Bridgnorth, Shropshire, UK; firstname.lastname@example.org
1962 / Class of 1999 / Type: Kappa Light-chain / Last
I grew up in the suburbs of a large town called
Wolverhampton, but I’m currently living in a small market town. I had a pretty
privileged upbringing, going to Public (in the U.S., this is “private”)
school for most of my academic life. My father had a good job and we were
very comfortable. I suffered with the usual childhood illnesses but had no
significant illness that could have triggered MM. Up until the diagnosis, I had
been healthy and active looking after my 3-year-old daughter as I was a single
This time last year (June, 1999) I was experiencing severe
discomfort in my back and hip which my GP thought was sciatica. However,
after several visits back and forth he decided to send me for an X-ray. This
showed up a problem with my bones and although I had no idea of what was lurking
they gave me the impression that something was seriously wrong. After a
visit to 2 other specialists it was decided to admit me to Oswestry Orthopaedic
Hospital for a bone marrow biopsy. I was also informed that my left femur
would need to be pinned as it was in a very bad way. The biopsy confirmed
MM, and after the surgery on my leg I was transferred to Shrewsbury Royal
Hospital under the guidance of haematologist - Dr. Nigel O'Connor. I then
started the first of 4 cycles of VAD plus Prednisone.
In November 1999 I went to the Q.E. Hospital in Birmingham
for a stem cell transplant. I was also randomised and selected for a 2nd
transplant to be performed 3 months later. I sailed through the first transplant
and was out of hospital in just over 2 weeks with few side effects.
The second transplant however, hit much harder, and I had
problems with very low blood pressure and terrible sickness and diarrhoea.
Nonetheless, I was still out of hospital in 3 weeks but had lost a lot of weight
and it took me much longer to recover.
My marrow involvement was originally 68% and now is less
than 2%, according to the last biopsy done earlier this month. I take Fosamax
daily and Zoton as well as hormone-replacement therapy as I have gone into early menopause.
Other than being very stiff in a morning and after sitting for any length of
time, I feel very well and lead a normal life with my now 4-year-old. We go
swimming twice a week and we socialise a lot with friends.
I am determined to last as long as I can for my
daughter’s sake and hopefully in the meantime they will come up with a cure or
at least be able to keep the disease at bay.
My advice to people with this disease is to keep positive
and surround yourself with positive people. Also pack as much into your
life as possible and treat every day as if it's your last!
Good luck and God Bless,