1959 / Class of '97 / Type: IgG / Died: 8-24-02
My name is Mike Hamilton and I was diagnosed with IGG Multiple Myeloma in Oct of
1997. I was 38 years old. I grew up in Nampa, Idaho, a Farming area that is
about 5 hours away from the INEL (Idaho Nuclear Engineering Lab) and 50 miles
away from a nuclear waste dump site. I was active and healthy with no surgeries
or allergies up until Sept 97. I hurt my back lifting the first week of Sept.
and it got more sore each week. I still went hiking and fishing the 2nd week of
Sept. By the third week of Sept I decided to go to a chiropractor, which only
led to more pain. The last week of Sept I was seen at a Health Clinic. They
thought it was severe muscle strain, or Kidneys.
After I saw a urologist he recommended seeing an orthopedist. But my back
pain and spasms got so
bad that they locked up and I had to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
There the ortho took X-rays and then called in an internist. He found I had high
calcium levels and was close to heart spasms. He
started Aredia and fluid flush while starting the 24 hour urine test. Three days
later I was Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and rushed to Boise by ambulance.
They said I was experiencing Kidney failure did a bone marrow aspiration and
found I had 75% disease. Had multiple bone involvement with compression
fractures of three vertebras, three cracked ribs and hot spots in pelvis.
Implanted Hickman, did plasma-Apheresis and started VAD. Had 5 rounds of VAD
total which lowered disease in marrow to 10% by December '97 then moved to
Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and had a tandem autologous stem cell
transplant. Was in Seattle for 6 months then came home. Also participated in the
Myeloma Vaccine study. Getting 3 vaccinations of my own Myeloma.
Have been recovering from the transplant and regaining strength and stamina
since. Have been back to
full time mechanic work since May 1999. Trying to stay away from chemicals and
solvents involved in diesel mechanic-ing as much as possible. I have been on 90
mg of Aredia monthly since diagnosis in '97.
Since April '98 we have increased the time between Aredia treatments to 6 weeks.
My IGG level had been staying stable at 1260 since the transplant. In the past
several months it has been fluctuating up to
around 1400. Had a bone density test done recently which showed all bones in the
average level for my age and gender. Had a MRI done last week, waiting to see
how it compares to last MRI done a year ago. Right now I am feeling good and
enjoying a quality of life. I take a multiple vitamin and anti oxidant that a
naturopathic doctor put me on. Also have been taking a supplement called MGN-3
for the past 6 months that is supposed to help build NK-Cell activity. Have been
doing research on alternative treatments especially 714X from Canada.
One interesting thing was that in July of '97, before finding I had Myeloma, I
was stung by a bee and my lymph glands under my arm swelled up like grapefruits.
I wonder if my immune system was not working at that time because of the myeloma
or if the bee sting triggered the Myeloma.