I loved my husband. We lived together for 43 years and yet, at the age of 59, I was still in love with him. He was a handsome, athletic man who would run every morning for 2.5 mile before going to the office. It was hard to believe that such a sportsman would die at the age of 64, only 30 months after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
It was on Christmas’ Eve when we found out the dreadful news. Before going to the G.P. doctor we thought it was a cold because he was coughing intensely and was unusually pale. The doctor immediately channeled us to the hematologist who informed us that my husband has multiple myeloma. It was like a shock.
The biopsy of the bone marrow revealed Multiple Myeloma State III, with high level of proteins and Hg around 6-7. At that moment, it crossed through my mind that 6 month before the diagnosis, Mihai had a rash on his skin, big brownish spots on his legs and hands. We thought it was a dermatological problem and went to a private clinic dermatologist. After consultation, he decided Mihai had probably got an infection from our Dalmatian dog whose paws I use to clean in the bathtub. For the doctor, it did not matter when I told him that I disinfect the bathtub each time with good quality detergents. He maintained ” his professional verdict” and even got a bit upset because I dared to challenge him. He gave us some solution and indeed, after a while, the rush was gone.
I am still living with the sorrow that, may be, I should have asked for a second opinion at the time or simply asked for an appointment with a hematologist. ( I would not have made reference to this story if I had not read Sharon F’s story about she waking up one day with a rash on her body. Perhaps there is something to learn if more than one person talks about the same symptoms ).
For me, the next 30 month after my husband’s diagnosis, was the most tormenting in my life. The feeling were mixed up, love, compassion, sorrow and desire to do whatever it takes to help him. There were many time when I felt hopeless. There were times when I told him only parts of the truth and for that I still question myself, have I acted well or wrong. At the time, I was having a very demanding job as a senior manager. For me, the most important thing was to be with my husband for as long as possible but also, to a very high extent, to keep my position. There were times when I knew I was loosing control over my office performance. I will never forget one day when we went to the hospital to have a endoscopy of his lungs – in order to assess the spread of the malignant cells. As soon as we arrived there, I received a call about an office emergency and, against my will, I had to run to the office. After all, keeping my position meant better treatment, better medication – paid by my company medical insurance – access to treatment abroad. How to cope with this, as to be able to meet your medical and financial needs and your own emotions, your vows , your conscience. Then one day, after 30 months of experimenting Velcade, Lenalidomide, Thalidomide and a salvage treatment at the Wilhelmine Spital in Vienna, my husband’s life ended. I was 60 years old and my life was gone along with him.