Being only 47 years of age and a highly active person, work, golfing, bowling, softball and my life change on a dime.
I was playing golf on June 25, 2012 and dove the ball on the fifteenth hole and dropped to my knees. Having had back problems before I thought I just tweak my back, after several chiropractic adjustments and massages I found no relief. I was up and my summer resident for a family reunion golfing outing of which or course I could not play because of the pain I was experiencing.
My neighbor told me I look terrible as I could not get comfortable to sleep, I took a pain pill that night and wouldn’t you know I could hardly walk the next day. On to the hospital I went, after several hours an a cat scan the Doctor told me that I had MM.
I was in total disbelief that I had cancer as no one in family as far back I my Mom knew – No one had cancer.
I had a three hour ambulance drive back down state to a hospital near family and friends. After a week of multiple testing it was confirmed that I had MM. Another week in the hospital to start radiation treatments on the two tumors on my spine- I actually had fracture two vertebrate t-10 and T-9. By the end of July I was back home and finishing my radiation treatments out patient. Unfortunately my bones we so soft that kyoplasty could not be performed. So I march on getting ready form my Chemo treatment to bring my M-protein down form 2.4.
I was in a wheel chair for my August Alzheimer golf outing that my family holds annually since my Dads passing in 2008. The Monday after the outing I woke with out my ability to walk, Back to the hospital where the performed a 6.5 hour surgery to stabilize my back. As the back surgeon said the outcome of the surgery was one of three ways, passing, paralyzed, or he felt he could helped.
It was great to awake with the ability to wiggle my toes and move my feet up and down. On to physical therapy to learn how to walk again and build up strength to start my chemo treatments. the day of my first treatments I was having severe pain in my legs again on to the hospital for Doppler on legs and yes I has blood clots in both legs, which ended up moving to my lungs.
After battling through that Issue, its back to chemo therapy.
By December my m-protein as down to .06 and I was getting ready for my stem cell transplant at Karmanos Cancer Center I’m very fortunate to have a comprehensive cancer center in my state. In late December I found out that I had Avascullar necrosis (cause by the large amount of steroids I was taking for the spinal injury and part of my chemo treatment ) this would have ot be put off until my transplant completed. January arrive and on to Karmanos for the first stage of treatment the harvesting of my own stem cells. Three weeks later after I build up my strength I was back at Karmanos for my transplant plant. 16 days later I was back home. End of February I had my follow appointment with my ortho doctor to address the problems in my knees and Hip. Fortunately, I was able to have core decompression on both knees on the same day May 2, 2013 followed by right hip replacement on June 3, 2013. Back to re-hab.
I am happy to tell you that as of today my M-protein is to low to low to resolve or quantify.
I’m still on taking revlimid daily for the next two years. I still have significant back pain and working through those issues along with the fatigue. I have had and outstanding support system. One thing I found to be very helpful for my was to open a care page blog so I can update everyone at the same time. It helps because everyone gets the same information so there is no confusion as to what is going on , it also helps that I do not have to spend time telling the same story over and over.
MM is part of my life but I try to make as small a part of my life as I want to be Brother, Uncle, Friend, Tom. I also participate with a Support group through Gilda’s club with other MM patients, we meet once a month and it’s great! we share or success and discuss new treatments coming down the pipe line. It helps me not to think about the cancer. Keep a positive attitude has been very critical in my journey. I found out that I never knew how many lives I touch, until I was sick and the out pouring of love, concern, cards, and blog updates I received.
— Thomas H.