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Mulitple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma:Bone cancer, white blood cells for unknown reasons overproduce a certain type of cell which attacks bones.

The cancer had deteriated my Thorasic 6 (T-6) vertebre (middle back area) to the point it put pressure on my spinal cord. Causing numbness in my legs and not being able to walk. My Oncologist (Dr. J. Chlebowsi of Kaiser Permanente Harbor City) put me on steriods to reduce the swelling of my spinal cord.

Within a couple of days I had surgery for replacement of vertebre T-6 with a titanium replacement vertebre. I was given a 50% chance that I would be able to walk. Neuosurgeon (Dr.P. Rohten of Kaiser Permanente Sunset) opened me up from the bottom of my neck to just above my lower back. Also another insision was made going around my right side to under my arm. After deflating and removing my right lung. They removed my T-6 vertebre which was barely intact. They installed a titanium vertebre and fused my T-5 through T-7 vertebres together with braces and screws. Also installing titanium braces over 8 inches which hook my rib cage to help support this replacement vertebre was also installed. All of which will remain inside my body for the rest of my life. Then they cleaned out another tumor which was 4 verbres higher. During this 9 hour surgery they had a few times when I required a blood transfusion and for my lung to be reinflated to stablize me. After spending 3-4 days in ICU with tubes hanging out of me they transferred me to a regular room where I stayed for one day. After doctors checking me out to make sure I could walk, I convinced my doctors to remove the tubes so I could go home. There is permanite damage to my spinal cord resulting in numbness in the imediate area in my back going around my right side to upper stomach area. Plus all pain killers given to me whould never work good enough to relieve me of intense pain. The only option doctors gave me was direct injections every other day (no thanks) I'll deal with the pain.

After surgery I was almost imediately given 10 radiation treatments (Kaiser Sunset) and started chemotherapy (Kaiser Harbor City). My Oncologist had PIC line installed into my right arm. This small tube went into my right arm just below the elbow and went all the way up into my return cavity of my heart. 5 rounds of chemo and steroids for the next 5 months.

In preporation of harvasting my bone marrow doctors removed the PIC line from my arm and installed a large line into my chest the day before I went to the track to help my brother. Harvasting of my bone marrow in preperation for my bone marrow transplant followed. A high dose of chemo and for the next 10 days of twice a day self injections (my wife had to inject me, I couldn't handle injecting myself). Then I went to the have my bone marrow harvasted for two days of hell. For 6 hours each day they hooked me up to a machine that would draw out my blood and harvest my bone marrow and return the rest into my body.

In the beginning of June 1998 I got my bone marrow transplant at Kaiser Permanente Sunset (Dr. W. Luei). 10 days of high dose chemo. Several weeks of isolation in the hospital. The room was nice with a view but only 10X10 and a bathroom. This drove me nuts, first of all I hate being in the hospital and then not being able to go out for a walk or even out of my room. Only immediate family was allowed to visit me after they got by the nurses who made sure they were completely germ free. Then scrubed down and still had to wear a mask when they saw me. After a while a few friends were allow to visit after getting by the nurses and still wearing a mask. I was put on a BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) diet which consisted of food that was well cooked to kill all bacteria or canned. No food containing any kind of bacteria was allowed. Everything had to be prepaired fresh or reheated enough to kill all bacteria. No uncooked vegstibles. When I could not eat, I was fed intravenisely. Even though I was fed intravenisely I still would vomit what was going into my veins (yuck). My blood counts, weight and vitals were checked everyday. I had a camera in my room so that nurses could watch me 24 hours a day. Monitors on me so that if something went wrong the nurse would know immediatly. All my food and liquids was measured and recorded. All my fluids I expelled was measured. I was supposed to have all my stool measured too (yeah right, not me). I recieved my stem cell infusion on June 3,1998. Finally released to 4 months home isolation of recovery. No animals or plants was allowed in the house. My area of the house had to be sterilized until my white blood count built up.

I'm completely cancer free now. Thanks to my great doctors and nurses. And prayers & support from friends and family. I have returned back to work (limited duty). Thanks to my boss who was nice enough to let me return to work under these conditions. I'll remain on limited duty for a few more months till I'm able to lift more than 25 lbs.

This last year was a nightmare and sometimes I think it was a really bad dream till I move around and feel the pain. With everyday passing I feel better.

A special thanks to my wife who with out her I would have not had the will to fight for my life. Also my parents and brothers who supported me and my family. A few friends (they know who they are) who also helped me and my family.

Update:Feb.25,2000 I have been released by my doctor to full duty for work with the exception of no lifting more than 50lbs. This will probably remain like this for the rest of my life.

Anyone wishing to ask or talk about cancer, e-mail me.

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Created on Jan. 31,1999

Last updated on Aug.04,2000

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