November 2008 results, December 16 2008 post. This morning I went to see my family doctor. I showed him my recent bone density tests. I wish I had brought my camera with me. The look on his face was priceless. He was absolutely thunderstruck. A translation of what he said runs more or less as follows: I can’t believe this. I have never seen results like these.
When I asked him to elaborate, he told me that we begin losing bone mass after age 20…after that age, the best that one can hope for is for a T-score of ZERO, which would mean that one’s bones are as strong as they were at age 20 (if I recall correctly). But my score, for both my femur and neck, is not a mere zero. It is a positive number, a very positive number. Bones of steel…indeed.
But there is more good news. When I returned home, I found my November blood test results in my mailbox. A few results, such as the usual graph, are missing, so I must call the lab tomorrow morning to see what happened and have them send me another copy. But I have most of my results. And I was stunned. Simply stunned. Still am…
I will compare the November results to my July ones. I will concentrate on the more interesting results. From now on, J = July; N = November.
1. White cell count. J = 3.88; N = 5.05. (NR: 4-10) Back in the NR.
2. Red cell count. J = 4.12; N = 4.41. (NR: 4.20-5.40) Ditto.
3. Hemoglobin. J= 12-2; N =13.2. (normal range: 12-16 g/dL) Even more within the NR.
4. Hematocrit. J = 35.8; N = 38.3 (NR: 36-46). Back inside the NR!
5. Iron. J = 57; N = 100. (NR: 60-140 mcg/dL) Finally, finally!!!
6. LDH. J = 163; N = 151. Still within the NR, but an even better result.
7. Total protein. J = 8.9; N = 8.6. (NR: 6-8.6 g/dL) Back to the NR!!!
But the best is yet to come. My IgA and IgM have finally reversed their negative downward trend. At least for these tests. My IgA has gone up a fraction of a fraction, from 0.0667 to 0.07, but my IgM has gone from 0.08 to a whopping 0.12!!! Okay, so these are teeny tiny percentages, but every little bit counts (tutto fa brodo, as we say in Italian). And hey, my IgM has made quite a comeback–more than 30%! I think my haematologist will be pleased.
Let’s see, what else? My total IgG has gone from 33.20 down to 32.80 (luckily, it’s been on a steady downward trend ever since my high result of 35.3 in February 2008, after the failed Biocurcumax/BCM-95 experiment), and my M-spike has also gone down a bit: from 2.46 (July) to 2.33 (November).
More good news: my parathyroid hormone level has also gone down quite a bit. Indeed, it’s almost normal, now. This is amazing. I wonder what the endocrinologist will think of that!
I suppose I should mention again what supplements I took between the end of July and November. Not much, actually: my usual 8 grams of curcumin with bioperine, 1 gram of quercetin/bromelain and 1 gram of fish oil. All in capsule form.
December 13 post. Bone density test. This morning I finally went to pick up these results, which have been ready for, uhmmmm, about ten days. Oh well…better late than never…
I almost developed a headache trying to puzzle out all the standard deviations and graphs…finally gave up and decided to wait until I see my endocrinologist in February to get a clear picture of what it all means. But the main thing is spelled out on the result sheet:
My bone density is NORMAL. Absolutely and wonderfully normal. That’s all that I need to know…for now!
Update: I just conferred with Sherlock, whose vast experience with bone density test results led her to tell me that my results are amazingly good…better than hers, in fact. Wow.
July 2008 test results, September 9 2008 post: Well, okay, I was hoping for better…I was hoping for outstanding and extraordinary…yes, I was hoping for dazzling results.
But the tests that Sherlock and I had on July 31st, at the end of our resveratrol experiment, are quite a bit less than dazzling. A first glance at my results turned me into Ms. Glum. I simply went to bed (it was bed time anyway)…all gloomy and doomy. In the morning, after a more careful perusal, I realized that my results weren’t THAT bad. Then, once Sherlock and I had finished comparing our tests point by point, I started feeling much better. Why?
