Henderson, NV; DKlein8722@aol.com
1942 / Class of '04 / Type: IgG / Thal + Dex / Remission / Updated: 1/08
My multiple Myeloma story actually starts 18 months before I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma on 12/15/04. My wife and I got married in March of 2003. It had been several years since I had medical insurance and therefore I had not been to a Doctor in sometime. So after we were married and I had insurance I went for a complete physical. My primary care Dr. ran the usual CBC and found that all of my readings were very low, especially my white count. My primary care Dr. at this point suspected leukemia and sent me to an Oncologist. The Oncologist did a BMB and found that my bone marrow was normal, so back to my primary care physician.
Now lots more test are in order. First they found that my spleen was several times normal size and sucking all my blood cells up. About a month later I started feeling very nauseous and couldn’t eat. This went on for five months all the while I was in and out of the hospital and test after test. First they thought I had cirrhosis of the liver. More test concluded that my liver was fine. Next they concluded that I should have my spleen out which I did. My spleen weighed in at 2.2 kilograms, (4.8 pounds, normal is 8 oz.) Right after my spleen was removed I was able to eat normally and started gaining back the 60 pounds that I had lost.
I had been feeling fine when in September of 2005 my primary care physician orders a routine urine test. He found that the protein in my urine was more than 10,000 times normal and recommended further testing. I put this testing off until late November 2005 when I had another Bone Marrow Test. It showed I had Multiple Myeloma with 21% plasma cells. Until this neither my wife nor I had ever heard of Multiple Myeloma. My IgG was 10,500, B2M 8.2 and M-Spike 5.5.
On December 15th I was started on 200mg of Thalidomide per day and 40mg of Decadron 4 days on and 4 days off. In just three weeks of this my IgG had dropped to 5,500. After about four and one half months my Dr. dropped the dose of Decadron to 20mgs 4 days on and 10 days off. By this time my IgG was in the 2000 to 3000 range. We found that with the Decadron down to 20 mgs my IgG was creeping up again. So it was changed back to 40mgs 4 days on and 10 days off. Once again my IgG began to drop. It was holding after three months of the increased Decadron to a little above 1500. My Dr. wanted to drive it down even lower but it wouldn’t go under 1500.
So in September 2005 we decided to go on a ten day vacation to New England. My wife is from Connecticut. On day 8 of the vacation and the first day off Decadron, we decided to drive up to Yankee Candle Factory and then back down to Waterbury Connecticut. I felt fine during breakfast but on the drive down the freeway to Waterbury I started to feel a little sick, kind of weird as I remember. Near Hartford I told my wife that I needed to use the restroom so she stopped at a Shell station. I got out of the car while she parked it and collapsed. My wife and a guy got me up and tried to help me to the front door to use the restroom, I collapsed again and at this point felt terrible. An ambulance was called and I was rushed to St Francis hospital in Hartford Connecticut.
It was determined that I had Pneumococcal Pneumonia of the blood. The Dr’s told my wife that there was very little chance that I would survive. I was on life support for 4 days and given three different antibiotics during this time. I was in the hospital for a total of eight days. We had to wait for three more days until the Doctors would let me fly home.
When I returned home I immediately went to see my Oncologist who told me when he walked through the door “he never expected to see me again”. The week before flying to the east coast my IgG level was 1556. My Dr. did another round of blood test to see where we stood. The week that I returned my IgG was 320 and has never gone over 496 since. So since September 2005 I have been off all drugs for MM and have been in complete remission.
I keep asking if the Pneumococcal Pneumonia had anything to do with my going into complete remission and I can never get a total straight answer. My Oncologist told me it was unlikely but possible. So now it’s a wait and see, if/when the MM may return.
Site © 2000-2015 Dean Gallea (in loving memory of June Brazil)