Sunday, April 27, 2008

Multiple Myeloma and Dr. Nair......

Today is February 5th, and I went to my first Oncology appointment. Up to this point I had only met and been treated Dr. Graham who was my Oncology Radiologist, the guy responsible for "zapping my tumors". My last radiology appt. with him will be March 1st, so it was time to meet my Oncologist and make a plan for my further treatment. His name is Dr. Santosh Nair, and I liked him right away and we seemed to have an instant rapport. It's really important for me to have a doctor I can relate to, talk to with no problem, who doesn't make me feel like I'm being rushed, a doctor who "gets" me and my sense of humor and a doctor who will listen. I felt all of those things on my very first visit and it's now over a year later and I still love my doctor!! And just a word about his Staff too.....When you go to a doctors office once a week for 13 months, well, let's just say you get to know people. My nurse Dawn is super great....She will ALWAYS get back with me that day if I have a question and the Medical Assistant who takes my blood is the most AWESOME and her name is Tonya. Dr. Nair knows how to pick 'em. :) He explained the "nature of the beast" was a rare (of course) cancer called MULTIPLE MYELOMA. It is a cancer of the blood cells found predominately in black males. do I look like a black male to you? Dr. Nair explained exactly what this cancer does to my body and outlined a treatment plan that included chemotherapy once my radiology was finished, along with coumadin to thin the blood as the chemo tends to make blood clots and complicate things. Besides the chemo which was Thalidomide (at first...but after 4 months and no decrease in cancer cells he switched me to REVLAMID which DID decrease my cancer cells). I also took dexamethsone once a week which is supposed to increase the effects of the chemo. I am very fortunate that my chemo was oral, so I didn't have to sit and do the drip drip IV thing except for once a month when I received a bone strengthener. Dr. Nair also told me that after the chemo has started to work, we keep track of the disease through bloodwork and urine testing. He said that I would stay on chemo until I hit a plateau and at that time it would time to have a Stem Cell Bone Marrow Transplant. To make the explanation of Multiple Myeloma rather short would be best to explain it as a cancer of the plasma cell and it accounts for only 1% of all cancers and there is NO CURE. The plasma cell is a component of your white blood cells and the plasma cell is important because it is part of your immune system that produces antibodies that fight infection and diseases. Having MM makes my immune system very weak so I'm able to "catch" any germs or viruses or fungus that come around very easily. My symptoms of MM were pain, recurring urinary tract infections and extreme fatigue (and I don't mean just tired!!) To explain it in depth here is the link to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and they can describe all the gory details of this ugly disease.!
I'm almost caught up to "real time"..........yay

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