My Blood Cancer
Editor's Note: This story contains images of the author in the hospital which may be upsetting for some readers.
In July of 2019, I injured my back. It would not get better. It seemed to keep getting worse. After repeated visits to the Dr and to Physical Therapy, the doctor was not sure why I was not getting better. He finally approved that I can get an MRI in August/September. Within an hour of getting the MRI, I received a call from the doctor's nurse stating that the doctor wanted to see me the next day. I went in for the appointment, and I was advised that I had several lesions on my spine, hip, and rib cage and that I need to see an oncologist. I made an appointment with my primary care doctor and she ran blood work. The blood work came back fine, but with the MRI results, she referred me to an oncologist.
Diagnosed with multiple myeloma
I went and saw the oncologist and they did more blood work. They scheduled me for several exams, MRIs and a bone marrow biopsy. On September 27th, 2019 I was finally diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I started chemo treatments on October 15th along with all kinds of other medicines. After about 6 rounds of chemo treatments, I was ordered another biopsy. I had gone from 100% to 5% in about 4 months. I was approved for a stem cell transplant. I went through more tests to make sure I was qualified and I was finally fully approved and scheduled for the stem cell removal. I went through that process, which took about 1-2 weeks and feeling really sick. I was then scheduled for the actual transplant.
Highest dose of chemo
At this point, the pandemic was getting bad, and everywhere was closing their doors. My transplant was postponed as the hospital that I had to have it was in a high-risk area for Covid-19 transmission. I was ready to get this done, and now I have to wait. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long. I got a call from the hospital a few days later with another scheduled date. I was originally told that I would have to be inpatient, but then they decided that it would be safer for me to do my transplant as an outpatient procedure and I would have to come in every day for blood work.
On April 7, 2020, I received my dose of chemo that they state is the highest dose that I can have, to completely wipe the rest of cancer, along with everything else. Then I was able to rest for 3 days and on April 10th, 2020 I received my transplant. I felt fine until day +2 or +3, then I started feeling the results of the chemo. I was feeling so sick. I passed out in the shower and bruised my whole left side, and was admitted to the Cancer ICU. I was there for a couple of days and then was allowed to go back to my apartment. I was admitted once more around +18 or +19 days for vomiting that I could not stop. They wanted to make sure that I stayed hydrated. Once that was under control, I was allowed to go back to the apartment again.
Sixteen days away from my rebirth day
On May 9th, I was released to go back home. I was scheduled for another bone marrow biopsy about a month or so out. I had the biopsy and a few days later, I received the word from the nurse that I was in remission. I was still weak, but I had already started back to work full-time as my short-term disability was about to end. Fast forward to now... I am 16 days away from my rebirth day! I feel stronger every day. I still have days that I am so tired, but those are not as bad anymore. I go back on May the 4th for another biopsy to see if the maintenance chemo that I have been on for about a year is doing what it is supposed to be doing. That is my story, and I am lucky to be able to call myself a cancer survivor... at least for now. Since there is no cure for multiple myeloma, I am just blessed to be able to spend more time with my family and friends (socially distanced).
Have you met another blood cancer patient?