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C. Sagnard

1939 / Class of '01 / Updated: 12/01

I have been diagnosed with MM, 30% plasma cells. The most recent recommendation has been VAD followed by a BMT. Initially (while I listened to the oncologist), it sounded quite feasible and not such a big deal; 6 - 7 months, I could do this! However, now that I have read more detailed material I'm increasingly becoming concerned and wonder if I should go another route. My oncologist indicated 29 days recovery. The written material I have indicates that recovery takes 6 months to 1 year. They also indicate possible relapse from 18 to 36 months. Does that mean I will go through this for being well during 6 months only?

I am a 62 year old woman, very active and fit. I walk and swim on a regular basis, and, except for a heart condition, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, am in excellent health. I hope this brings a smile to your face! It's meant to. Yes, I do have a few minor negatives there. However, I lead a very healthy life which is also important to my mental well-being. I have no symptoms of MM, but my immune system is severely compromised and the diagnosis is unquestionable. I am so afraid that I'm going to destroy everything what's left as good in my body through this procedure, especially through the high chemo. Do taste-buds etc. ever recuperate? My concern also involves the need for "caregivers." My husband will hopefully be working (remember the present economy?) and I don't see how I can ask anyone to stay with me on a lengthy permanent basis. My children live in other States and have little ones who are in school and cannot be left behind.

Sometimes I just wish I could pretend none of this is happening. I need to make this decision by January and want to look into alternatives to BMT. Is it possible to have stem cells harvested and frozen to keep for later transfer, and then are there methods that have ensured a mid- to long-term survival without the BMT? Or is the BMT the surest way to go and am I just putting off the inevitable? I am concerned and confused -- but not depressed. Above all, I don't want fear. However, reading about the BMT is the first time I've experienced it. It just sounded like real bad stuff.

If anyone can provide some advice, please E-mail to: 


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