Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saga of a Stem Cell Transplant-How I got here

For those of you who don't know, I was diagnosed in 2003 with Multiple Myeloma. I've kept pretty busy and learned a lot along the way.  Back when I was diagnosed, the Stem Cell Transplant was about the only choice for treatment,  thalidomide was radical and brand-new, and the life expectancy was 23 months.  However, I noted that the graph of mortality did have a faint line that extended out just above the zero.  I told the doctor then....I'm on THAT line.  They told me 23 months- I promised my grand-kids to be around til they were grown.  Eight years later, here I am, still going against the odds and planning to live to 80. The new upgraded life expectancy for a myeloma patient is nearing the 10 year mark.

I elected to not have the SCT at that time, trying the new Thalidomide which worked exceeding well for me, for about 18 months, then, on to several newer drugs that kept being released in the meantime.  These all worked well until January, when everything I had available was in use and my numbers kept rising.  The critical point came in June when my GFR hit 10 with a creatnine of 4.7.  (For those who don't know- when your GFR (kidney function) is below 16 you are generally in renal failure and at 10, on dialysis.)  Oddly enough, I'm not, and it has the renal docs checking me every day and scratching their heads.

Due to the condition of the kidneys and the lack of viable treatment options, I was admitted to the VA Hospital in San Francisco on June 7th with the plan of several rounds of chemo to suppress the myeloma enough to get a collection and then on to a SCT.  This will buy a little more time for more new drugs to become available and so on.

Many of my support group members have questions about the whole process, what goes on, what happens, so I thought I'd take the time to chronicle my experiences and have it be of some benefit.  I'll try not to get too technical, and will to explain any new terms, so feel free to comment, question, or encourage!

You know what I say when they say it can't be done....just watch me!   Something perverse in my nature just loves to tackle the word Impossible!

Note for today....Doing well, feeling good, thriving.....and yes even having fun  Live from the  SFVA Hospital,


No comments:

Post a Comment