Saturday, May 7, 2011

Labs and Such.......

Hello Y'all !!     (getting my Louisiana on!)

So, I had "Dr. Feelgood" order some labs for me before I leave for La. I love their office. They are SO nice, and he is a really great guy - hence the reason I can requests labs w/o a visit and/or co-pay.

Well, I got them back yesterday and...well not so good. Not so bad, but not so good, nonetheless.

If you have any type of disease or illness I urge you to always ask for your records and copies of your labs...You own them. They are YOURS. And by keeping them, you can see a pattern that your MDs may miss, especially if you see more than one. As an example - you can see tests that are recurrently abnormal, rising, off and on and you can gauge your symptoms and flares to your labs. It is a great help - especially with the "reactive markers" !!  ; - D But anyway, I guess I will take my Sally Field hat off and step down from my soap box

So back to the lab results.

As you know, I have something called a "Monoclonal Gammopathy" which put simply is an abnormal protein circulating in my blood. A lot like the antibodies with regard to my autoimmune disease - only these are proteins in the blood cell/plasma. They should not be there. Apparently this is a bad thing... which in turn leads to a lifetime of oncology-hematology follow up, as these gammopathies can and do turn into cancer.

I have written about it in a previous blog - so I don't want to bore you too much... but mine is an IgG Kappa type with an increasing M-spike - so my particular gammopathy is considered a "Smoldering Multiple Myeloma" or "Cancer in Situ" - which is why I have to have that M-spike monitored every 3 months.  Good Times, right!

I have an appoint with an oncologist on May 19th to follow up and have that M-spike followed (along with something called plasma chain proteins), but previous to that appointment I had my Dr. Feelgood labs come back. Well..... turns out my White Blood Cells and Neutrophils are still elevated. They have been so since January. Not a good thing ever, but especially when you have this smoldering thing in the back of your mind all the time. Along with the WBC & Neutrophils (which are both part of the CBC = Complete Blood Count) - Something called a C3 Complement came back elevated as well.

The C3 Complement is something called an "Acute Phase Reactant", meaning, it becomes elevated when there is an acute inflammation within the body. Well, that doesn't sound too out of the question, as with an autoimmune disease you have inflammation within your body, right?

Well that is where it gets a tad tricky.... When your C3 is chronically elevated, it becomes a tad more worrisome, as it then reads as a cancer marker. Nice! The best way to describe it is - if you have a flare up and have an "Acute (meaning right now) inflammation" happening it works as an inflammatory marker - but if that same test that is supposed to only react during "Acute" inflammation - keeps reacting & coming up - then it shows there is a continuous destruction of cells happening and it is looked at differently.

So, at this point I guess I am a tad intrigued by the continued elevated White Cells, Neutrophils and C3 due to the fact that I have this M-spike - which when it boils down to simply put - IS a cancer marker. I am sure most laymen know that a continued elevation OR decrease of the white cells means something is happening - so I am a little more excited than usual to see the oncologist this month.

Along with the elevations above, I also had the regular abnormals of the "usual suspects" - Positive ANA, Positive elevated Centromere antibody and a slight positive of the RF. So - it seems that the Big S is continuing along as usual - which was no surprise.

I go to the onco on May 19th and at that time I have no doubt she will order the bone marrow biopsy - as it is truly the only way to make sure the elevations are NOT origination within the bone marrow. I think everything is fine, i really do.... as I remember reading a paper (yes, still a dork and still read studies for fun!) that talked about Rheumatoid Arthritis causing a chronic inflammation of WBC and C3, and with that slight elevation of the RF - I think I may be heading that way into an overlap - which - Hellz yea I'll take RA over MM anytime ;- )

Now if I may be a nerd one more time (okay, well I can't guarantee it will only be one more time - indulge me) I again truly think that the Monoclonal Gammopathy and Autoimmune disease are directly related, especially with Scleroderma Type - check it - Scleroderma is a "connective tissue" disease and what is blood? Well blood is a liquid "connective tissue" so?

Which leads me to my next soap box. Warning: High Horse again:
If you have an autoimmune disease, ask your doc if he/she will run an SPEP.
It is a Serum Protein Electrophoresis which analyzes the protein in your cells. It can't hurt and it will only be one less thing to worry about, right?

So some labs to ask about:
C3 & C4 Complement
ANA with reflex titer and complement antibodies (anti-centromere, anti-jo, anti-mi2, smith, etc)

As always - wishing you all well & hoping you are enjoying this beautiful weekend.

Peace and Love ~


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