We are international

Jim Gambrill
Palmyra, NJ

1-16-1953 / Class of '88 / Type: IgA /BMT, reoccurrence and buffy coat infusion / Died 3/8/01

  • Nov 88 - Diagnosed with MM, IGA 5500, plasma 63% of marrow
  • --- 89 - VAD, interferon, skull radiation.
  • Jan 90 - Hi dose Melphalan, total body radiation.
  • 01 Feb 90 - Received sister's marrow.
  • Dec 93 - Relapse
  • Sep 94 - Begin Melphalan / Prednisone
  • Dec 94 - Add interferon
  • Mar 95 - Stop M/P/I
  • Apr 95 - Receive buffy coat (t-cells from my sister)
  • Jul 95 - Buffy coat zaps myeloma & gives GVHD symptoms
  • Aug 95 - Start Prednisone to reduce GVHD symptoms
  • Jan 96 - Stop Prednisone

A summary of my recent IgA history:

  • 08 Sep 94 - 1460
  • 06 Mar 95 - 1070
  • 08 Jun 95 - 1420
  • 29 Jun 95 - 1260
  • 27 Jul 95 - 645
  • 18 Sep 95 - 281
  • 19 Oct 95 - 283
  • 20 Nov 95 - 331
  • 28 Dec 95 - 407
  • 28 Mar 96 - 606
  • 29 Apr 96 - 489
  • 30 May 96 - 715
  • 27 Jun 96 - 731
  • 29 Jul 96 - 905

In summary, I underwent chemo & radiation in 1989 to prepare for an allogeneic BMT in 1990. Late in 1993 I relapsed, and started some chemo again in 1994. In the end of April / beginning of May 1995, I underwent a buffy coat infusion, the effects of which kicked in about 6 weeks later, precipitating a dramatic drop in my IGA, accompanied by Graft vs Host (GVHD) problems. I took Prednisone for several months to ameliorate these problems, but one of Prednisone's main claims to fame is that it kills lymphocytes. The buffy coat cells are lymphocytes. Thus, the Prednisone treatment may have caused the buffy coat cells to prematurely relinquish their beneficial effect. Nonetheless, the slow and bouncy rise of the IGA makes it appear that some buffy coat activity is still ongoing.

I have begun interferon to test the theory that interferon may spark the buffy coat cells once more into action. I'm starting on a very low dose (1 million units 3 times per week), with the intention of raising it at some unknown time if I don't seem to be responding yet. If interferon does not work, we will try another buffy coat infusion -- with a few less t-cells to hopefully provoke less of a GVHD reaction.

Life is indeed interesting here on the edge of high-tech medicine. One never knows what changes next month will bring.

I'm thinking of composing a little ditty entitled, "Me and My Buffy Coat," to the tune of "Me and My Shadow", but I don't know the words to "Me and My Shadow". Can anybody out there help me?

I'll keep you posted on my progress or lack thereof.

Your Biology Lab Incarnate,



Sadly, we have had to move my uncle Jim's page into "In loving Memory". After suffering for more than a decade from Multiple Myeloma, accompanying physical and mental deterioration and pain, and severe, deleterious side effects from medical-miracle therapies, my uncle passed away in his sleep about 1:00 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, March 8th, 2001. He had been hospitalized with seizures on the night of the 6th. The seizures left him brain-damaged and incoherent. His team of doctors decided not to continue the dialysis program of three-times weekly since renal failure in early fall 2000. Only hours later, the end came to him.

I think my father, his brother-in-law, spoke for all of us when he wrote: "Jim's stoicism in enduring pain beyond imagining and his unfaltering love of living passeth my human understanding. May we all cease to exist with such amazing grace."

I will miss my uncle terribly. He was my hero, the strongest man I have ever met. I don't expect anyone to ever surpass him in that. I don't know how they could.

Jim Gambrill is survived by his wife Cindy and his three Children, Zane, Seth and Sasha

-- Sarah Blackwelder [sarahblackwelder@raany.com]

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