Nov 12, 2019 Latest post:
May 21, 2022
July 23, 2019. The day I was told I had Multiple Myeloma – cancer of my bone marrow, and the day my life changed forever. My cancer was found by accident, thanks in part to my dog, Gina. Backtrack to 2018…November 15, 2018 I had back surgery to repair a herniated disc after suffering excruciating sciatic nerve issues due to a fall I took after Gina wrapped her leash around my legs. Surgery was a success for six months until late May, 2019 I woke up in even worse pain than the year before. I followed up with my spine doctor who ordered an MRI. The MRI indicated I had something called a hemangioma – which is a benign growth made up of blood vessels. While this was present on the MRI from 2018, it appeared to have gotten larger. There was also something suspicious on my rib. One test led to another and another and another until I found myself sitting in an oncologist’s office. Multiple tests confirmed Multiple Myeloma. The month of July, 2019 was a blur for the most part as things were happening very fast. Next thing I knew, we found ourselves at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa as I was considered a good candidate for a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant. While there, treatment was discussed as was a clinical trial that was showing amazing results. There was one opening left on the trial and I was highly encouraged to sign up for. I could back out at any time, but if someone signed the paperwork before me, they would get the spot. It seemed like a no brainer to Jon and I so we signed up. The protocol calls for 16 weeks of weekly IV chemo treatment as well as oral chemo taken daily at home. This chemo is not as harsh as the “standard” chemo so I will not lose my hair at this point. I know hair will grow back, but still very emotional for me. At the end of 16 weeks I will be evaluated. If my M Spike Protein has dropped by 50% they will proceed with bone marrow transplant (after 4 weeks of treatment my M Spike Protein had dropped by 72%, and 8 weeks, 90%) I will be the donor and the recipient of my own stem cells. It is much safer and I will not reject it. I will be hospitalized for approximately 17 days at which point I will be given an extremely high dose of chemo which will wipe out any remaining cancer cells. I will then be infused with my own stem cells which will be previously harvested and frozen. Essentially I will have a new immune system. At some point I will need to receive all of my childhood immunizations all over again. I’m told the first 16 weeks of weekly treatment is the easy part. The transplant – well, it will be grueling! I will likely be off of work 3 to 6 months. Up until July 23, 2019, I had never heard of Multiple Myeloma. We’ve learned quite a lot about it in a short period of time. While there currently is no cure, it is highly treatable. Transplant is the best way to get me in remission, and keep me in remission the longest. My MM Specialist is honest and told us it will come back but they will attack it with a whole new arsenal of drugs when it does. The when, is the unknown. We are told there are people who live for decades with Multiple Myeloma….and I intend to be one of those people.