5/8 – To Be in Remission or Not To Be in …

The blood work is in from last week. This is the monthly Myeloma Markers and its all really, really good. Every single marker is in NORMAL range and … That dreaded M Spike is … wait for it now … ZERO! ZERO! That is the goal! That is REMISSION! But wait …. maybe not.

When I got the notification that my numbers had been posted on line to look up – (by the way, Mt. Sinai has a really cool system where every time I have a blood or urine test Dr. J reads it and posts it to a portal on line where I can access it) – I couldn’t find the usual results like M Spike. I sent an email to my nurse practitioner asking where the M Spike was. If you recall from previous blog entries, M Spike is the measurement of abnormal proteins or Myeloma proteins. She responded by writing M Spike is ZERO! (Exclamation point hers not mine)

The M Spike started at 2.76 on 12/1/12. A person without Multiple Myeloma has an M Spike of zero. When I reached 1.02 in January we called that PR or partial remission. That was a 50% response. Last month the M Spike was .28 or a 90% response. We called that VGPR – very good partial remission. NOW – I am all the way there – my M Spike is ZERO (0) – I asked the NP if that was CR – COMPLETE REMISSION – her response was “almost” – no exclamation point, no all caps, just “almost”

Why? It doesn’t make sense. If 1.02 is PR and .28 is VGPR, why isn’t 0 CR? Why? WHY? I need some answers here. I spoke with her on the phone and she told me that while there is no measurable amount of abnormal protein in the blood or the urine, under a microscope there is a very small band of Myeloma cells still present. I don’t know the medical definition for “band” – perhaps there is a doctor reading this that can comment – but until that band goes away we can’t say this is complete remission.

So – where does that leave us?

First – we are at nCR or NEAR COMPLETE REMISSION – defined as the absence of an M Spike and a normal Kappa/Lambda protein ratio BUT chemistry still shows a “band” of Myeloma cells in the marrow.

Second – we KNOW that even once in complete remission it will come back (and probably come back quicker due to my high risk profile) so we need to remain vigilant and steadfast in our battle. No spiking the ball!

Third – next steps are one more cycle of Chemo beginning 5/17 for three weeks and then meet with the transplant doctor on 6/7 to begin the harvesting process of stem cells for the transplant.

For all intents and purposes I am in REMISSION. At least that is how I look at it. Why not? My goal was to get M Spike to zero and that’s what we have done. These are AMAZING RESULTS!

I was at an investor seminar Monday night when I spoke to Helene on the phone about this. She said when she told the kids that the M Spike was zero Victor’s eyes started tearing. Imagine all the stuff he is holding inside. It’s heartbreaking that he goes through this. BUT – its heartwarming that we can share this great news. I am dedicated to crushing this disease and demonstrating the power of belief to them and everyone around me.

Every day that goes by we are WINNING the battle against Cancer. I will fight EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

GOLF OUTING IS FILLING UP QUICKLY! Thank you to all of those who have signed up, donated or sponsored. Big shout out to my Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors so far – Steadfast Companies, MembersInvest (A Royal Alliance branch), Gitterman & Associates Wealth Management, Mimi & Hill Interior Design, Arrow Pest Control, The Mattress Factory and Celeritas Solutions.

And thank you to everyone who signed up individually, as foursomes, and sponsored contests and holes. All of us together are going to help find a cure for everyone who battles this disease – most of them in a much tougher battle than me. Within a week of the link going up we have raised well over $20,000!

You can sign up by clicking the link to #bradstrong golf on the top of this page.

It’s a GREAT day to continue the fight against Cancer. #bradstrong

7 responses to “5/8 – To Be in Remission or Not To Be in …

  1. What wonderful news!! Great way to start a rainy, dreary day! It’s looking a lot brighter here now!! Thanks for sharing! xoxoxo

  2. Another day, another GREAT posting by Brad. I too got tears in my eyes and choked up when you shared Victor’s reaction. I want to thank YOU for being so forthcoming and sharing all that you are going through – the good, the bad, the ugly and more. You have a bright future as a writer and don’t forget it. We loved seeing you two weeks ago and hope to very soon. Sending lots of love from the Block Family in DC.

  3. This is WONDERFUL news, Brad. We’re so happy for you and your family. Keep up the good work. Love, Aunt Susan and Uncle Errol

  4. so very happy to here you are doing much better, think about you all the time just keep it going. Judy Kessel

  5. Dear Brad, In my book ZERO is ZERO which means you met your goal.MAZELTOV! I am a big believer in the power of the mind – and you are proof. Love, Aunt Roberta

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