Well, today is my birthday. How old am I? Hmmm, let me think….Wait a sec, I have almost got it….Just kidding, hehe, I know how old I am: 63.

Poppy, July 2024

63 and counting! After my diagnosis, I didn’t think I’d make it to my mid 40s (when all I knew about myeloma was, well, alarming and scary…not to say that myeloma isn’t scary, of course, but I don’t think about it as much as I did in the past…), so every year that passes is a HUGE deal for me…well, for all of us! Birthdays must be celebrated!

And so this morning, even though this is going to be the HOTTEST day for Florence thus far this summer, I picked up a close friend, and we had a lovely breakfast in one of our favorite pastry shops.

A brief anecdote: as we were walking toward the pasticceria (pastry shop), I noticed a woman (daughter) trying desperately to hold up an elderly woman (her 94 year old mother). She, the daughter, was really struggling, and they were both slipping to the ground. We rushed over to help. A few minutes later one of their neighbours brought out a chair, and we lowered the lady into it. We chatted while waiting for their taxi to arrive. Once we got her mother inside, the daughter blessed us, which was so sweet…I’m an atheist, but I certainly don’t mind getting blessed. So there you go: I even got blessed on my birthday!

Now I’m at home under the ceiling fan, at my computer (planning our trip to Scotland in August). And this evening Stefano and I are going out to dinner. No cellphones. He promised. πŸ˜‰ Perfect.

Anyway, all is well here. And soon we’ll be in Scotland for 3 weeks…Can’t wait…! Take care, everyone, and…birthday hugs from Firenze, Italia!


These past few weeks haven’t been easy. At all. On June 13 we had to have one of our cats put to sleep: Pixie, only 6.5 years old. We’re still in shock. It happened too quickly.

Studies have shown that losing a beloved pet is like losing a beloved member of the family, and our personal experience with cats (we’ve lost seven over the years) certainly confirms that. Stefano still can’t mention Pixie’s name without getting all choked up, and I have only just stopped waking up, screaming her name inside my head. We weren’t ready…that is, if you can ever be ready for something like this…

The last photo I took of Pixie, at home, on Sunday, June 9.

Truth be told, I want to forget what happened in Pixie’s last few hours at the vet hospital. I want to remember her as the wonderful, beautiful, loving cat that she was…By the way, that’s her photo on the blog header. She always had a look of total surprise on her face, and she was the gentlest cat ever. We miss her so much. Ci manchi tanto, amore bello!Β 

Changing the subject, we were supposed to be in Scotland this week, photographing puffins and razorbills and gannets. We had booked that trip months ago. But we had to cancel because Stefano had to be in Florence this week, for work, of course. No problem, since we decided to return to Scotland for three whole weeks in August. Ah yes, we love Scotland…

Okay, I should go now. Lots of things to do. I’ll try to write soon…on happier notes, I hope. Stay well, everyone! Ciao!

London and Poppy

So much has happened that I hardly know where to begin. Well, okay, obviously, from our fabulous trip to London. Oh that was so much fun! We walked at least 12 kilometres a day. London has a very good transportation system, but you miss a lot unless you walk…and so we walked.

Notting Hill

While Stefano and our friends had to return to Florence after 4 days to go back to work, I stayed on for three more days, so I had a full week in London, alone. I returned to Florence on our 25th wedding anniversary. Wow, 25 years (not counting the two years plus that we lived together)! We’re going to celebrate our anniversary properly next month, with a trip to see our beloved puffins and other sea birds at the same place we were last year, north of Edinburgh (isle of May plus Bass Rock for the gannets).

Here’s a big bit of news: we are back up to eight cats again. No kidding. I really didn’t want another cat, especially a KITTEN…

But she was a gift, and we couldn’t say no to that little face, see below. She’s a teeny tiny Maine Coon female…

She has a few problems, caused by being sort of crushed while in the uterus by a bigger brother who was born dead, unfortunately, so, for example, her tail is broken in two places and looks more like a fluffy rabbit tail than anything else. I hope that won’t be an issue (cause her any pain, I mean) as she gets older, but for now it doesn’t stop her from all the usual kitten zoomies, not at all…

More importantly, she has a few digestive issues, again caused by her having been crushed. We can’t feed her dry food, for example, because she will spit it up afterwards. To avoid that, I prepare smoothies for her–a mixture of blended dry food for kittens and water. So far, so good. No throw-ups. Again, I hope that this is a problem that will be solved in time, as she grows older. Too early to tell now…

Natural History Museum, always interesting…

We named her Poppy, after Poppy Pomfrey, the Healer in Harry Potter. πŸ˜‰ She is really adorable, a little bundle of joy, quite small for her age but with a huge personality. The other cats have accepted her, even though, for the first few days, most of them hissed and even growled at her, probably hoping that if they made a lot of noise, she would disappear. But no, she didn’t disappear, and now they seem to be okay with the new addition to the family.

