1943 / Class of '94 / Type: IgG / Last
Age at diagnosis of MM: 51
When I was growing up, we moved around every few years - my father was in the
service. We mostly lived in suburbs. We also lived overseas - in Trinidad, BWI,
and in Naples, Italy.
Prior to my diagnosis, my health was excellent - never hospitalized, never
had surgery. I was a military pilot for 20 years. I always passed detailed
annual physical exams with no problems.
In 1994, my GP noticed a low HgB count on routine physical exam. He did
further tests for an IgG spike and found it. I'm currently being treated by
I started out with an IgG level of around 3000g/dl. I am now down to about
1500 and holding fairly well. Hg is about 12-13 now, was down to 9.
For treatment, I started out with oral M&P for the first 4 months after
diagnosis. My Oncologist was not happy with the rate of progress and so added 6
million units of interferon 3 times a week, which continued for 3 more months. I
made contact with a local stem cell transplant specialist and started VAD for
two months to get the disease down to a low level with an auto-stem cell
transplant to follow. The cancer was beaten down to an acceptable level, but
bounced back before the Stem Cell transplant could be set up. I also had
problems with pneumonia. I did 2 or 3 more months of VAD with short breaks
because pneumonia was recurring. I finally got to the point where the stem cell
seemed possible, but pulmonary function test showed reduced lung function -
possibly due to the pneumonia, possibly due to the VAD or possibly due to
something else. My pulmonary doctor didn't know, but the condition was
irreversible at any rate. The stem cell doc got cold feet and called it all off.
I went back on 2 months of M&P with 3 million units of interferon 3 times a
week. My disease seemed to respond well to that, with IgG level dropping to 1400
range. The last month I have been trying just interferon to see if we can hold
the cancer at a low level that way.
Currently, I have minimal symptoms. I have some tiredness due probably to
slightly depressed HgB., some swelling in lower extremities (am on Coumadin to
reduce effects of increased blood viscosity), some occasional skin disorders.
Nothing that is really debilitating. No bone lesions, no kidney problems. The
symptoms have improved since treatment. The tiredness is less than it was, and
blood clots have stopped.
Since I last reported, my plateau has continued. I'm holding pretty steady at
an IGG level of about 1600. Last BMB showed only a few plasma cells - doc
characterized it as almost normal. In June, I had a stem cell harvest with
growth factor (Nupogen) only - no Cytoxan - and now have enough stem cells in
storage for two transplants. I am currently on Aredia (90mg/4wks) and interferon
(4.5mu 3xwk) and will continue this as long as it works. After that it may be
time for the stem cells.
June, 2000: I am still doing quite well
with only Aredia (90mg every 4 weeks). The IGG level has
been slowly creeping up over the last year, though, now a
little above 1700mg/dl. My Onc says he is not concerned
yet, but it may be getting close to time for a little more
Feb, 2001: In the summer of 2000, my IgG count started to rise -
about 100 points a month and steadily. By January 2001 it was
up to 3000 again. We decided to continue the monthly Aredia
and to start pulsed Dex (40mg/day for 5 days then 9 days off).
After 2 cycles of the Dex, the IgG was down to 1800. The plan is
to continue at least 2 more cycles of the Dex and see what