70 Marathons, 50 States

Thursday, December 13, 2012:

We did it! Last Sunday we three all ran the Honolulu Marathon. For me, this completed the full circuit - a marathon in each state. The nations's 50th state was also my 50th. More about the marathon. We don't yet know what 2013 will bring, but we'll be running.

Pomalidomide Trial:

Today marked the end of my 62nd cycle of the study of pomalidomide, the drug that has kept my myeloma stable for four years and nine months. Result: Again, no change. I love that stuff. IgG dropped an insignificant amount, from 1270 to 1250 mg/dL, while M-Spike dropped a bit more, from 1.2 to 1.1 g/dL, though that drop is also probably not significant. Light chains are up a bit but the ratio is unchanged.

Other Blood Results:

Two liver markers, AST and ALT, were well above the top of their reference ranges. This has happened before, and this time my old body had seen a lot of physical stress in the preceding four days including a hot marathon and an eight-hour overnight flight, so I expect those markers will return to normal. LDH was also slightly high, probably due to the same stress. The white count was slightly off the bottom edge, but that's sort of normal for me, as is a red count at the bottom edge too. Lots of other important markers are just fine, though, including hemoglobin, platelets, calcium, and more.


People on one of the email lists have recently discussed metformin, a prescription drug used to treat diabetes. Some have reported that their myeloma stabilized after starting metformin, and some early laboratory studies have suggested that metformin isn't at all nice to myeloma cells. Even Dr. Durie has mentioned it. Metformin affects blood sugar in a rather specific way, and myeloma cells gobble up blood sugar like drunken sailors, so there is some possibility of an actual mechanism here. I discussed this a little with doctor LH, and we didn't get far with it, but you might try googling "myeloma metformin" and see what pops up. WAY too early to use metformin for myeloma, but stay tuned, who knows. It could end up as the kind of drug that's used in combination to enhance the effect of the big hitters.


My sweeties and I did get to the ASH Conference in Atlanta for a day and a half, but I didn't get a chance to attend any of the talks or even review any of the abstracts. I did, however, get to look at all of the "poster talks," each of which describes an advancement in some aspect of hematology. Some of those have large implications, some small. Some are very preliminary, and others are in actual trials on actual human beings (as opposed to mice or whatnot). Somewhere near 200 of those posters were specifically about myeloma, and I think at least a dozen, maybe more, were about real human trials with new, interesting-sounding drugs. Furthermore, the very best papers on the most promising human trials were given as oral presentations and were not even shown as posters.

The point is: There's a lot of research going on in myeloma, and some of it isn't ten years away, some of it is right on the horizon. There is hope. Enjoy your exercise, eat excellent food, sleep right, and stick around for what's to come.

I hope to get a chance to read some abstracts and some papers, then blog about ASH a little. However, these are excellent sources of information about ASH: Most-Recent Test Results:

Test    Sep 20    Oct 17    Nov 15    Dec 13     Remarks
M-spike g/dL 1.0 1.0 1.2 1.1 \ Tumor marker down
IgG mg/dL 1210 1180 1270 1250 / Tumor marker
Lambda mg/dL 2.61 2.38 2.92 3.25 L free light chains
Calcium mg/dL 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.3 OK
Creatinine mg/dL 1.1 1.3 1.2 1.3 Kidney, barely OK
HGB g/dL 15.1 15.7 14.7 15.1 Hemoglobin, fine
RBC M/uL 4.22 4.35 4.13 4.31 Red cells bottom edge
WBC K/uL 3.7 4.4 5.5 4.4 White cells, low
ANC K/uL 1.70 1.90 3.00 2.10 Neutrophils, OK

Related Links:

My Myeloma     A discussion of my myeloma, not very technical.
My Treatment History Not technical.
My Test Charts Graphic displays of several key test results over time.
My Test Result Table Somewhat technical. Best with a wide browser window.
My Supplement Regimen With links to where I buy them.