Carol Gottschalk A Transplant Journey

First post: Apr 13, 2021 Latest post: May 12, 2021
Why was I so tired on the weekends I no longer felt like doing anything? Why weren’t the steroid injections helping my back pain the way they had before? What was causing the anemia that showed up on blood tests from my yearly physical?

My diagnosis of multiple myeloma, aka bone marrow cancer,  came soon after my pcp spotted really high levels of protein in my blood.

It was early February 2020, just eight weeks after I started a new job. Multiple myeloma is a rare blood cancer where the white blood cells in the bones go crazy creating a totally defective antibody, over and over and over; leaving no space for all the other things the marrow needs to make; namely red blood cells and all the antibodies that make up your immune system.

When you have multiple myeloma, you’re immunocompromised. While my doctor was trying to find what was causing my anemia, I had a constant parade of annoying skin infections I’d never had before. Each one was minor, and I never thought to tell the doctor about them since over the counter remedies were doing the trick.

When diagnosed, I wasn’t showing any kidney damage, and very few cancerous bone lesions. However, the bone biopsy showed my marrow was over 90% cancer, and the doctor said I had to start chemo within days, not weeks. I remember feeling overwhelmed!

My first two treatments helped some, before they stopped working, and the one I’m on now has brought the amount of cancer in my bones down to practically zero. This makes me eligible for a bone marrow transplant, aka stem cell transplant. 

It wasn’t always a straight road getting this far. Along the way my kidneys shut down, I was on dialysis 3x a week for two months, I developed hemolytic anemia which caused clots in all the small blood vessels in my body, a deep vein thrombosis, or clot, in my leg, sepsis, hypertensive crisis which is uncontrollably high blood pressure, and pulmonary emboli in both my lungs as well. All that is past me now and I begin my transplant journey tomorrow when I’m admitted to MCV/VCU hospital.

We’re using CaringBridge to keep friends and family updated on my journey into remission. Love you all ❤️ and visit me often here!

“This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it”.

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