The double-k in the word “bookkeeping” always looks wrong to me. A-D-D kicking in, must. Not. Gah! Weird looking word.
Anyhow I got off my butt today and filled in some data in my Myeloma Spreadsheet. This is the kind of nerdy stuff people like me do when they get cancer apparently (I’ve been told that). Except I’ve put it online! Now you, home viewer, can track along with my shitty cancer numbers from your very own Internet-enabled device! Yay!
Someday I’ll make a lot of pretty graphs to go with it. Or die horribly from cancer, either way.
I cobbled all of the numbers I had stashed in the various boxes of medical paperwork and from current and past docs so there are some gaps and missing data, but you can kind of get an idea of the trends. I also included the dates I tried different chemo regimens so you can see their impact (usually not very impressive).
If you are interested in what those numbers represent, I shamelessly stole the following definitions from this website:
Monoclonal spike (M spike): An important measurement used for diagnosing multiple myeloma and for monitoring how well treatment is working. When you have MM, the malignant myeloma cells duplicate many times and produce an excess of an abnormal immunoglobulin called monoclonal protein (or M protein). So when the Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPEP) test shows a spike in M protein, this is a sign of MM.
Immunoglobulins (IgA, IgM, IgG, IgD, IgE): Antibodies that play an important role in fighting infections. There are 5 different types of immunoglobulins in your blood, which scientists have named IgA, IgM, IgG, IgD, and IgE. Each of these has a slightly different role to play in your immune system.
When you have MM, the malignant (or cancerous) myeloma cells may produce large amounts of one type of immunoglobulin. Your doctor may test your blood for the levels of immunoglobulins to help determine which specific type of myeloma you have. IgG and IgA myelomas are the most common.
Free light chains (kappa, lambda, kappa/lambda ratio): Small protein chains produced by plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that makes large amounts of a specific antibody that fights bacteria and viruses. Light chains combine with other, longer protein chains, known as heavy chains, to form immunoglobulins (antibodies that play an important role in fighting infections). Scientists don’t know why, but plasma cells produce more light chains than are needed to create immunoglobulins, and these extra light chains end up in your blood on their own as “free” light chains.
There are 2 types of light chains, known as kappa and lambda—and each plasma cell produces only 1 type. The amount of free light chains in your blood, and the ratio of the 2 types, can help to show the activity of myeloma cell growth and can be used to help diagnose MM.