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May 25th 2017: Al visited Central Florida spine Institute in Ocala, FL because his spine was swelling along with increasing pain in his back and ribs. We were concerned that Al might have a herniated or ruptured disc. Dr. Paraiso immediately did an X-ray and explained that Al had a collapsing of his spinal tissues and vertebrae. He also ordered an MRI which was done on June 1st.
June 8th: We were shocked to be told the results were showing that Al might have Multiple Myeloma, which is blood/bone cancer. He entered Shands Cancer Hospital for detailed testing and a diagnosis work-up which confirmed he had MM. We have had a very difficult summer dealing with this diagnosis, his pain, his sudden weakness and reactions to the chemo and drugs.
July 10th: I had to call 911 and have him taken to the hospital as he became very dehydrated and his reaction to the pain medication was over-whelming. I told the doctor that all this medication was just to much for him as the only pain medication he has ever had was a bourbon and coke, a beer, a glass of wine or on rare occasion an ibuprofen.
He was in the hospital for five days and came home in a very weakened condition, (loss of weight from 164 lbs to 131 lbs as of this week) but this was the only way to keep him on the chemo treatments as they cannot be done while in the hospital or a re-hab hospital.
As time has passed he is doing so much better under the circumstances. He gets around with a walker, wears a strong back bace in the car and needs a wheelchair when we go to doctor appointments. I have been giving him a well rounded amount of vitamins and trying to get him to gain weight with protein and vitamin drinks, but the unsuccessful attempt to gain is a problem.
However, the unbelievable news is that he is not having to take any…yes, I said “any" pain medication now! His blood counts are very good, which the doctors are thrilled about!
He is now getting ready for a month beginning Oct. 3rd of prep for a stem cell transplant on November 2nd. Dr. Moreb who is head of the transplant division at Shands will be using Al's own stem cells for the transplant. November will be a month of his health returning and he will need close supervision as to not catch any germs or colds. Our instructions for the month of October:
Attached is your calendar for evaluation and transplant. For a summary you will do your evaluation testing on 10/3/17-10/5/17, tests will range between 8am and early afternoon. On 10/12/17 you will meet with Dr. Moreb to go over your results, you will also begin your neupogen injections. These injections will mobilize your stem cells, they will start Thursday afternoon after you meet with Dr. Moreb and then be daily at 8am and 6pm until you stem cells are finished being collected. You can drive back and forth for the injections, get a hotel, or I can make a referral to our American Cancer Society Hope Lodge (which is a free place to stay while receiving treatment here). After your stem cells are collected you will have a little over a week break while we process your stem cells. You will return on 10/30/17 for a pre-admit visit to make sure there are no issues(such as a cold/flu) prior to your admission to the hospital on 10/31/17. You will then be in the hospital for around 3 weeks. Also attached is our education class.
Mayo Clinic information on Multiple Myeloma:http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-myeloma/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20342859