I served as a Hospital Corpsman for twenty years and was assigned to U.S.M.C. units for ten of my twenty years. I completed three tours of duty in Vietnam during which one of which was on ground with the Marines.
Our unit was sprayed with Agent Orange during 1965-66 however, my first sign of Myeloma did not appear until 2008 when I was treated for an iron deficiency. For two years, the doctors continued to increase the amount of iron I was taking in an attempt to level my blood count. Finally, I asked the doctor at the V.A. Clinic in Mesa, AZ, when doing an annual physical examination, to do an expanded blood panel on me and Myeloma popped its ugly head up on the lab results.
My condition was considered “Smoldering” and the doctors took a wait and see approach followed by an aggressive treatment program. I was fortunate enough to have excellent health insurance and was seen not only by the Oncologist at the V.A. Hospital, Phoenix as well as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Gilbert, AZ.
I made phone contact with Dr. Brian Durie of the International Myeloma Foundation, who suggested a treatment program called CyBorD. Upon completion of the CyBorD program, I was a candidate for a Stem Cell Transplant (using my own stem cells). As time drew closer, the Oncologist felt that given my age and current medical condition, I would not do well with the stem cell transplant, therefore I was prescribed a maintenance dose of Chemo Drugs and Dexamethasone steroid.
My numbers are holding and being treated by a Neurologist for Neuropathy, I am feeling well. Currently, I am into a 21 days chemo prescription followed by seven days rest and blood testing. Life is good and I look forward to finding a cure for Myeloma during my lifetime.