I even saw Petunia licking her head the other day, and Puffin follows her around like a puppy…

She has certainly given the other cats something to think about… πŸ™‚Β 

For example, they don’t sleep as much during the day because they’re too busy watching her play, the way we watch a fascinating TV series…So funny.

Hmmm, she looks huge in the first photo…but I assure you, she’s tiny…

Oh dear, I have to go now. I hope everyone is doing well…please keep in touch with me! Ciao!


Potter, almost 4 years old, Florence, end of April 2024

Stefano and I and a couple of our closest friends are going to London for a few days. While they, including Stefano, will be returning on Sunday because they have to go back to work, I will be staying on until the middle of next week. Yes, three full days by myself! I already have a full schedule…so much to do and see in one of my favorite cities on the planet.

Fun fun fun!

I will publish a post after I return. Until then, I am sending everyone a big hug…Take care and keep smoldering! πŸ™‚

Case report: regression of MGUS with long-term use of curcumin!

I wonder if these case reports will ever catch the eye of our MM organisations, which, unfortunately, are so heavily sponsored by big Pharma…Doubtful… πŸ˜•Β 

Well, Margaret, this is intended to be a celebratory post, and I really don’t have the energy to dive into THAT discussion again. It’s just so bloody frustrating that sometimes I have to let off some steam. But no, not today. Today is a super good day!

Pinga, 14.5 years old

A new case report, led by Terry Golombick (if you don’t know who she is, you can do a search of my blog…she’s one of my favourite people on the planet…!!!), shows that a patient with intermediate/high-risk MGUS who has been taking curcumin for 16 years has had “a decrease in disease markers and an increase in uninvolved immunoglobulins.”

Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

The study is available online for free (love that!), so you can have a look for yourselves…not hard to read, either:

16 years, eh? That made me realise that I’ve been taking curcumin now for more than 18 years, which means that this patient began just a couple of years after I did…AND a year after I began blogging. I wonder if I know him…Hmmm…I believe I must, but I have so many readers now that of course it’s hard to keep track of all of you…

Please do get in touch with me, Mr. Fabulous Patient, if you happen to read this post. I’d really love that. Thanks! πŸ™‚Β 

Interesting bit: Mr. Fabulous Patient took a very small amount of curcumin every day, only 2.3 grams a day, divided into two doses, which seems to confirm that we all have a different reaction to curcumin. I also guess that it might (must?) depend on WHEN you begin taking it…It makes sense, to me at any rate, that curcumin would have a stronger effect on a MGUS patient than an SMM one, e.g.

Food for thought.

The study concludes: “This case study adds to the body of evidence that curcumin administration may benefit some patients diagnosed with MGUS with little or no toxicity even after 16 years of therapy.”

Potter: “This box is mine, only mine, even if I don’t fit on it!”

Yes, indeed…no doubts about that in my mind!!!

I am incredibly happy for Mr. Fabulous Patient as well as for those of us who have been doing so well on curcumin … Today is definitely a day of celebration!!!

Take care, everyone. Oh, and, if you have the time, please go read the study and send me your comments…Thanks!


My faithful nurses (of course, Stefano was number ONE)…

I’m usually soooo careful when I leave the house…If I’m going to be in a crowded situation, such as a supermarket, I pull out and wear an FFP2 mask. I don’t shake hands or kiss anyone, even my closest friends. They all know and respect that…

But on Sunday, March 10, I let down my guard, unfortunately. We went to a friend’s house, and when we left, I gave her a hug, just as she was telling me that she didn’t feel that great (Margaret, duh!). We pulled apart, but the damage was done. The following day she came down with a very bad “flu” (or whatever it was), and that hug, plus hanging out at her house on Sunday, meant that I did, too.

I woke up on Monday with a very high fever (on Tuesday night it went up to 40.4Β° Celsius), and other symptoms that I shall spare you. πŸ˜‰ But mainly, the high fever was the biggest annoyance. I was really sick that week…then, slowly, I got better, and I’m absolutely fine now. This “thing,” whatever you want to call it (flu or viral bad stuff) is going around, my doctor told me. And, he added, it takes a while to get back on your feet. No kidding.

Anyway, all is (quite) good now. That’s the important thing. I’ve read some interesting things lately, but I need to rest some more before writing a serious post…I just wanted to publish a wee post on the blog today. And wee it is! πŸ™‚Β 

Take care, everyone, and wear a protective mask in crowded situations, even though it’s no longer mandatory… Better safe than sorry…!!!

Test results!

Hi everyone! Oh dear, I’ve been gone for quite some time, haven’t I? Life really does get in the way of plans sometimes.

In this period, in addition to being super busy with a million other things, I’ve been focusing on getting my arthritic knee in shape. There’s no going back to the knee I had in my 20s, of course, but I can try at least to stop it from getting worse, mainly with physiotherapy. Okay, but enough about my knee….that’s not the reason I’ve written this post…

Today I have some good news that I’d like to share with you… πŸ˜›Β 

Here’s the news: I just received my most recent blood and urine tests, which are about the same as my previous ones. Some numbers have actually improved, such as my C-reactive protein, which is now within the normal range. In sum, no huge changes compared to previous tests, which means that I’m (still) stable. Relief!