Because she and I are still stable. What could be more important than that? I will take “stable” over “dazzling” any day. Well, okay, to be completely honest, I wouldn’t have minded glittering just a wee bit.
For some reason that puzzles us, though, our blood viscosity shot way up. Mine is the highest it has ever been: 97 mm/hr (the top end of the range is 30!). Sherlock’s blood viscosity went up quite a bit, too, though not as much as mine. I have my own theory about this sudden increase.
Preamble (to the theory): in July I began taking a homeopathic remedy that Sherlock has been taking for quite a long time and that is supposed to prevent bronchitis. She, in fact, hasn’t had a case of bronchitis in years. So, since my lungs seem to be my weakest spot, I asked my family doctor if I could take it, too. He said, “sure, go right ahead.” You have to take this remedy every day for the first ten days of the month, for three months, preferably beginning in June. The conscientious, meticulous Sherlock began in June. I, the disorganized procrastinator, in July.
Thing is, as soon as I begin taking this remedy, I had an almost immediate reaction to it, in the form of a runny nose and a sniffle. The same thing happened in August and now in September. No big deal, though.
My theory: could it be that my teeny tiny but feisty immune system had a reaction to the remedy? Since the blood viscosity value (=VES, in Italian) is an inflammation marker, I suspect that my recent high VES value could have been caused by the stimulation of my immune system. This is just a feeling, mind you. It could just be a freak result, as a friend told me. Or it may have been affected by other variables, such as the hot weather or testing conditions. In fact, a doctor friend of mine told me that the end of hot July is not the best time to have tests done. Ah. Anyway, who knows…I will ask my family doctor on Thursday for his opinion, too.
Other items. My hematocrit is slightly below the normal range for the first time ever. So are both my red and white cell blood counts. Just slightly, though. I am not too concerned about it.
Worrisome trend: my IgM has been going down a teeny tiny bit with every test. It is now 0,08 (the low end of the normal range is 0,40). What happens if it disappears altogether? Is that a possibility? And is there a way to increase that number? Hmmm…more things that I must investigate.
An oddity: even though both curcumin and resveratrol are supposed to lower cholesterol, my total cholesterol shot up to a second, all-time high. Hello?!!! Was it caused by the ice cream I ate during the heat wave in July? No idea.
But there is some good news, of course. My monoclonal component went down from 28.1 to 27.7 %. My total IgG went down a wee bit, but, more importantly, my M-spike shows very little change (a fraction of a fraction upward, from 2.44 to 2.46) since my last set of tests. Sherlock’s M-spike went up a bit more than mine, but it has been higher in the past…
These are the main things. My results show no significant changes in B2M, LDH, etc., so I won’t bother listing those (all within the normal range, as usual, anyway).
What is our conclusion? Well, we are a bit disappointed but also happy to be stable. The main value that Sherlock and I will be monitoring closely in our next set of tests will obviously be our blood viscosity. I am convinced that it will go down, though.
A question just popped into my head: did we take enough resveratrol (one gram a day) to make a difference? Hmmm.
Well, even though these results show no incredibly positive trends, there are also no incredibly negative ones. So we both continue to amble along the path of stability. That’s what matters.
May 14 post: Just got the results of my most recent blood and urine tests (taken on April 23). These refer to the experiment with EGCG (in addition to the usual dose of curcumin and, in my case, flaxseed oil) that Sherlock and I conducted for almost two months.
Some things went up a bit, some things went down a bit. But let’s proceed in the usual order. If a value shows little or no change, I won’t bother reporting it.
Good stuff. My white blood cells are back within the normal range, phew. On Biocurcumax they had gone way down, below the minimum. My platelets have also gone up, from 254 to 281.
Serum calcium is still within the normal range but dropped to 8.8 from 9.4 (max is 10.7 mg/dL), which is good.
My inherited high cholesterol is way down. It’s not normal yet but it has gone down 10 % for the first time since last November. Yeah!
Total protein is down from 9.3 to 8.7. Still a bit on the high side (slightly above normal, that is), but going in the right direction.
