Multiple Myeloma (MM) – March 29, 2014

Multiple Myeloma (MM)
Official diagnosis March 29, 2014

Life is so strange. I had my fifty-fifth birthday covered in hives. I’ve never had hives before in my life. I actually never had much in the way of health problems before. No family history of heart disease or diabetes or that kind of thing. I have lived an active life, always connected to the earth and outdoors. Although, I don’t consider myself a purist, I haven’t smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol for 30 years. Kind of expected to easily live to be a centenarian, like many before in my family.

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Hives is a reaction of the body’s immune system that causes areas of the skin to swell, itch, and become reddened (wheals).

The doctor said there’s nothing much else they could do for the hives and that they usually go away on their own, as quickly as they appeared, they will also disappear. However, the hives got worse, way worse and the anti-histamines were making me vomit. There came a day when I couldn’t get up to go to work and so I went to the hospital instead.

I was very dehydrated and initial blood work showed problems with my kidneys. It took several days, several specialists, lots of blood work (good thing I’m not squeamish) and many tests, including a kidney biopsy and a bone marrow biopsy (now that, was painful), to confirm that I had developed Multiple Myeloma (MM). The hives were a symptom of my body rejecting my own cancer ridden blood.

As a result, my kidneys were down to 16% functionality, so at this time they are focusing on getting my kidneys to recover. The good news is that the damage doesn’t appear to be long term, so they have good prospects of stabilizing them before they begin the harsher cancer treatments, which is planned for over the next 12 months or so.

Also on the good news front, I had a CT Scan and specialist can find no damage/lesions to my bone structure so far. No results yet on how aggressive the cancer is spreading in the bone marrow though. Regardless, the specialist assures me they like to think they can control the disease, even though it cannot be eradicated, so I will be living with it hovering in the background for the rest of my life.

Well, at least, the hives are gone now. I was discharged from hospital as an out patient attached to the cancer clinic. So am home again and online (no internet at the hospital). Go back to the clinic Monday for another chemo treatment. I will go to the clinic a minimum of 2 to 3 x week, scheduled for the next 3 months, plus meet with kidney specialists. Eventually, I will be having stem cell transplants.

Doctor says it’s unlikely I will be able to do much if any work over the next 12 months at least, so I am also connecting with a hospital social worker to try figure out how to pay for living expenses in the meantime. In the process of applying through 3 different government agencies, what a nightmare…

Not surprisingly, I had never heard of MM before. But apparently there is no rhyme or reason to where it shows up or who gets it. A totally random disease of the blood and bone marrow. For someone like me that’s just crazy in the making. What? How? Huh? Whyyyyy???

Happy Living!

Messy Shepherdess

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