Last month, we ran into our good friend Ken Zeno.
Ken is a certified health and wellness coach and a volunteer for the International Myeloma Foundation. He was also recently diagnosed with this blood cancer.
Ken asked us to raise awareness of this disease and remind people that March “Myeloma Awareness Month.”
Myeloma is the second most common blood cancer affecting 750,000 people worldwide, 100,000 in the United States and 20,000 newly diagnosed cases annually. The majority of patients have never heard of it. Multiple Myeloma is a type of cancer that is caused by malignant plasma cells that proliferate in the bone marrow and can lead to anemia, infections, bone lesions and fractures, vertebral compressions, osteoporosis, severe pain and kidney dysfunction. Since the news reports that Tom Brokaw has Myeloma, there is increasing interest about the disease.
When Ken first heard he had multiple myeloma, in October 2013, he was shocked. He had never heard of Myeloma nor did family or friends. He notes that he has always tried to live a life-long healthy lifestyle, especially since he opened one of the first natural foods markets in Massachusetts in 1970. Myeloma symptoms can be easily dismissed or confused with other medical conditions and overlooked. In Ken’s case, he experienced extreme fatigue, kidney problems and arthritic-like pain in his joints. After three months of experiencing these symptoms, he saw a Nephrologist due to persistent increasing elevated creatinine levels in his blood. Ken underwent a Kidney biopsy and a subsequent Bone biopsy. The diagnosis of multiple myeloma was confirmed. Increased awareness about myeloma will help our local citizens and medical community recognize the symptoms sooner, leading to quicker diagnosis and treatment.
While there is no cure for multiple myeloma, there are many treatment options, including chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplantation and some novel and emerging therapies. Myeloma patients have a greater chance of survival today than years past due to increasing research in the efficacy of new drugs. For information on myeloma clinical trials see http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and type in “myeloma” in the search box. Ken is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment to bring the disease into remission. He is also researching evidence-based complementary treatment modalities with a goal to integrate them into his current treatment plan with hopes of guidance from knowledgeable professional healthcare providers. An integrative approach to recovery exemplifies Ken’s perspective towards health & wellness as well as prevention and rehabilitation.
With the support of the International Myeloma Foundation, Ken is an active member of the Boca Raton/Delray Beach, FL Multiple Myeloma Support Group. The group brings together myeloma patients, caregivers and family members to share their experiences and success with treatments and outcomes, as well as coping with side effects and general Myeloma information and resources. Notable Myeloma specialists have been invited to present the latest evidence-based therapeutic approaches to successful remission. The group meets the first Monday of the month at the Patch Reef Park Community Center. 2000 West Yamato Rd. in Boca Raton, FL (561-367-7035).
Because of the need to increase awareness, The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is designating “March as Myeloma Awareness Month”. The IMF fosters collaborative research, empowers people through education, provides support for patients and families and advocates for the healthcare needs of Myeloma patients. For information on the IMF call 1-800-452-2873 or www.myeloma.org
We wish Ken well and thank him for his advocacy and support.
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