December 30 2009 post. These are my saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) test results. Oh wait…I have to confess that during the saw palmetto experiment, I sometimes reduced my curcumin intake slightly, from 8 to 6-7 grams/day. Only sometimes, mind you. Silly of me, but sometimes even I get tired of swallowing so many capsules…(it won’t happen again, though!).
Compared to my October tests, my total IgG has gone up a bit, from 2970 to 3410 mg/dL. But I also have a bit of good news: my IgA increased from 6 to 15. For me, that’s like jumping off the top of Florence’s cathedral and landing on the Taj Mahal! My IgM also went up, but only slightly, from 8 to 10. Still, even though these two numbers continue to be amazingly low, I am happy to see them go up, NOT down…about time, I say!
Now, about my increased immunoglobulins. I didn’t keep a daily record (I was just too busy this fall…I am sure that it would help if I wrote down every single thing I swallow…but what a chore that would be…)…but at one point in October, when I started getting a few cold symptoms, I did take some Sambucol, the H1N1-inhibiting black elderberry extract. For the record: the cold never materialized. At any rate, could Sambucol have pushed up my immunoglobulin counts? Hmmm…
As for my other myeloma markers, I cannot find anything that really sticks out. Some numbers have gone up slightly, such as B2M, M-spike and total protein, but others have gone down a bit, such as CRP. And my hematocrit and hemoglobin have increased a smidgeon, too (both are still well within the normal range).
Let’s see, what else? Yes, a bit more good news: my parathyroid hormone result has finally settled within the normal range. And yes, my vitamin D levels have increased from 25,7 to 35,1. Excellent!
Well, all in all, I am satisfied…NOT ecstatic, since I was hoping for better results, of course…but it is true that my results always seem to go a bit up, then a bit down: the teeter-totter effect! And what matters to me is that I am still stable. Besides, saw palmetto left me with a great head of hair!
October 13 2009 post. 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.).
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!
June 5 2009 post. I got my test results yesterday. Not great. As you read through this post, please keep in mind that my previous tests (excellent ones, by the way) were taken six months ago, in November 2008. Well, I have learned one very good lesson: never again will I wait that long between tests…okay, here goes…
My total protein went from 8,6 to 9,5. It’s been above 9 before, but this is the highest it’s ever been.
My IgG jumped from 32,80 to 39,90. Ouch.
My M-spike went from 2,33 to 2,68. Double ouch.
B2M went from 1,7 to 1,9. Not a big concern, since it’s been that high before.
I also have a rather scary vitamin D deficiency. My endocrinologist had told me not to take any vitamin D before this set of tests, so I didn’t. Whoah, though. This particular value turned out super low. I need to speak with her and start on a vitamin D supplement ASAP.
As soon as I received my results, I sent them to Sherlock who looked them over and then phoned me. These are a few of her very wise (come al solito!) thoughts: perhaps an ingredient in the feverfew extract that I took for six months might have inhibited the anticancer activity of the curcumin. Aha. That is very possible. And her theory might be confirmed by the fact that my (already high) cholesterol went up a staggering 14 mg/dL, which doesn’t make much sense when you think about it.
Another possibility, my good friend told me, is that I may have some sort of latent infection. That would explain my high IgG and also my still high ESR (note: my ESR is less than it was in July 2008, which is good). At any rate, Stefano and I are going to talk this over with my family doctor on Monday to see what can and should be done.
Let me add that the news was not all bad. For instance, I am definitely not anaemic. My haemoglobin, red and white blood cell count etc. are all fine. My ferritin is up to 13, back in the normal range, yay, and my serum iron continues to be fine. And my other markers have remained more or less the same, for instance my creatinine is still at 0,7, perfectly normal.
Let’s see. Now we get to the “big no-no.”
Of course we always want our markers to be stable or even better than stable, so any increase is a disappointment if not outright frightening. But I thought I had taken the news quite well…there were no signs of what would happen later on…when Stefano got home from work, that is.
I began, “I have something to tell you…,” and then, to my utter surprise and horror, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. Oh no. Not now. I tried to hold them back and managed to continue, “I got my results…and…they…are…really…bbbad…!!!” Then, phoosh!, the deluge…
Oh no…my poor husband! Through my tears, I could see the alarmed look on his face, so I managed somehow to reassure him…that he shouldn’t worry, that I was still stable but some of my markers had increased a bit. Phew, relief! This leads me to make the following obvious point:
If you ever have some disappointing or worrisome news to break to your caregiver, please try NOT to cry! Not a good idea…mark my words!