Week 25 complete: Why my chemo is like wearing eyeglasses

Week 24 chemo complete: If at first you don't succeed...

On Sunday I completed Cycle 6 Week 4. I saw my Hematologist last week and they were very happy with my progress. From the beginning of my chemo in February, sick my cancer levels (marker is the igG) dropped from 36.1 to 15.7 this month. The region where my cancer lives is called the Beta 2 Globulin. Those levels have dropped from 33.9 in February to 11.4 in July. Everything remains the same regarding chemo, in a best case scenario, I’m still in treatment 2 years from now. But my weekly dexamethasone (oral steroid) has been reduced to 3 pills from 5 to help slow down my weight gain and reduce the likelihood of other side effects.

This multiplicity self-portrait (multiple images using different poses) represents a significant accomplishment for me. A few weeks ago I had tried to figure out how to edit the multiple photos in Photoshop without success. I watched many YouTube tutorial and I just couldn’t follow them. I got confused, a bit frustrated so I put them aside for later. I decided to try again, found a YouTube tutorial that was easy to follow and I was able to create this final product that I’m happy with.

A few lessons I learned:

  • Take your photos as soon as possible, because the sun will affect your lighting. Although it was cloudy out, I spent a long time taking different poses and that resulted in different lighting in places.
  • Avoid touching your camera. My 50mm lens seems to have problems with blurry photos sometimes shooting with my remote, so I use a timer to take for my photos. Pressing the shutter may have caused slight adjustments in my photos that weren’t corrected in Photoshop, as my tripod extension is broken.
  • Many sure you don’t whack your tripod. I accidentally hit my tripod while shooting. Although the view looked the same, I started at the beginning and reshot everything, just in case.
  • Find tutorials when you’re stuck or learning something new. Definitely helped me out and gives me confidence for the future.

I will continue to use this awareness project to learn new genres of photography and explore new forms of creativity for my weekly self-portraits.

Staying positive each day!

To recap: I have Multiple Myeloma and anemia, a rare blood cancer. It is incurable, but treatable. From February to November 2013, I received Velcade chemo through weekly in-hospital injections as an outpatient. Since February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). I now take 3 X 4mg dexamethasone weekly. I started Cycle 7 yesterday.

Weekly chemo-inspired self-portraits can be viewed in my flickr album.

River Rock Casino Marina
Week 25 complete: Why my chemo is like wearing eyeglasses

This photograph represents how I like to explain my Pomalyst chemo treatment using the analogy of wearing eyeglasses. I do not wear glasses myself. When someone is having vision problems, information pills
an eye doctor will test their vision and give them glasses so that they can see normally. The glasses can’t repair their eyes, check
they are simply an aid. If the glasses stop being effective, an eye doctor will give them a new prescription that hopefully will allow them to see correctly again.

The Pomalyst chemo I’m on isn’t to cure my cancer. That isn’t possible, my multiple myeloma + anemia is incurable. Instead, the objective is to stop my cancer levels from increasing. In a best case scenario, my cancer levels will remain low and stable indefinitely. If my cancer levels increase, this means that the chemo isn’t working anymore. I will then see my Hematologist and we will discuss other chemo options, that hopefully will be more effective in keeping my cancer levels low and stable.

Last week was much more challenging both mentally and physically as I’m finding that I’m constantly fatigued, which affects my memory and ability to get things done correctly. It isn’t so severe that I feel trapped in my bed or unable to move off my seat on the Canada Line. Instead, it is a continual level of tiredness that I feel throughout my body.

To recharge, during the day I take any opportunity I get to sleep/nap such as on public transportation. In the evenings I try and get to bed early, with the hope that the next day my fatigue won’t cause any major problems. This is a common side effect of my chemo treatment and a normal symptom of my cancer (multiple myeloma + anemia). I’m doing ok overall and focused on happy thoughts to get me through each day.

To recap: Last Sunday I completed Cycle 7 Week 1. I have Multiple Myeloma and anemia, a rare blood cancer. It is incurable, but treatable. From February to November 2013, I received Velcade chemo through weekly in-hospital injections as an outpatient. Since February 9th 2015, I have been on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On July 27th I began my seventh 28 day treatment cycle, 21 days on (4mg Pomalyst chemo pill), then 7 days off. I take 3 dexamethasone pills (4mg) every Monday.

Weekly chemo-inspired self-portraits can be viewed in my flickr album.

Watching the sunrise at UBC on New Year's DayJanuary 1, 2014: Watching the first sunrise of the year

About tyfn

From December 2019 I've been on Darzalex (daratumumab) IV chemo with Velcade (Bortezomib) injection chemo + dexamethasone. Have Multiple Myeloma + anemia, a rare incurable cancer of the immune system. Life goal: To spread awareness about Multiple Myeloma through my self-portraits. UBC MSc Grad.
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