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May 1, 2012, I was diagnosed with an advanced case of Multiple Myloma (see Wikipedia) for which there is no cure just now. A generous estimate of my life ahead was eighteen months. Although I felt hopeless and passive at first, my oncologist persuaded me to start a treatment of I.v. Chemotherapy and an ongoing quarterly bone strengthening medication administered by drip infusion. I decided I was not ready to die at 68. After about fourteen months of the initial regimen , I was accepted into an experimental program at Johns
Before you wonder how a body with no blood can exist when the heart has nothing to do for a while, all three processes are happening simultaneously. A great big washing machine chugs and churns away, while you read a magazine and hum 'out with the old and in with the new.' After this was over, (it takes a month or so, and my wife and I moved to Baltimore for this) you go home, home, returning at first frequently, then once a month, I was switched to home chemotherapy by mouth, Revlamid, a highly government-controlled chemical (basically thalidomide), costing $10000 a month. A year ago I was told I was 'in remission,' a state of being no different than the day before. The diagnosis is a statement of how long you have managed to survive, post diagnosis. I am reluctant to share with anyone the physical manifestations of this lingering disease, but the parts of my body still suffering and deteriorating are brain, lung, kidney, and entire digestive track. I suspect other parts will announce to me that they too do not feel so well. But we'll see. I have very little energy. Tom Brokow has this disease and his story parallels mine. If you are interested in the social impact of this disease, please read his story. He is far more able than I to express this journey.
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