Uric acid is down from 5.3 to 4.6.
Total IgG is down from 35.3 to 34.
M-spike has varied only a teensy weensy bit, from 2.45 to 2.44. But at least it didn’t INCREASE.
Bence Jones protein: negative.
Beta-2 Microglobulin went down from 2.0 to 1.8.
Bad stuff. My ferritin (iron stores) is back down to 7 from 13; the minimum is 10. Oh, bother. And my serum iron has gone from 57 to 43 (minimum is 60 ng/mL). Dear, dear. At this point, I may have to take an iron supplement. I will talk this over with my doctor.
Albumin went down, from 49 to below the normal range (minimum is 48%). It is now 45.6. But I see that it has been lower in the past, well, on one occasion, so I guess that doesn’t worry me…too much. Hmmm.
Gamma globulin went up, from 27.9 to 31. The top end of the normal range is 22.8 %. It’s never been this high. Uffa.
The albumin/globulin ratio has dropped to 0.84 from 0.96 (minimum is 0.99).
Monoclonal component went up from 26.4 to 28.1. Drat. Not sure what this means, since the M-spike remained stable. Another question for my doctor.
I admit, I would have preferred more of a drop in the M-spike in particular. In fact, I would have liked all of my immunoglobulins to have returned to normal. But what’s the point of wishing for the impossible? After all, upon examining the good and bad list, there are more positive than negative items. I am still stable, and things seem to be moving (slowly) in the right direction…
March 18 2008 post. this page refers to my February 26 tests, the results of my two months on eight grams of Biocurcumax, allegedly a more bioavailable form of curcumin, ordered directly from the Arjuna company in India and put into capsule form by fabulous Dr. Balducci in Calenzano.
Terrible. A big flop. Going down the list, comparing the February results to my so-so early January ones:
First, the good news (January results are listed first).
- Hemoglobin went up a bit: from 12.7 to 13.6 g/dL.
- So did my hematocrit, from 37.4 to 40.0.
- My blood viscosity and general inflammation marker (VES, in Italian) went from 50 mm/h to 42, the lowest it has been in years (I checked as far back as 2004).
- Ferritin: up slightly, from 7 to 13 ng/mL. Still under the normal range, though (sigh).
- CRP is still under 9 mg/L.
- Bence-Jones is negative, as it has always been. In this case, for non-myeloma folks, negative is good.
- IgA and IgM are the same as they were (barely there, but holding on!).
- B2M: stable. It went from 1.9 to 2.0, still within the normal range.
- Albumin went up a bit, from 48.2 to 49.0 %. So did my beta globulin, from 6.9 to 7.4 %.
- Liver markers are all fine. To be expected, because of my intake of curcumin.
- DHEA-S (new test) is right smack in the middle of the normal range.
Now for the bad bits, again going down the list.
- Total IgG went from 31.90 to 35.30 g/L. It’s never been that high. Please remember, though, that I started on antibiotics the day after the tests, so that could have something to do with this bothersome increase.
- My serum iron took a bit of a plunge, from 81 to 57 micrograms/dL, which means that I am now a bit below the normal range. I guess I will be seeing heaps of iron-rich molasses in my near future.
- Total protein: the highest it has ever been. It went from 8.7 to 9.3 g/dL.
- The news gets “better”: my m-spike went from 2.17 to 2.45. The highest it’s been since I discovered this test (less than a year, so not long).
- My monoclonal component also took a wrong turn (I’m going to give it a map before I take my next set of tests!), going from 25.0 to 26.4 %.
- For the first time EVER, my white cell count has dropped below the normal range. That doesn’t make much sense, since, as I mentioned, I must have been fighting an infection at the time. Puzzling.
Two of my “new” tests were a bit “off,” as follows.
- Alkaline phosphatase, which is below the normal range. This could be a symptom of a bunch of things (still have to look into the matter), such as magnesium deficiency and hypothyroidism. But, from what I have read so far, better to have a low than high result. Phew.
