Friday, 9 December 2016

Plateau

My body's made of crushed little stars and I'm not doing anything
My body's made of crushed little stars - Mitski

Check up ... KFLC = 381 ...

I'll keep this brief, jumbled and confusing - in honour of today's appointment.

When I arrive, at 11:15, DrC is clearly in a rush. The first thing he asks me is about changing our appointment times.
"This clinic is crashing! I have too many patients! Can you come early morning?"
"Eh?"
"Can you come earlier? I start at 8:30!"
"It suits me much better to come early. If I drop the kids off at school and come straight on, I'm here by 9. I only came later today because that is the appointment I was given"
DrC rolls his eyes.
"Ignore that! Come early! OK, so we can continue!"

By this stage he has already opened my file and interjected:
"Your light chains are plateauing!"
Plateauing equals no news, which is very good news. Which definitely wasn't what I was expecting; partly because gloom always consumes me in the days before clinic; partly because this week coincides with my first virus of the season - a minor grey-out - which always makes me feel pathetic; and partly because my rib pain is noticeably worse, these last few weeks.

As anticipated, my MRI report is not yet complete. DrC flicks it open. Glancing at the screen it looks to me as though the spine report is in, but the whole body one - which would include my ribs - is not. He says we need to discuss some possible damage, but he'd like to wait until the whole report is there before doing so. He clicks it shut again. Anyone would think he is in a hurry. But I've already seen a little of it, and I'm not going to be fobbed off too quickly:
"I see the report mentions damage to T1-T3. That's certainly not something we've ever discussed before".
T1-T3 would correspond to the vertebrae behind the top of my ribs. Until now I've always understood my problems start from T7 downwards. DrC offers one of his peculiar metaphors:
"If your tyre has a hole, it may go down. That is progress for the car, but not for the hole"
By which - I think - he means that my vertebrae may still be deteriorating from old lesions. That could explain me having new pain symptoms, while the myeloma itself is not going anywhere.

I guess that's good news of a sort. Though I'd prefer my skeleton to stop crumbling, I'm happy enough to not be booking in for chemo. I'll get a better understanding when we can see the report for my ribs, or indeed stop long enough to have a proper conversation. There are obvious questions. The most prominent being: Can we do anything to stop my bones breaking? and: Are we sure my myeloma is plateauing, and not just secreting less light chains?

These answers will have to wait until January. I go to the reception to get my next appointment.
"The only time I have available is 10:45" she tells me.

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