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About two and a half years ago I was mistakenly diagnosed with Costal Chondritis of the breast bone. Since then the breast bone has deformed and continued with pain off and on. A thoracic surgeon by the name of Dr Korst examined me and sent me for a bone biopsy. The finding was Multiple Myeloma. Further tests including a bone marrow biopsy confirmed the original finding. I am now in the hands of a very impressive hematological oncologist by the name of Dr Suh. The disease is best described as a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells which are responsible for the creation of antibodies within your blood system.
My current prognosis is the disease is incurable but treatable with a high probability of remission for five years or more. The treatment plan I am undertaking will be for six cycles of chemo/medication and then medical maintenance thereafter. The plan is called RVD for: Revlimid (pill); Velcade (injection); Decadron (pill). 2 Weeks on and 1 week off. The "chemo" in this instance is not the infusion we normally think of but a single injection. There is very little time spent with an intravenous injection.
Brief Disease Information
Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. Healthy plasma cells are part of the immune system —they make proteins called antibodies that help fight infection.
Myeloma begins in the bone marrow. It starts with a change (mutation) to a single plasma B cell. Normally, in the bone marrow, immature B cells will develop into normal plasma cells. But in myeloma, a change in one plasma B cell can cause it to become a myeloma cell instead of a normal plasma cell. This mutated myeloma cell multiplies into many myeloma cells. As the myeloma cells multiply in the bone marrow, they crowd out the other types of healthy cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. As a result, the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets may become lower than normal. Instead of producing helpful antibodies that fight infection, the myeloma cells produce abnormal antibodies that are not needed by the body and do not help fight infection. These abnormal antibodies can also damage the kidneys.
While the myeloma cells are most commonly found in the bone marrow, they may build up in other parts of the body. These collections of myeloma cells are known as plasmacytomas. They most commonly occur in the bones, skin, muscles or lungs. If the myeloma cells form a single cell mass, it is called a solitary plasmacytoma. Myeloma that is found in several areas of the body is called multiple myeloma. Most patients with myeloma have multiple myeloma.
While there is no cure for myeloma, new treatments have improved patient quality of life and survival rates.
Actual treatment will begin somewhere around March 8, 2021