In January 2010, my wife, Maureen, began having pains in her upper back. Getting no relief after a couple of weeks, she went to her primary care physician who diagnosed the problem as a muscle strain. The pain became worse and began to spread through other areas of the back. Again, the doctor said it was muscle strain. When the pain was even worse after five months, and having three requests for an MRI rejected, the doctor finally ordered blood tests to be done. The results pointed to Myeloma. Maureen was referred to a hematologist/oncologist who did further testing including a bone marrow biopsy and confirmed the Myeloma. The IgG Kappa light chains were at 944 mg/l. An MRI confirmed compression fractures to five vertebrae.

The initial treatment was very high dose Dexamethasone (Dex) (40 mg per day for five days) and Velcade along with ten radiologic treatments. For the next three months, Maureen received Velcade twice weekly along with 20 mg of Dex weekly. By October 2010 her light chain level was at 16 mg/l and there were no other signs of the Myeloma. She continued with weekly Velcade for another year with no Dex, then Velcade biweekly until September 2012.She has had no treatments since September 2012 and there is no sign of Myeloma.

The initial hurdle was to convince Maureen to undergo treatment. Assuming she had only six months to live according to what was on the Internet, she did not want to have any. Fortunately, she changed her mind. It was very difficult at times because of nausea, bowel problems, weakness, and everything else that goes with chemotherapy, but today we are travelling all over the world, dancing, and doing almost everything that we did prior to January 2010. Yes, there is life after the initial diagnosis of Myeloma, and it can be a good life.

— Robert E.

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