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9/23/2017 Latest post:
Jan and I left for a 3 week camping trip August 9. After he fell 5 times during stops driving north in Michigan, the decision was made to return home. His back pain that evening took us to the ER for pain relief. A trip to our PCP got oral pain medications. After an MRI was taken that showed compression fractures in his vertebrae at L2 and L3, our doctor recommended that Jan see a pain management doctor. Jan opted for an epidural steroid injection rather than kyphoplasty (a procedure to inject cement into fractured vertebrae to strengthen them) in an attempt to control the pain. 2 weeks later he had no relief from his back pain and was actually getting worse. We made appointments with 2 different neurosurgeons in an attempt to get some answers about what could be done for the increasing back pain and immobility. One neurosurgeon ordered more x-rays before his appointment. The first neurosurgeon, a Cleveland Clinic doctor, examined Jan, compared the MRI with the new x-rays, and commented that there were several more breaks in his vertebrae, which wasn't normal in the 3 weeks between the MRI and x-rays. He then dropped a bombshell. He suspected multiple myeloma and ordered several tests to confirm. After 3 days of many tests, we returned to the PCP to get the bad news. All tests results were pointing to multiple myeloma. Wow. We thought it was just back pain caused by a couple of compressed vertebrae. Multiple myeloma is a bone marrow/blood cancer that weakens bones and often times people discover it due to fractures of bones, often the spine. The multiple myeloma weakened Jan's vertebrae, causing the additional compression fractures and tremendous pain.