Thursday, March 6, 2008


OK, here's what's going on. For the past 5 weeks Richie has been trying to shake the nasty epidemic strain of flu that's been circulating. Apparently it seems like this has given Darth Myeloma the opportunity to emerge. The last few M-spike readings (December, January, February) have been "Trace Band" readings, where there is not enough present to get an accurate level. However, last Thursday's blood draw now shows an M-spike of 1.0.

Because of this stubborn flu, which has also affected Richie's right ear because of fluid buildup in the Eustachian tube, the doctor has been monitoring him more closely. Yesterday and today he had to go back to City of Hope. The trip yesterday was for a CAT scan of his sinuses and a chest x-ray, (he has a stubborn cough) and the trip today was for a consult. His blood was drawn again today and his hemoglobin was low enough to where the doc gave him a pint of blood. The doc also had him undergo a bone marrow biopsy to see what the actual cells are looking like deep down.

Richie's doctor's philosophy is simple: if the multiple myeloma is emerging from its beaten-down state, then it's time to lay the smack down on it ASAP. Richie is still strong enough to where aggressive treatment is fine.

Alas, that cannot be said for a musician friend of ours who is sliding downhill fast with acute myelogenious leukemia. Dude's in ICU and his liver and kidneys are failing. The guy had diabetes on top of the leukemia, and was not in the best of health before getting the diagnosis, so he was fairly compromised from the get-go. I don't think he's going to be long for the world. In the words of Nigel Tufnel, "Too much bloody perspective." Whatever is going on with Richie, he has the strength to fight it. At least I hope, anyway.

UPDATE: our friend Dale Upton died the day after this post was made. AML is a fast moving cancer. And the pre-existing diabetes made matters very, very much worse. At least he's not suffering anymore.