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I visited my oncologist this morning and got the latest reading of my M-protein level. Basically, it’s stable: 0.61 last month, 0.58 this month. I know you all want this in chart form, so here it is.

The bad news is that this is higher than we’d like. (We’d like it to be about 0.01.) The good news is that it corresponds to a pretty low level of cancerous cells in my bone marrow. Probably around 3-4 percent, which isn’t high enough to affect me in any serious way. If my maintenance med keeps me at this level, I could pretty much live forever. And the side effects have been pleasantly minimal. I feel fine in almost all respects.

Still, if it’s really working well, it would get my M-protein level lower. So how long should I keep taking it before we start to think about alternative treatments? I tried once again to dredge an opinion out of my doctor, and as usual I failed. So I have no idea. I’ll just keep taking this stuff forever as long as my levels remain under control.

On the other good news front, my back pain is finally almost completely gone. I still need to be careful, but this means I can start doing exercise more strenuous than walking. Hooray!

On a related front, I have a piece in the latest issue of the magazine. I don’t know when it will go online, but you should buy a paper copy anyway. You know how teen magazines like Tiger Beat feature posters of teen idols? Well, the current issue of Mother Jones has one of me. Seriously. If you want a nearly life-size picture of my head to put on your refrigerator—and who doesn’t?—just tear out page 26. It’s only $6.99.1 Buy one for all your friends.

1Which is actually pretty steep, isn’t it? Why not subscribe instead for 12 bucks a year? Or give gift subscriptions to all your loved ones? Or, if you already subscribe, donate some money to us. It’s tax deductible and it goes to a good cause!

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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