You often hear people say that there was one event that changed their lives completely. Well, our family has now experienced one of those events. On Feb 17 my husband was diagnosed with a blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed the previous test results. We were totally overwhelmed and in shock. The doctor wanted to start chemo after the weekend but we asked for a few days to digest this news. I mean, what difference can a few days make in the grand scheme of things? She also said that we would need to meet with a radiologist about possible radiation treatments. What next?

After the weekend my husband signed the release papers to start the chemo treatment. He would be treated with bortezomib in the clinic and a steroid called dexamethasone by pill at home. I had a feeling that this was just the start of many prescriptions and treatments to follow. His first chemo appointment went very well on Feb 27. We were actually very surprised that he didn't seem to react much at all. He did feel slightly tired but other than that, he did ok. I wish I could say the same for the next week. We met with the radiologist on March 2 where Mr. B had his radiation simulation. What's that, you ask? Basically, the clinic does a trial run with an x-ray machine and marks your body with markers where the radiation will be concentrated. Since I wasn't in the room during this part of the procedure, I'm just winging it. *g*  They let us go for lunch and then proceeded with the first radiation treatment. The worst part of the treatment for Mr. B was having to lie down on the table. His back and rib bones have been very sore since January 5. This cancer attacks the bones in the upper body and Mr. B had some serious bone involvement. He was taking Tylenol 3s to control the pain and they were keeping the pain at bay. From this treatment, he would have the weekend off and then continue for the next 4 days.

On March 5 Mr. B had his second chemo treatment first thing in the morning. We had to come back for his second radiation treatment at 4 pm. By this time he was in quite a bit of pain which continued to get worse after the radiation treatment. We came home and he went straight to bed. He was cold, nauseated and hurting. When I say he went to bed, what I really mean is that he propped himself up with pillows because he has not been able to lie down in bed since Jan 23. It was horrible to see him like this and I felt so totally helpless. The next days' radiation treatments continued with Mr. B suffering more pain each time. After the 4th treatment he could hardly stand the pain in his back and slept in his easy chair that night. I slept in the bed alone and cried. In the morning I said that we should call and cancel his next treatment. I just couldn't see how he could endure more pain. But being the stubborn person that Mr. B is, he wouldn't let me call. So I then said we should call and ask them to get a prescription ready for a stronger pain medication. Again, Mr. B vetoed that idea. Seems that we wives don't know what is best for our husbands. It took the radiation technician to convince Mr. B to see the nurse and get his pain under control. She evaluated him and then called the doctor to prescribe some stronger pain medication. Morphine....glorious morphine. Once he started taking it, he was almost totally pain free. It was amazing to see the difference. I just wish we had known that there was another option available for him. 

During this whole process we've felt like the bomb was dropped in our laps and we were left on our own. Although the oncologist is a very nice lady, she didn't seem to have the compassion that I was expecting from a person in her position. Think of Christine on Grey's Anatomy. Very qualified and efficient and very young. Gets the job done and does it remarkably well. But not so good at handling the emotional side of cancer. Plus the nurse that is assigned to my husband is very young too. She always seems to be rushing off somewhere. I hate calling her because of that. I always feel like I'm bothering her.

Now the radiation therapy department is another story. They were all incredible with us, even the radiologist. I cannot say enough good things about them. The nurses seem a little more "mature" and know when a patient is suffering more than they should be. But I'm just glad that the radiation treatments are done for now and hopefully Mr. B won't need to repeat them. 



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