Today is Bence Jones Day…for ME, I mean. Bence Jones is a typical multiple myeloma monitoring test. But before I get into the nitty-gritty, I would like to mention that this morning I actually looked up Dr. Henry Bence Jones, an English physician and chemist who, in 1845 or thereabouts (some websites say 1847), discovered the existence of the proteins that bear his name. His name is also associated with the first recorded case of multiple myeloma in history, which I thought was a fascinating little historical fact. And he was a friend of Charles Darwin. Oh, but I digress!
Anybody who has ever taken this test (everyone with MGUS or SMM or MM, for sure!) knows what this test entails, but here’s a quick and not overly detailed explanation for those who haven’t. The test measures the presence and quantity of the Bence Jones proteins, which are small abnormal monoclonal proteins (free light chains) made by plasma cells. Now, proteins, generally speaking, are too large to be passed by the kidneys, but these little buggers are small enough to pass easily and quickly from the blood into the urine. When our blood contains too many of these proteins, our efficient bodies filter them out via the kidneys. I should note that during this passage they can damage the kidneys. Not good. Earlier today I read different statistics showing that these proteins are present in 40 to 80 % of myeloma patients. Healthy people don’t have a Bence Jones problem, of course.
In sum, the Bence Jones test is an important one. I have it done twice a year or so, and so far the test has been negative (and I plan to keep it that way!). I should mention that this test is not painful at all (it’s not a bone marrow biopsy, ouch!), but it IS a bit of a drag, especially for women. Every time we pay a visit to the bathroom in a 24-hour period, we have to collect the sample in a large container. Oh, plus, the collected liquid needs to be refrigerated. Since I refuse to keep my urine in the fridge next to our milk and vegetables (!), I bought a cooler that I use for this purpose ONLY. Okay, I have mentioned the word urine enough for one day. Tomorrow morning EARLY I am having my blood tests done at Careggi hospital and should have the results in two weeks or so. My next experiment begins tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I will post about it in the next few days, once I have it all written down. Of course, my eight grams of curcumin will still be in the picture, but probably in capsule form.