Health Update June 21, 2013

During the trip, at odd times, anger and confusion surfaced. I had been a prime candidate for the stem cell transplant and now the MM had recurred I wanted to know what just the f - - happened anyway.

After we returned, I met with my GP Oncologist on June 19 and he explained it straight, The first round of chemo brought your cancer markers down but despite the chemo and the stem cell transplant, the multiple myeloma just kept growing; it wasn't stopped.

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Statistics are only meaningful when they relate to something concrete. It's my understanding that a stem cell transplant puts MM in remission for 85% of people for more than five years; 10% go into remission for one to five years, and for less than 5%, that near-death procedure does not take.Of course, no one knows why nor can the doctors tell me why I just happen to be in the 5%.

As mind boggling and unfair and cruel as it is, the stem cell transplant did not work for me. That's why the specialist didn't recommend another stem cell transplant. That's why he did recommend a chemo drug regime for the rest of my life.

After a bit more prodding and herding once we we're home, my medical team came through and on June 22, I will begin the chemo treatment to manage the MM. It's normally well tolerated and very effective when it works. The specialist assures me it is my best option.

I've spoken with a few people who all ask the same questions, How can it be that the stem cell transplant didn't work? How can you look so healthy and feel so good if the myeloma was and is still growing?

All I can figure is that compared to how I felt (tired and supposedly menopausal, which I now believe to have been signals from my body that I had cancer)leading up to 2011 before I was diagnosed with cancer and compared to the extreme distress of the double mastectomy surgery for breast cancer, four months of chemotherapy followed by the stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma, and colon cancer surgery, anything feels better. And actually, in between those extremes, I did feel better than I'd felt for at least two years prior to the diagnoses. Throughout, I have felt healthy. My truth is I am healthy; I just happen to have cancer.

Finding out the stem cell transplant did not work is tough. I know I have the resilience to face it, but this is the first time I'm totally pissed off. I've had enough now.regardless, I have to deal with it.

The emotional roller coaster and stark uncertainty are back and will keep me company until we find out whether I respond to the drug regime. That will take one to four cycles on the regime one to four months. Whatever happens, I do believe following this second form of treatment is my best chance to live longer with a good quality of life, so I'm taking it. I'm assuming (though not quite as confidently as I did with the stem cell transplant) that the proposed drug regime will work for me.

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