When l was first diagnosed, it was very hard to swallow that l had cancer, it is always someone else who has had it. My world felt it was coming to an end.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (MM) in October 2011, l had no symptoms and it was a sort of routine checkup on my thyroid which prompted my GP to do one or two additional tests. I was thereafter referred to a specialist physician who after asking all the right questions (and probably saving my life without knowing it at the time) l was referred to the Mary Potter Oncology at Little Company of Mary in Pretoria.
My treatment began immediately with taking a drug called Thalidomide nightly for almost 8 months coupled with Cortisone weekly. I had multiple blood tests done monthly and an IV of a bone strengthening drug. MM attacks your bones, and it was found in my skull. Bone marrow biopsies were conducted and skeleton x-rays. By July 21, 2012 my Kappa Light Chains were decreased sufficiently to be considered for a bone marrow transplant.
From July 21, 2012 to August 12,2012, I had stem cell removal at the SA Blood Bank in Queenswood, Pretoria. I had one very strong chemo session, my immune system completely wiped out and then stimulated again, with a 0.03 start after day nine. The Doctor was amazed at my progress. I was not able to do much during my recuperating time at home, but by the beginning of October l felt brand new. I am now into my eighth month of remission, and feeling very well. My hair is growing back (curly) l had previously straight hair! And my visits to the doctor are no longer monthly.
When l was first diagnosed, it was very hard to swallow that l had cancer, it is always someone else who has had it. My world felt it was coming to an end. (Both my parents have passed away with cancer related issues) but you don't ever think it could happen. The information l had read gives approximately 5 years, but research and your own lifestyle can increase that time. What l do note is that life takes on a different meaning. I am not sure if its because l have enjoyed my last 60 years, and if diagnosed at a much younger age, l would think that it was not fair, but by the grace of God, l wake daily and enjoy it as much as l can. Reading of the disease helps one understand, reading books of others in the same situation whether good or bad, makes you feel that you are not alone. I have had a huge support base since my diagnosis, and yes now as time moves on, some of the support base has also moved on, but those who have stuck with me, l really appreciate it. I can't wait to help someone who may have the same problem, we are never alone, but it is sometimes difficult to believe.