I was diagnosed in January of 2007 at the age of 53. I had always been interested in health and fitness. I ate a healthy diet and exercised regularly.

My back started hurting, but where it hurt, I thought I had just pulled a muscle. My degree is in Occupational Therapy and I was working as a massage therapist at the time. Things just kept getting worse, but I kept thinking it was just pulled muscles. I can remember coming home from work just exhausted and feeling like the pain was “in my bones” . Then one day when I was shaving under my arms, I felt numb around my ribs. I was going to see my Family Doctor for a checkup in January. This was late November.

When I mentioned it, she suggested an xray of my upper back to make sure as I had been diagnosed with “osteopenia”. I didn’t even make it home and her staff called me to say she wanted me to get an MRI. After the MRI, I went to get the results by myself as I was thinking “pinched nerve”. Needless to say, I had lesions several places in my spine but T3, T4 and my left 3rd and 4th ribs were toast almost. It was a very scary place to be.

After several more tests, the diagnosis of solitary plasmacytosis was made. I decided to go to MD Anderson in Houston as they have a clinic just for multiple myeloma. I was treated with radiation first. Then it came back and I was induced for a stem cell transplant in 2008. Was in remission for almost 2 years and have been in treatment since. Took oral revlimid for 3 years and have now been on subcutaneous weekly injections of Velcade with dexamethasone.

I am considered stage one and am lucky in that even though I have a compression fracture at T3. I maintain a good quality of life considering. My last blood results were exciting as they had to repeat the serum electrophoresis twice as the M protein is now barely detectable.

I hope that anyone who is newly diagnosed knows that this can be a manageable disease and that a cure is on the horizon! I KNOW THAT.

Take heart and get the word out about myeloma as it is still relatively unknown in the general population. I know this was a long story, but maybe it will instill hope in all who are dealing with this disease. My husband has been wonderful. I have now seen my daughter get married and now have a 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and a grandchild on the way! I am blessed to be here to experience all of this! Listen to your body, and if something is not quite right, please check it out. The earlier you find out, the better! Here is to a cure…..and soon! 🙂

— Jan


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