Fabulous news!

A MMA and Beating Myeloma list friend sent me a fabulous bit of news yesterday morning via e-mail, as follows:

I was diagnosed with MGUS. Feb.06, m-spike 0.03, went up to 0.07, and then I took control, took all your advice and listened to my body. I worked my way to 5 grams of curcumin among other things. Reduced stress, soaked in 104 degree water twice a day. Last test before Dr’s appointment: 0.02. The day of appointment I had another test, just got it back: "NO monoclonal protein detected by the current electrophoresis study.


I asked her for permission to post her story here. She very kindly (thank you!) consented, also providing me with the details of her protocol.

She takes the following: Andrew Weil’s Daily Multivitamin, Daily Antioxidant, Immune System Builders that include ashwaganda, cordyceps, astragalus, Siberian ginseng – the quantities are prepackaged in an AM and PM dose.

She also takes: Life Extension Super Curcumin with Bioperine 800 mg, 3 pills in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Lysine: 1000 mg, 1/day. Resvera Wine Complex 500 mg, which contains: grapeseed extract, ellagic acid, & resveratrol, 1/day. Guggul Plex 340 mg, 1/day. Zyflamend softgels by New Chapter, 1/day. Yaeyama Chlorella 400 mg., by Yarrow Formulas, 1/day.

She writes: I am anemic if I am not careful and I take Slow FE- 47.5 mg. slow release iron- doesn’t upset my stomach.

Every morning and afternoon, she soaks in a 104 degree hot tub for 35 to 45 minutes and, she adds, there I do nothing but soak- it was hard to learn.

She adds: “I eat lots of veggies, some fruit and meat 2 or 3 times weekly (salmon, or whatever I’m craving, meatloaf last week, buy organic whenever I can). If I crave an old evil food, I eat it- it’s usually not as satisfying as I remember, and it takes care of the craving, although I recently made a German chocolate cake.

Lots of nuts, focusing on walnuts- make my own chocolate bars by roasting walnuts and pouring Ghirardelli’s chocolate (bought at Trader Joe’s) over top, keep it in my freezer for a quick fix.

No coffee, diet anything, fast food. Use real butter (organic) and olive oil- did notice a difference for the better when I gave up Smart Balance. Try to keep all food real—very little pre-prepared. In spring and summer frequent my local farmer’s market. Juice carrots every other day, and buy Green food juice at Trader Joe’s. Drink tons of water.

I have early retired, and I now do projects that used to take 1 day. I now spread them out over 3 or 4 days. If I’m fatigued, I do nothing.

I’m careful to avoid stress, I have started saying no to volunteer situations.

I’m 58, I have neuropathy from the waist down -large areas of no temperature feeling- reflexes not strong below the waist- My doctors are now saying fibromyalgia just because they don’t know. But if I listen to my body I can do anything I want, just slower with planning- I used to be a construction worker and have worn out my spine.

Hope this helps.

Upon rereading this post, I must admit that the list of things that she takes is quite daunting. I don’t take anything except for curcumin, quercetin, flaxseed oil, black cumin oil and an occasional multivitamin (heavy on the B vitamins). That’s my current intake. My list pales in comparison with hers. Hmmm.

At any rate, she will continue to monitor her blood situation every four months for the next year, then will go to every six months. She believes that getting rid of stress has really helped her, as well as ignoring the reports that we shouldn’t build our immune systems. Well, this approach clearly worked in her case! In her own words: I do believe our society demands multi-tasking, major stress, the need to buy more, have more. I think my efforts at doing nothing helped reset my immune system and yes, I ignored those reports that you don’t want to build your immune system.

Speaking of immune systems. Incredible but true: yesterday I began feeling a bit ill. And it just so happens that tomorrow Sherlock and I are supposed to go to the hospital lab to have our Biocurcumax tests done. But this morning I am having chills and, can you believe it?, a low-grade fever. Needless to say, I am quite annoyed! But not too surprised, since all of my students have been ill, with fevers and colds and terrible coughs…SIGH! Che pazienza che ci vuole…Well, unless I get worse, I will go have my tests done anyway. Oh, bother!

Be happy, but not TOO happy…(oh, and my test results…)

The first part of my post title refers to a Science Daily article I read this morning while waiting, or fidgeting is more like it!, to drive to the hospital to pick up my blood test results: 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.

A quick aside: you can read this rather interesting Science Daily "happiness" article here: http://tinyurl.com/2l38re In a few words, a new study suggests that "moderate happiness may be preferable to full-fledged elation." The “don’t be too elated” study seems quite appropriate in view of my current test results: yep, 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. For the blog readers who are not members of the very exclusive Myeloma Club: that’s 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!

Well, even though I know that the myeloma is still stable (Sherlock, whose mind is much more analytical than mine, confirmed my feeling), I admit that I am not the happiest camper in the world right now. I would have liked to have seen a drop in my IgG count, a substantial drop. But it’s true that my m-spike dropped a wee bit, and besides, the above-mentioned happiness study shows that, compared to blissfully happy folks, people who are only mildly happy have room for improvement. I like that. Furthermore, if you are completely happy and satisfied, you have nothing to wish for, as Sherlock wisely pointed out to me earlier today. And that is no fun. So, hey, every so-so test result has a silver lining, isn’t that the saying? 

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. My gut feeling right now is that I want to blast the blasted myeloma cells with the entire arsenal, i.e. the full dose. At this point, I should mention that I am a pacifist in real life, but when it comes to myeloma cells, well, I feel like crawling down my bone marrow with a bow and curcumin-containing arrow and hunt the malignant cells down one by one.

I am going to look over my tests this weekend, and Sherlock and I will come up with a plan for March. Tomorrow Stefano is driving to southern Italy with his parents and brother to make sausages and whatnot out of a poor dead pig (I tried to save the pig’s life, but was outnumbered…this is a long-standing family tradition), so I will be “alone” in Florence with the four kitties. Plenty of time to study this issue. And go play cards with my girlfriends. Life is good.