I was diagnosed with MM September 2, 2010, after having a kidney biopsy. I had bilateral hip replacements earlier that year and a septic hip followed, requiring three surgeries to clean out the infection, and 6 weeks of IV antibiotics. I also lost a lot of blood during each surgery, leading doctors to refer me to a hematologist which I never did follow up with:( As my kidneys were being monitored due to the IV antibiotics, it was discovered I was having kidney failure; ultimately what led to the biopsy.

So it was serendipity that I was diagnose so early and could begin treatment immediately (within 4 days).

I had 2 cycles of Velcade and responded extremely well. Still, it was recommended that I have an autologous bone marrow transplant to give me the possibility of a good long treatment-free period, as well as keeping Velcade an available option for the future.

I had the stem cell transplant December 29, 2011 which was largely uneventful. Ya, I had the miserable digestive issues relating to the Melphalen, and was lethargic (mostly an effect of the antinausea meds). I did develop a pretty bad cold while in hospital – actually progressed to pneumonia, but the antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals I was given, along with the powerful antinausea meds made it bearable.

I returned home bald, and wearing a hepa filter mask but continued to be around family and go out occisionally to grocery shop. I had some persistent fatigue but gave myself the courtesy of recognizing what I’d just been through and cut myself some slack.

Slowly I got back to being myself, and the 90 day and 1 year check-ups revealed a deepening partial response at first to what is now considered to be remission.

It’s now March, 2014 and I suffer really no effects of the Myeloma, but the chemo did leave me with some neuropathy (tingling and sensitivity primarily in lower legs), and occasional “chemo brain”. A small price to pay for the life I’m living.

I’m optimistic about my remission, and about future treatment options, and most of all, the innovations and progress in treatment options and ultimately a cure.

 — Donna W. 

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