Lewiston, ID; firstname.lastname@example.org
5.15.1929 / Class of '91 / Type: Kappa / Last Update: 10/98
I was born and raised in rural areas of Southern California. I did not live
near agricultural activities using pesticides. I left California at 20 years of
age to meet my military obligation, serving two years in Germany in 1951-52. On
returning from the army I attended the University of California at Berkeley. In
1955 I moved to Placerville, California to begin employment as a forester with
the U.S. Forest Service. My employment took me to Placerville, Kernville,
Weaverville, McCloud, and Susanville California between 1955 and 1968.
While at McCloud in 1964 I got caught under the spray of a helicopter
spraying 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T to control brush in a tree plantation. This
combination is better known as Agent Orange and was used in Vietnam. I mention
this because the Veterans Administration recognizes it as an apparent cause for
multiple myeloma in veterans who served in Vietnam.
In 1968 I moved to Springfield, Virginia for two years and then to Denver,
Colorado for four years. I then moved to Grangeville, Idaho a farming community
in north central Idaho. There was a heavy use of pesticides there and, what
seems to me, an inordinate occurrence of MM. Following eight years in
Grangeville, I moved to Missoula, Montana where I stayed for two years until my
retirement in 1984 when I moved to Lewiston, Idaho where I still live. Lewiston
is also an agricultural area where pesticides are used routinely.
Until my MM diagnosis in 1991 my health had been very good except for a bout
with prostate cancer in 1988 found during a TURP. It was diagnosed as stage 1.
In August of 1991, I noticed I had lost my stamina so went to my family
physician for a check up. My blood work revealed that I had MM (IGG). I had no
bone pain at that time, or since.
I began treatment with a local oncologist. Initially, the chemo was BCNU, but
after a visit to Fred Hutchinson, to explore an autologous bone marrow
transplant (ABMT),I changed to VAD at their suggestion. I had four rounds of VAD
after the four rounds of BCNU. I tolerated both protocols without nausea, but
had the usual response to Prednisone.
Following are some Lab statistics:
||At Diagnosis (8/30/91)
I had an ABMT at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center on 9/18/92. As
part of the preparation I had total marrow irradiation. This consisted of two
treatments per day for three days. A total of 900 units (whatever they are) was
delivered over that time. I did not get nauseous from the treatment. I received
both my own purged marrow and peripheral stem cells (not purged) as transplants.
I engrafted on day eight and was discharged from the hospital on day 25 to go to
my local apartment. Believe I returned home on about day 31.
On returning home I had great difficulty eating solids. I subsisted on milk
shakes, instant breakfast, soup and an occasional sandwich for seven months. At
that time, literally overnight, I was able to eat anything and have gained 30
pounds since the low point. I had been scheduled to take alpha interferon as
maintenance, but gave it up because of the eating difficulty.
I remained in remission for 27 months. After remission I started on
interferon to see if it would arrest the MM activity. Although I got up to 10
million units three times a week, it apparently had little or no influence. I
remained on it for six months. I then began on Melphalan and Prednisone (June,
1995). It has been effective in lowering the IGG into the normal range, although
the dose had to be reduced to half of what would normally be used because of low
platelet counts. Last month my Beta 2 was 2.6. I have had no chemo since
February 5, 1996.
Aside from the period of eating difficulties after transplant, I have
maintained a normal life routine including a cruise, a trip to Israel, and a
trip to Europe.
My latest CR lasted 16 months (since 2/96). Because my IGG was again rising I
knew further treatment would be needed and sought out what I thought would be
the best advice from Dr. Durie. I had an hour long visit. Because I am
asymptomatic except for the rising IGG he recommended an MRI or MIBI, a 24 hour
urine to check for Bence Jones, and something akin to the labeling index.
If these are all negative I won't begin any treatment until the IGG is at
4,000 or higher. It was at 2,000 last month. Treatment will probably be with M/P
again. He had blood taken to check for the newly discovered virus and it was
So far I have had no bone involvement. Dr. Durie said the myeloma is
apparently not producing the IL-6 and other cytokines responsible for that. He
recommended that I stay on Aredia at 90mg every four weeks as I have for the
Fortunately, my onc/doc is pleased to have any info I bring him and puts it
to use as appropriate.
Update 10/12/98: When my IgG reached 3,000 in March of 1998
a BMB was done which revealed a plasma cell level of 58%. It was time for
treatment and I chose pulsed Dex with Biaxin. Two treatments lowered the IgG to
700. I later had two additional pulses. On 10/6/98 a BMB showed a plasma cell
level of two percent and an IgG of 800.