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Michael Smith

1945 / Class of '94 / Type: IgA, light chain / Updated: 11/01

I would consider myself a poster child for having a physical every year. My MM was picked up on a physical. My sediment rate was high and I was anemic for the second year in a row. I went to an Oncologist at M.D. Anderson (Orlando) and was confirmed with MM after a Bone Marrow Biopsy. My IgA count was about 4000. I can remember sitting in the Drs. office and thinking "what in the world is he talking about". 

I grew up in a small town in South Florida. While in the Oncologist's office, I mentioned that as a young man I had been in the Marines and served two tours in Vietnam. His comment was "Agent Orange", and suggested I contact the VA immediately. I was started on Alkeran and Dexamethasone for four days once a month. I did this for a year and it brought my IgA counts down to 800. I was then started on Interferon A, 3 million units, 3 times per week. 

At the end of three years my IgA had slowly risen to about 2400. At that time I was referred to M.D. Anderson (Houston) for a consult with Dr. Alexanian for a possible Stem Cell Transplant. He felt, at that time I should try Thalidomide 200 mg, daily and pulse with 40 mg. Decadron every other week. After a year my IgA count went down to 600. I was on this protocol for about two years. Also, for the past two years I have been receiving Aredia 90mg on a monthly basis.

In April of this year I had an autologous Stem Cell Transplant in Houston. The transplant was considered a success. I was told that I was in remission.  The only physical symptoms that I have are several lytic lesions in my ribs. 

A personal note is that I had always been a future-oriented person. That future orientation drove me crazy when first diagnosed. I had to become more present oriented. 


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