I had my monthly bone strengthener treatment (a biosphonate called Zometa*) on February 14th at the day unit which is delivered intravenously and takes about 20 minutes ( however the waiting time is a hell of a lot longer!). It is completely painless apart from the insertion of the cannula which doesnt bother me either as the nurse can normally find a suitable vein on the first attempt.
Before it is administered a blood test is carried out to make sure your kidney function is ok because it can cause kidney damage so isnt given to you if your kidneys are not ok (quite a common problem with myeloma).
Anyway mine was fine, creatinine was 59 (well within the normal range) and GFR (glomular filtration rate) was over 90 which is normal so I got the monthly dose eventually after reminding the nurse to check my blood results after 2 and a half hours waiting – she had forgotten, well at least she admitted that and didnt blame it on the lab being slow!
I also asked them to take a full blood count as the month before my platelets** were high and my phosphates*** were high. Talk about technical terms but these words are now part of my vocabulary. For those that are interested an explanation of those words marked with an asterisk appear below.
The result of the full blood count takes a little bit longer to come back from the lab so I rang Nellie, the haemotology specialist nurse to find out what the results were on Monday. She told me that my platelets were still slightly high (439 and normal range is 150-400) and my phosphates were also slightly high but they had both dropped a lot and were nothing to worry about. They could have been elevated whilst I was fighting an infection (only rhinovirus, the common cold!). So that was good news but what was even more positive was that a free light chain test had also been carried out last week (that is the way my myeloma is measured but I am not going into all the details of that now) and the results of that were more or less the same as they were the month before when they were within normal range.
So I could breathe a sigh of relief once more as I had been a bit worried the last couple of months because they were creeping up month by month although still within the normal range. My consultant has told me that fluctations are to be expected but even so my mind starts spinning round and round fearing a relapse is on the cards.
And so I feel like a have been given a reprieve for another month or two. The next light chain test will be on 13th April and until then I will try not to worry.
I feel well, people say I look well and today is a lovely warm sunny, spring like day amd I feel happy and no I am not on ecstasy (although it is being tested as a potential cure for myeloma!), just trying to live in the moment.
*ZOMETA is a proven treatment for people with bone metastases from solid tumors and bone complications from multiple myeloma. It can help protect the bones and reduce and delay bone complications caused by the spread of cancer (taken from Zometa website
**Platelets are tiny cells that circulate in the blood and whose function is to take part in the clotting process.
Inside each platelet are many granules, containing compounds that enhance the ability of platelets to stick to each other and also to the surface of a damaged blood vessel wall.
The platelet count in the circulating blood is normally between 150 and 400 million per millilitre of blood. The average life span of a platelet in the blood is 10 days.
***Phosphate is a charged particle (ion) that contains the mineral phosphorus. The body needs phosphorus to build and repair bones and teeth, help nerves function, and make muscles contract. Most (about 85%) of the phosphorus contained in phosphate is found in bones. The rest of it is stored in tissues throughout the body.
The kidneys help control the amount of phosphate in the blood. Extra phosphate is filtered by the kidneys and passes out of the body in the urine. A high level of phosphate in the blood is usually caused by a kidney problem.
The amount of phosphate in the blood affects the level of calcium the blood. Calcium and phosphate in the body react in opposite ways: As blood calcium levels rise, phosphate levels fall. But this relation between calcium and phosphate may be disrupted by some diseases or infections. For this reason, phosphate and calcium levels are usually measured at the same time.