I was diagnosed (accidentally during routine blood tests- I had no symptoms) in 1997. It was a shock, and being a nurse, I feared I only had a few years to live! Instead, thanks to God, my physician, and my very supportive husband and family, I am alive and relatively healthy 17 years later!

I believe that one of the best things I did was to pick my initial physician very carefully! Then when he gave me the diagnosis, I asked “if it were your wife ,where would you go for a second opinion?” He did not bristle, or look disturbed or insulted (he worked in a prestigious medical center himself). I expected him to say one of the big med centers in Philadelphia or Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore. Instead he said, the Mayo Clinic or The University at Little Rock Arkansas!

My husband and I actually went to both within the first two years. Little Rock was the key. They started me on Thalidomide. My local doctor had not ever put a patient on it (it was brand new), but he was willing to try it. Within four months my IGg plummeted remarkably, and the rest is history.

I went into remission after about 3 years, and it lasted for about 8 years on just a maintenance dose of 50 mg. About 3 years ago I went out of remission, was put on higher doses of Thalomid, with some success. However, with lytic lesions appearing about 3 years ago, and not great results from the higher Thalomid doses, my doctor started me on Revlimid around January 1, 2014. After two months, my IGg plummeted over a 1,000″points”. I have relatively few side effects so far, so needless to say, I’m thrilled. I hope my story will inspire others who are newly diagnosed!

— Marsha L.


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