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well…Again, I apologise for being absent on the blog, but my knee is an everyday issue (oh no, no no no!, here she goes on about her knee again… πŸ˜‰ ).

Speaking of my knee (agggghhhh!), Stefano and I are about to go on an anti-inflammatory diet with the help of a nutritionist…I do hope that this diet will help (it should)…In fact, I wonder if it might help improve my MM markers, too…Hmmm, that would indeed be an added bonus.

And, in case you’re wondering, I’m still taking my high dose of curcumin every day (divided into two doses — half at lunch, half at dinner), to which I’ve now added some boswellia capsules. A recent Italian study showed that boswellia can lessen pain in the…ah yes, you guessed!…in the knee!!! Hehe. Besides, as we know, boswellia is also a MM cell killer, so it should work on both fronts, knee and MM. Too early to tell, though. We’ll have to wait for my next tests…

Okay, off I go. Today is a good day! Take care, everyone! Ciao!

Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone! Time is really flying…it’s Xmas, already??? How did that happen? Anyway, I just wanted to wish you all a very happy and healthful and peaceful holiday…

Just about an hour ago I read some interesting news on the curcumin front, positive news…unfortunately, I don’t have time to write about it now. But I will be looking into it, you can be sure of that…

In the meantime…

Buone Feste, Happy Holidays! Margaret πŸ™‚

An update from TAB

TAB sent this (see below) as a comment to his older news post, but I decided to put it in a post so more readers will see it immediately. TAB, you are amaaaaazing! A big hug! Margaret. πŸ˜€Β 

Here’s his message:

TAB’s Update December 8, 2023
Alive and well at age 82 after dealing with MM (IgA Lambda) for 25 years. I have been off Velcade treatment for a year. I am feeling good with no symptoms. I am taking 6 grams of curcumin, resveratrol, vitamins C and D, selenium and a multivitamin. My blood work is good but M spike is rising. I will probably be going back on Velcade in February 2024 if the M spike keeps rising. My report is available if anyone is interested in a copy.

Knee osteoarthritis and Pavarotta

Well, earlier this week we had to say goodbye to our eldest cat, Pavarotta. She was 19 years old.

Here, in brief, is what happened: last Monday, November 27, I heard a scary, very loud howl coming from the dining room, where the kitties have their water fountain. I got there in time to see Pavarotta fall on the floor and begin scrambling about, trying to get up. A few of our other cats came running and sat around her…I think they wanted to help. After hearing my reassuring voice (but I was freaking out, truth be told), she finally lay down and rested for about a half hour, then got up and seemed almost normal. She even ate some wet food. I called the vet hospital immediately but couldn’t get an appointment with our usual vet, and I didn’t want to take her in to see another vet. I made an appointment for the following morning. With our vet.

Our blue-eyed Pavarotta, recent photo

Pavarotta had another neurological issue in the late afternoon…same thing…but again, like the first “fit,” she rested, then got up and even ate some food. At 3 AM, though, another fit, the final one, I think, in retrospect. In the morning, she wasn’t really moving.

She was always such a feisty girl who hated to be picked up, but when Stefano lifted her and put her in the cat carrier, she didn’t move or make a sound. We knew that she wouldn’t be coming home with us…and she didn’t.

Ciao piccolina, ti voglio bene…I never thought I’d say this, but I really miss your ear-splitting howl for attention in the mornings when I go down to the kitchen…

Okay, I’d better change the subject…

Knee news. Ah yes. Well, I finally received a diagnosis for the pain I’ve had in my left knee since July. Yes, July. I didn’t have it checked out back then, because we were about to go on holiday, and I had a zillion things to do. But climbing all those castle stairs in Scotland became agonising for me. When we returned to Italy, I postponed going to the doctor mainly because I had pain only when I went up a flight of stairs, so it didn’t really have an impact on my regular routine. Plus, I was super busy at the time. But, about a month ago, I had had enough and decided to have some tests done.

The diagnosis arrived more than two weeks ago: knee osteoarthritis. That basically means that my knee joint cartilage is gone on one side, and the pain is caused by bone scraping on bone.

But it’s not all bad news: I went to see the surgeon who did my perfect hip replacement two years ago, and he said that even though I’m in stage 4 (and there is no stage 5), the damage is, put simply, on the left side of my knee (he used a more technical explanation, of course), which means I won’t need knee replacement surgery, not now, anyway. Phew!

However, there is no going back. The damage is done. But I can try to stop it from spreading, mainly with physiotherapy. Fine, let there be physiotherapy!!! And even though I haven’t had more than 5 sessions, I already have no pain going up our stairs. No pain. Amazing.

Anyway, unless the pain gets much worse, my surgeon said that I won’t need surgery for six years. Six years…not bad at all! However, I’m aiming for…never! We’ll see…

Okay, that’s about it for now. I hope everyone is doing well. Take care! Ciao!