New test results and other bits of news

As you may recall, my April “andrographolide” results were disappointing, although some MM markers did improve. But my IgG jumped up quite a bit.

But now, incredibly, in just three months, and in spite of ALL the stress I’ve been under in the past weeks, my new, August test results are, well, excellent!!! My IgG has gone down to less than it was in 2012. Obviously, it’s still high, but it’s back to where I prefer it to be. ūüôā

So I’m pleased. VERY pleased. Incidentally, all I took in this period was curcumin (the usual 8¬† grams a day) and Reishi, which has done well for me for the second time. Looks like I’m going to be taking Reishi forever!

So that’s some very good news…

Another topic. HOLIDAYS! Stefano and I have been sort of talking about going on holiday this year. Last year we didn’t have a holiday because, as you may remember, one of our cats, my beloved Piccolo, became seriously ill, and in fact we had to have him put to sleep in early September. My sweet boy…still miss him terribly.

Anyway, back to the point: we haven’t had a holiday in two years. So we’d recently been talking about going somewhere in Europe, and our choice fell on Scotland. We’ve only been to Edinburgh and, briefly, the Scottish Borders. Never been to the Highlands, Skye, etc.

We made our flight reservations, but then we found out about Peekaboo, and that whole process began. We didn’t think we’d be able to leave, but of course our priority was Peekaboo’s health…

As if cancer isn’t enough: a couple of days ago, I saw Peekaboo walking a bit “funny,” and then she screamed out in pain. Have you ever heard a cat scream in pain? Let me tell you, it scared the bejeezers out of me! I took her over to the vet hospital immediately, and they found a herniated disk. OUCH!!!

That’s all poor Peekaboo needed, after all she’s been through.¬†So now she’s on an anti-inflammatory drug, which has anti-tumoral effects, too…

She’s not moving very much, but the vets told me that she should be out of the acute phase in a couple of days.

Luckily for us, we have a fabulous cat sitter who will be coming over a couple of times a day, plus our next door neighbor (one of my best friends) is going to check on the kitties every day, plus our vets have practically ORDERED us to go on holiday (seriously, they did!), plus, if anything happens (knock on wood!), the vet clinic will send someone over to the house to check on any of the cats…

So we’re all set, and we’re leaving for Scotland. Tomorrow, as it happens. I still can’t believe it…

My blog will be going on holiday with me. I won’t have a proper computer while we’re in Scotland, just an iPad, so it would be difficult for me to post anything. I’m going to take a break from everything, basically.

I will be checking Facebook, though, where my blog has its own Page (same name, Margaret’s Corner blablabla), so if you need/want to reach me, or if you just want to say “Hi,” please “like” that Page and drop me a note. Thanks!

(I love the “Keep Calm” messages…hehe.)

In the meantime, have a look at this interesting Science Daily report that a blog reader sent to me. It’s about the all-important issue of curcumin bioavailability…Yes, a rather unexpected, new delivery method has been found:¬†

Take care, everyone! Ciao!

The margins are CLEAR!!!

Peekaboo, my 11-year-old cat, is such a star. Our amazing little star…And yes, in case you’re wondering, all of these photos are recent, post-surgery photos. Obviously, her right side looks better than her left, as you can see…But once her fur grows back, she’ll be as good as new (not that that’s the most important thing, of course!).

Here’s the most important thing:

Our vet just called to let us know that the final results of Peekaboo’s mandibulectomy (half of her lower left jaw was removed) show CLEAR MARGINS.

In other words, no cancer cells were found in the outer portion of her jaw, the portion that was removed. Had that happened, if even a few cancer cells had been found, it would not have been good news at all…

I have to confess that I got all choked up on the phone and could barely speak to the vet. Tears of happiness.

This has been such an emotional journey for Stefano and me. Just a few weeks ago, when this awful cancer was found in her mouth, by chance!, we didn’t know what to do: should we agree to the surgery? Is surgery the right decision for Peekaboo? What about her quality of life afterwards? Would she be able to eat without half her lower left jaw? We had so many questions…and so few answers.

But in the end, based on her test results, specifically her second CAT (hah) scan, we agreed to go ahead with the surgery. And now I’m so glad we did…

And yes, she is eating on her own again, eating like a horse, as you can see…

This final biopsy result doesn’t mean that Peekaboo will never have a recurrence of this beastly cancer…

But we’re not thinking about that now…

We’re celebrating today’s victory…

And she’s back to chasing her video mice again…

Forskolin: another natural compound goes on my list of myeloma killers

Yesterday I came across a 2015 study that really caught my attention. A group of Norwegian researchers has discovered that the combination of dexamethasone with a natural compound called forskolin kills multiple myeloma cells.

They tested forskolin with other conventional myeloma drugs, too: bortezomib (Velcade), cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and melphalan.

And by itself.

Results in a nutshell: dead myeloma cells.¬† ūüė鬆

Excerpt from the abstract: “Our findings support a potential role of forskolin in combination with current conventional agents in the treatment of MM.”

The researchers believe that forskolin might be able “to diminish treatment-associated side effects,” which of course would have a huge impact, obviously a very positive one!!!, on a patient’s quality of life…indeed, on the QOL of countless patients…

Of course, this is all theoretical, since the researchers used MM cell lines, not actual human beings. I checked the clinical trial website where I found only a few trials testing forskolin for various conditions, mostly eye, weight loss, and lung-related (interesting aside: there were a couple of cystic fibrosis studies there, too).

No myeloma clinical trials.

Are you surprised? I wasn’t. I mean, we know WHO finances almost all the clinical trials…and the ghastly rich and powerful pharmaceutical companies aren’t going to be interested in an affordable natural compound, are they?

No profit, no trial. It’s as simple as that.

And that is why non-toxic substances that might kill our myeloma cells without messing with our¬†QUALITY OF LIFE¬†are completely ignored…ignored even by our own MM foundations that should have our best interests at heart…It’s frustrating, to say the least…unbearably so, I admit, at times.

But let’s get away from negative feelings and focus instead on this potentially POSITIVE bit of news, which is that it seems we have another promising anti-myeloma tool. Yaaaaay!

Incidentally, the Norwegian study is fully available online:

So what exactly is forskolin? It’s a natural compound extracted from the root of an Indian plant called Coleus forskohlii. It has become popular in recent years as a weight loss supplement (the patient studies I glanced at early today, however, have mixed results). More importantly, it has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a treatment for asthma, breathing disorders, and for general health purposes.

Contraindications. Generally speaking, forskolin is considered to be safe. However:

  • It may lower blood pressure, so definitely stay away from it if you have low blood pressure or are taking drugs for high blood pressure (beta-blockers, etc.). Of course, if you suffer from HIGH blood pressure, this might be of interest to you.
  • If you are on blood thinners such as warfarin or if you have kidney disease, forskolin is not for you.
  • It may also increase your heart rate and your levels of gastric acid.
  • There have been reports about possibly contaminated supplements in Europe.

Apart from these things, though, so far I haven’t read anything super negative about forskolin.

The big question is: will it work for myeloma patients?¬†No idea, of course. As I mentioned, the Norwegian study used myeloma cell lines, not patients. But that hasn’t stopped me before, and it probably won’t stop me now…as long as my research keeps turning up positive information. Right now, though, it’s too hot here in Florence to think about experimenting with a new compound, which is good in the sense that it gives me time to do some further reading…

But I’m intrigued, really intrigued, and that’s a good start…

Hmmm, final (obvious!) thought: has anyone here taken this supplement? I’d love to hear from you! Thanks!