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Earl Wachtel

 

San Jose CA; wachtel@att.net

1930 / Class of '05 / Type: IgG, stage I / Updated: 5/08

My family physician during routine physical saw something that he felt required having a consultation with a hematologist/ oncologist, resulting in a MGUS diagnosis 1998, and MM diagnosis September 2005. Officially called at this time as being asymptomatic, smoldering or Stage 1. Oncologist considers me anemic but cannot treat per Medicare until hemoglobin drops below 11, presently hovering at about 12. This is the only real downer that I presently have as result of the MM. I also have very infrequent peripheral neuropathy in my feet, just a few seconds of tingling. My blood marrow biopsy in 2005 showed 20 to 25% plasma cells. I am IgG monoclonal, but oncologist has never checked for Lambda or Kappa. My IgG started at 2000 in 1998 and now hovers at 3900 plus. Have blood work done every three months, have had two BMBís and three bone surveys (with no lesions found).

My treatments so far are mostly at my suggestion but with the oncologist's OK: Shingles vaccination, Fosamax for osteopaenia, and I regularly take Celebrex for arthritic ankle pain relief - but I understand this may help MM. I also take a fair amount of vitamins etc. although my oncologist, Dr. James Cohen, does not believe in supplements. Additional significant health problems: successful back operation for sciatica, two stents for angina, infrequent atrial fibrillations (take medications when they occur), lifelong hearing problems and now have hearing aids in both ears, and consider myself hypoglycemic.

I attended one of the support groupís regular meetings at Stanford and have decided to wait until I require additional treatment before going back. I did a second opinion consultation with Dr. Steven Coutre, at Stanford Cancer Center in August 2006 and he pretty much agreed with Dr. Cohenís diagnosis and monitoring methodology. He did recommend another bone survey at the time which Dr. Cohen did order.

I grew up in Olney, Illinois a small town in Southern Illinois, attended the University of Illinois for 3 years, served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Completed college at San Jose State, and went to work for IBM in 1956, and retired in 1986. I did have some sustained exposure to chlorinated solvents for about a year, and my personal belief is that that is what caused the blood cell mutation leading to MM.

I exercise regularly, try to eat healthy and keep my weight at around 150 to 155, at 5' 8". Only unique hobby is Flyfishing, which I have enjoyed since about age of 12.

 

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