform 9 and 3/4, King’s Cross station; I now am also the proud owner of a lovely Gryffindor scarf, currently my most precious possession 😀 ).

Note: we also met with a good British friend of ours AND visited a couple of museums. OThe best, though, was our tour of Westminster Abbey that included the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, which were opened to the public less than a year ago after having been locked up for 700 years! How about that…

These Galleries are located in the medieval triforium, 52 feet above the Abbey’s floor (great views of the Abbey from up there, as you can imagine!!!).

In addition to the views, there are many fascinating artifacts to be seen in this lovely four-chamber “attic,” such as Queen Elizabeth I’s corset (no kidding…I couldn’t believe my eyes, either…)…but the thing I enjoyed the most was walking among the glass cabinets displaying the wooden effigies of dead kings and queens, some still with painted faces, eyes staring into space. Yes, rather eerie, but oh so interesting.

As I recall, the effigy custom began in the Middle Ages and lasted until the 18th century. In short, the fully dressed (wigs included) wooden effigies of dead monarchs were placed on top of their coffins for the funeral processions. I’d never seen anything like it…

So yes, lots of things to look at in the Galleries, including Mary II’s 17th century coronation chair, covered with graffiti carved by Westminster schoolboys and visitors in the 18th and 19th centuries…Hah, this happened even back then, eh!

Unfortunately, no photos allowed in the Galleries (when I found that out, my expression pretty much mirrored that of one of Westminster’s stone dragons, see photo no. 2, above), but, no worries, you can find heaps of photos online.

Anyway, let’s set London aside for a minute.

I’ve been looking (again!) into how our circadian rhythm can affect how we absorb certain supplements. This is certainly not the first time I’ve posted on this topic…In fact, I just re-read my November 11 2007 post, which deals with a study linking circadian rhythm to chemo drug absorption. That is, an important factor in the administration of chemo drugs should be time of day…I wonder how many hospitals take circadian rhythm into consideration…?

Anyway. It seemed logical to me, even back in 2007, that the same would apply to anything we swallow, including our supplements, of course. Aspirin, e.g, is best taken in the evening, when it will not do as much damage to the lining of our stomach.

So there’s lots to be said for the circadian rhythm. I’m reading some more recent studies on this topic, but boyohboy, some of the jargon makes my brain go into DEEP sleep mode. I must persevere, though, because I might just find a pearl buried somewhere…

Has anyone done any research on this topic? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!  🙂

The Terminal

I had a FANTASTIC time in London last week with my friend and Stefano, but I’ll tell you about that another day. Today I wanted to let you know what happened at the airport on Sunday, because it might be useful to anyone who has future travel plans to Europe…

Let’s see. I went online to get my boarding pass on Saturday evening. Everything was fine up to the very end, when I got a message stating that there were some problems with my travel documents, and that I needed to go to an airport check-in desk the following day, that is, departure day.

We left the hotel a bit early in order to see what the “problems” were. I figured they just had to take a second look at my permanent Italian resident visa, so I wasn’t worried, even though I’d never received a message like that before…

When I got to the check-in desk, though, the airline representatives told me that my passport wasn’t valid for travel. WHAAAAT??? I was stunned.

Here’s why, and what happened afterwards:

My passport expires on April 19, 2019. That’s less than three months from now. The rule is that you can’t travel with a passport that has a three-month expiry date. Indeed, in some countries, the rule is SIX months.

I had no idea. I mean, I knew my passport was going to expire in April but figured I could use it in the meantime and had PLENTY of time to renew it. Who knew about the “three month rule”?

Back to the airport check-in desk.

  1. I made the point that I shouldn’t have been issued a ticket in the first place (NOTE: I booked with the airline directly, not with an agent). The airline reps agreed with me.
  2. I added that I should have been stopped in FLORENCE on my way to London, not in LONDON on my way back to Florence. Again, they agreed.

But they kept insisting that they couldn’t let me travel with this passport, that my passport wasn’t valid…They called their superiors who, at least in the beginning, confirmed my no-travel stance. I began to get worried…Flashes from the Tom Hanks movie called “The Terminal” kept popping into my mind…

Luckily, in the end I got the go-ahead from the top floors, my boarding pass was printed yaaaay, and I boarded the plane with Stefano and my friend…

As you can imagine, I’m getting a new passport ASAP

So here’s my point today: before making any travel plans to Europe, make sure your passport doesn’t expire three months after your departure date. In fact, just to be on the safe side, make that at least SIX MONTHS……………………


First things first. I’ve been trying to sort through my Alsatian photos…Yes, we were in Alsace, lovely Alsace!, for the holidays…I wanted to surprise you, but too much time has passed, so I might as well…fess up! 😉

Here, finally, are a few photos of Strasbourg, where we spent the first part of our trip, including Xmas. The first photo shows a view of what is called Petite France, a lovely area of the city…

Anyway, as I mentioned, I have been trying to sort through my photos, but life keeps getting in the way, so much stuff to do, blablabla.

You know how it is.

This evening, for example, eleven colleagues/friends are coming over to our house for dinner, a mostly Alsatian cheese-and-wine dinner (yummmmmy cheese in Alsace!)…

Then on Wednesday…well, wait, let me tell you the story properly, as it happened.

This morning one of my best friends called for a chat. Among other things, she told me that she was going to be in London next week, from Wednesday to Sunday. Yes, this Wednesday.

I’ve wanted to go back to London for ages, so I must have sighed and said something like “ohhh, I wish I could go with you.” And she promptly replied, “well, why don’t you?”

Indeed, why not?

And so within minutes I had my plane ticket. On Thursday and Friday, she has to attend various meetings, but we’ll get together for dinner…and then on Saturday  (and Sunday morning, too, before heading back to Florence), we’ll be checking out the Mantegna-Bellini exhibit at the National Gallery, among other things… 

Well, this is sooooo exciting! I have to admit, it will be weird not to be sightseeing/going around with Stefano (who can’t take the time off right now…so he’s staying at home with the kitties).

But hey, I’ll be in LONDON, one of my favorite cities on the planet. It will be fabulous!!!

Take care, everyone! Ciao!

P.S. Isn’t it wonderful to see how so many buildings, both in Strasbourg and in the smaller towns we visited in Alsace, are decorated with plush toys? If you look closely, you will be able to see that the building that sticks out in the last photo is the same one that is lit up in the next-to-last photo. So pretty! And oh how I wanted one of those big bears! Hehe.


Stefano and I are leaving today for France where we will be spending the holidays…in a region we’ve never visited before. Very VERY exciting! 

Before leaving, I wanted to post a photo of our kitties with a festive look (so cute!), but I’m having a few computer burps this morning, no time to fix them, so I’ll just have to say: Happy Holidays, Buone Feste!!! And may 2019 bring several IL-17 antagonists (!), good health (yessss!) and happiness to all of us! Yaaaay!!!

Take care, everyone! See you…next year! 🙂