They say that most people find out that they have Multiple Myeloma because of a catastrophic event that takes place. For example, they might break a leg, or have severe back pain and need extensive tests to find out the cause. This usually happens because the bones become so brittle that they fracture very easily. In Mr. B's case, he found out "by accident" or I should say, his doctor found out by accident when he conducted the yearly blood tests. Dr. C said there were some things that looked abnormal in his tests and wanted to send Mr. B for some more blood tests. Then came the full body x-rays, the 24 hour urine collection and finally an office visit where Mr. B was told he would need to see a hematologist/oncologist. The word "cancer" was mentioned but Dr. C tried not to panic Mr. B who in turn stuffed that bad word down in the deep dark crevices of his mind and never even mentioned it to me. I only found out that there was a possibility of cancer after the hematologist told us the "good news" on January 31, 2012. The timeline for all of this was from October 2011 to Dec 30, 2011 when Mr. B was called to get his blood tested again at our local cancer center. His M Protein level at that test was 58 g/L. We received a call a few weeks later to let us know our appointment had been set up with the hematologist on January 31.

During the time after the December 30 blood test, Mr. B started experiencing some strange bone pain. Mr. B's job requires him to do shift work. On January 5, he was getting up from his afternoon nap and had a shooting, searing pain in his right shoulder. It troubled him so much that he called in sick that night. It continued to bother him but he also started experiencing more pain in his ribs and back. By January 20, he was not able to sleep lying down in bed and so started sleeping in his easy chair or propped up with pillows on the couch.

On January 31, Dr. D said that because Mr. B's M Protein was so high, 79 g/L, she was pretty much positive that he had Multiple Myeloma but she would do a bone marrow biopsy to have the diagnosis confirmed. She also said that she felt he didn't need any treatment at this time but would need monitoring to make sure things were not getting worse. Dr. D assured us that if she were to get a cancer, this would be the one she would want since people could live 10 or 20 years. Mr. B told her of the bothersome pain that he had been experiencing since January 5 so she decided to send him for an MRI. We left that appointment feeling uplifted that maybe things weren't as bad as we thought they were. Boy were we wrong.

We refer to Feb 17 as "D Day" for Diagnosis Day.The bone marrow biopsy test results came back with 76% plasma cells in the bone marrow. There should be less than 3% of plasma cells in a healthy person. Dr. D said that Mr. B needed to start chemo treatments immediately and that she would be sending him to a radiologist to discuss the results of the MRI and possible treatment options. We were stunned! How could things change so quickly less than three weeks later? Dr. D wanted Mr. B to sign the consent forms to start his treatments within the next few weeks. Mr. B was so overwhelmed that he asked for the weekend to think things over before he signed the papers. A week later he signed the forms and then started on his weekly chemo treatments of an injectible drug called bortezomib and pulse treatment with dexamethasone. The pulse treatment was a high dose of this steroid for 4 days on the drug and 4 days off for one month. Then he was to take the same dose once a week on the same day as the bortezomib.

(More to come.)


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    Medical Journal

    I will be detailing Mr. B's treatments and how he is doing medically on this page. I thought it might be better to have it on a separate page for any new readers to access. I know how much it helped me to read about other patient's experiences with Multiple Myeloma.


    July 2012
    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012