Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are located in the bone marrow, and when functioning properly, produce cells necessary for the immune system and production of normal blood cells. A person with multiple myeloma experiences a development of malignant protein cells that interferes with the production of normal blood cells. This leads to a compromised immune system and can lead to bone damage, kidney failure and other injuries. Multiple Myeloma is not currently curable, but there are many treatments available and patient survival is improving every year.
The disease is heterogeneous and each patient may be different from the rest. Luckily, many different treatments have developed over the years and there isn’t just one “right treatment” for everyone. Because the disease is rare and there are so many treatments, it is crucially important that patients consult with a multiple myeloma expert about their care.
I began my treatment in November 2015. Like many patients that entailed taking a combination of targeted chemotherapy drugs. In July of 2016 I underwent a stem cell transplant. This is also an accepted treatment for multiple myeloma, but not all patients undergo transplants. Following the transplant I returned to a lower-dose of induction “maintenance” therapy to hold on to and possibly improve my recovery. I achieved a complete remission of the cancer following my initial treatment, transplant, and maintenance treatments.
There is a lot of information on the web about multiple myeloma. Unfortunately a lot of information is outdated and inaccurate and often very scary sounding. Mulitple myeloma research is moving fast and thankfully, current and accurate information is very good. I am not a myeloma expert. I’m a patient that has read a lot, and experienced a lot and I want to share what I can from my own perspective. Here are a few trusted organizations that offer reliable and educational material about multiple myeloma.