John was diagnosed with
multiple myeloma (MM) in 1999
My name is John and I was diagnosed with IgG kappa stage III multiple myeloma
on November 23rd, 1999. As I had been very active and had only recently been
half of a two man crew bringing a 38-foot trimaran up from Mexico to Victoria on
a course 800 miles offshore, an exercise quite physically demanding, the diagnosis
came as something of a shock. I was told my prognosis was two months to two
years to five, possibly five years if I had a successful bone marrow transplant. I had
just turned sixty-five.
Fortunately I went on the internet and discovered a message from a gentleman in
his 80s who had been living with multiple myeloma for seventeen years. I thought “If he can do it, why not me?”
On February 21st, 2000, I had the stem cell transplant. It went well. A that time the
chemo dose given was heavier than that given today. They said I would lose my hair
and would likely be sick. They were right about the hair but, while I had to swallow
hard a few times, I did not throw up once. I was advised that it would take me about
a year to fully recover from treatment, which I did not believe. Again, they were right.
Patients now, though, seem to be recovering much faster.
Unlike patients around me, I did not get the response from the transplant that we had hoped
for. In the five years following, I did almost every treatment that was available to me to hold the disease in
check, hoping that a new drug or treatment would come along that would prove more effective. In that
time we were never able to do more than stabilize the myeloma at a high level of activity. . . .