Posted by: Barbara | January 26, 2009

Finally, an update!

I must apologize for not updating the blog for quite a few months. The last few months of 2008 were difficult for the Acunas. Unfortunately, I fell down about 12 steps outside my health club and broke my wrist. I also had a lot of bumps and bruises and my  neck was sore. I had PT for my neck and the cast on my wrist came off the day after Christmas. I am now undergoing 6 weeks of PT to improve my wrist rotation. Since I broke my right wrist and I am right-handed, writing and e-mailing were difficult. So, that is my excuse …….we tried to update friends and family in our Christmas letter.

NOW for an update……..Mario recently completed his 3rd round of chemo (cytoxan, thaliomide and dex). This round lasted 4 months and was quite aggressive. He endured the various side effects and was usually quite tired, but continued to work when he was able. Around Thanksgiving, he also developed a terrible cough which persisted for more than a month…… well as a stomach virus. He lost some weight but seems to be regaining some of the lost pounds.  To add to everything else, he developed an irregular heartbeat and now we have added a cardiologist to our long list of doctors. He is on Coumadin and another med to control the heartbeat. Coumadin must be closely monitor.

Last Monday the oncologist performed a bone marrow biopsy to determine the percentage of cancer cells in the bone marrow. When this procedure was performed in the summer of 2008, the percentage of cancer cells was at 90 percent. The number came down to 20 percent this time…..great news! Now, the decision is what do we do next?  Since the cancer is aggressive, it will return and already the IGA number is increasing. So, Dr. Selonick is going to talk with Dr. Huff at Hopkins, who is an expert in the field of MM.  Stem cell transplant was mentioned but might be ruled out due to physical limitations and age. The desired age is under 70 and Mario will be 69 in March. It seems that each chemo session kills the less aggressive cells but is unable to kill the more aggressive cells. This is the case in a lot of cancers. That is what MM researchers are attempting to discover…find a way to get rid of ALL the cancer cells that will come back in time. They are studying combinations of meds and well as developing new meds to fight the disease.

We will meet with Dr. Selonick next week and will proceed from there. I promise to keep everyone better informed and thanks, as always, for continuing to give us the needed support that keeps us going. We appreciate all of your phone calls, e-mails, thoughts and prayers. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL…here’s to health and happiness in 2009!



  1. Barbara, Thank you for the update. I keep you and Mario in my prayers. Did you know that I fell and broke my hip during the summer? I had purchased a razor scooter for my granddaughter and decided to try it. Big mistake! I think it is very important for us, spouses, of those with MM to be super careful because we need to stay well. I do have a hard time limiting my impulse to climb a ladder or some other such silly thing. Please take care

  2. So sorry to hear the struggles are so difficult for your family now. We will keep you in our prayers. They just started my son back on chemo and really don’t know why. He had a Stem Cell Transplant last July and they are looking for a perfect match. Please in your little moment of time remember my son also.

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