Tuesday, December 2, 2008

holding pattern

I was asked what a pee-pod is. Karen coined the phrase; I stole it because it sounds a lot cuter than "24-hour urine sample". Here is a picture of the beauty for the next round of tests, being guarded by Ocean's "buddy-fly". (It's empty, of course. I'm not that crass.)

Before I get to today's update, I think it will be helpful if I give a little Multiple Myeloma lesson. Or, as one of Phil's former coaches is infamous for saying, "Let me tell you what I know based on what I know."

One of the key markers of Multiple Myeloma is something called an M-Spike, or M-Protein. The "M" stands for monoclonal. The Monoclonal protein is an antibody that is being overproduced due to a mutation in the gene that produces these antibodies, or immunoglobulins. A normal level is obviously zero. At diagnosis, Phil's M-Spike was 2.2. Last month, it went up to 2.9. Labs were repeated a week later and it fell to 2.7. Today it remained steady at 2.7.

Medical opinions vary on when it is appropriate to begin treatment for many reasons. In Phil's case, he's so young that they don't want to pull out the big guns too early since this could potentially make him resistant to those treatments later on. They were ready to move forward when the M-Spike was creeping up towards 3, but since things have come back down our medical team feels now is not the time to begin treatment since the numbers indicate that the myeloma is currently stable*. Our doctor is comfortable waiting until the end of February to repeat the labs and see what happens then. Since the holidays are upon us and we are trying to sell our house and I'm attempting to go back to school in order to obtain a functional degree and we're failing miserably at potty-training our almost-three-year-old, we're definitely relieved that treatment can wait.

We are feeling all of your prayers. There are no words to express the depth of our appreciation for your friendship and support, and for everyone's continual 'checking in' on us both. This would be an unbearable burden if not for each of you. Love, love, love to all of you. More updates and funny stories to come. But now, I sleep.


Alysa said...

Thanks for the update! I am glad you are getting at least a little relief at the moment in the middle of everything else that is hectic.

tiffany said...

functional degree? what is that?
don't try language, literature and writing...it hasn't worked for me AT ALL.
i'm saving money to go back and get special ed. certified (for kids with speech problems), but HOLY CRAP saving money is hard. especially when you're still trying to pay for your first non-functional degree.

what are you thinking of going back for?

Cassie said...

Tiff, I'm planning on doing Physical Therapy. WCC has a great PT assistant program which will transfer to Eastern if I wanted to go for the 4-year shebang. Now if I can just get these dumb prerequisites out of the way.

How much longer do you think until you go back? Will you be at Eastern?

tiffany said...

i'll definitely be back at eastern, as i'm in no position to move to a different city. also: hello, eastern, what with the awesome education program.

i'm going to try for starting with one class in the spring, but it's more realistic to say i'll start in the fall.