- Creatinine clearance, which I have never had done before, is right smack on the high end of the normal range: 140 mL/min. That could mean a million things, including hypothyroidism (hmmm, there it pops up again!), so I will have it checked out. But my serum creatinine is fine, no change from last tests (0.7). I will have to sort this out.
Sherlock’s results are on my Blog Readers’ results page. My conclusions. Biocurcumax may well work for other ailments, but it would appear not to have worked for yours truly and Sherlock, respectively a U.S. citizen and an Italian (our DNA is VERY different, I mean).
So…hasta la vista, Biocurcumax! Too bad. Well, at least I won’t have any more rosacea flare-ups. There is always (?) a bright side…
January 31 2008 post: these refer to the tests that Sherlock and I took before beginning our biocurcumax experiment. More precisely, to the November-January period of my CMC (cocoa mass curcumin) experiment, when I was also taking a low dose, no more than the daily recommended dose, of Scutellaria baicalensis and Zyflamend. Well, these are more seesaw results. I am getting used to going a bit up then down, so it’s no big deal, now that I have had time, a few hours, to process and digest the numbers. Ready? Ok, here goes.
My IgG went up from 27,80 to 31,90 g/L. Now, that’s not a huge jump in the wrong direction, but it’s still a jump, 12% or so. However (!), my m-spike went down slightly, from 2,20 to 2,17, and my monoclonal component decreased from 25,7 to 25 %. These aren’t huge changes compared to my previous tests, but I think the two itsy bitsy decreases are interesting. From what I understand, in fact, the m-spike and IgG count go down together, hand in hand, and vice versa. Perhaps I was fighting a cold or some sort of infection during those two months, so my good immunoglobulins increased. It’s very possible. Well, I won’t say any more on the matter until I speak with my hematologist next Wednesday.
Ok, first let’s get the negative stuff out of the way:
Ferritin ( = iron stores) is back to 7, down from last test’s 10 ng/mL. No worries, it has been that low. It will go back up.
My albumin is down from 49,5 to 48,2 %. Oh well. It’s been lower.
Beta-2 microglobulin went up to 1,9 from 1,6 mg/L. Still way within normal range, though.
Hematocrit went down a bit, from 39,5 to 37,4 g/dL. Hmmm. Well, it, too, has been lower.
Now for the good stuff:
My serum iron jumped from 62 (barely within the normal range) to 81 microg/dL. Guess all those steaks and spinach with lemon juice made a difference, after all!
Bence Jones is negative. In this case, negative is good.
Total protein went down a teeny bit, from 8,8 to 8,7, creeping back toward the normal range (high end of the normal range is 8,6 g/dL). Good.
LDH, or lactate dehydrogenase, decreased from 158 to 146 U/L. Also good, since high levels of the LDH enzyme are associated with aggressive disease, which we do not want!
Creatinine is stable at 0,7, no change.
Calcium went down from 9,6 to 9,2 mg/dL. Still way within the normal range. Nice to see it go down a fraction.
CRP is still within the normal range. I hate it that I don’t get a number but only a “less than” value.
Oh, I almost forgot. All of my celiac disease tests were negative, and you know what that means: pasta for lunch!
My questions, for now:
1. Did the Scutellaria baicalensis clash with the curcumin cocoa mix, even though I took them at different times of the day?
2. Did I take enough Scutellaria to make a difference? (Off the top of my head: probably not.)
3. Do tests taken in certain periods of the year yield similar results? (Work in progress.)
4. When I am testing one supplement, should I quit taking curcumin for a month or so, to see if said supplement really works by itself? Now there is a scary thought. It’s like asking the Peanuts character Linus to give up his security blanket for a month or so. Tremble tremble! But, in the interest of science…who knows…I might consider it.
Sherlock and I agreed earlier that I should change over to the…atomic bomb, i.e. take biocurcumax the way she is: once a day, all in one gulp. Forget about tickling my myeloma cells with a half dose twice a day.