Multiple Myeloma--Blood Cancer

by Administrator10. December 2012 12:59

Let me preface this article by saying that it is not a scientific writ but just an informative report of treatment options and hope. Way back in January I wrote about my husband’s blood-cancer, the treatment with chemo-therapy, steroids and support meds like calcium treatments. Since then great things have happened. I want to write about the developments because they are a cause for hope of those diagnosed with this illness.

First I want to mention that men and women in their mid-fifties who suddenly experience tiredness and shortness of breaths from ordinary energy expenditure without symptoms of a flu, cold or other easily explainable cause, should seek out their doctors immediately and ask for a total blood and urine work-up. The proteins produced by the illness show up in the urine quickly. The blood-picture will show Anemia, Leukopenia and or Thrombocytopenia—all are shortage of red and white blood-cells and thrombocytes, the cells that help clot your blood.

As the illness, untreated, can progress fairly fast, early diagnosis is of the essence. A diagnosis of stage one development of myeloma can result in containing the illness with the least amount chemo—perhaps none at all. By the time stage three is reached, serious chemo is needed to stop progression. There is a bevy of drugs available for treatment; a doctor will find what works best for the particular case.

Don was treated with valcade, which helped contain the illness for a while but then stopped working. He went on to take revlimide, a thalidomide, together with dexamethasone and, for a while, went into remission. He did great. He was once again playing tennis and going on hikes. However, this idyll did not last long. His doctors decided his best chance would be a stem-cell-transplant. A very serious treatment that is best undertaken while the patient is still in good physical condition.

If one waits too long the chance for the transplant passes and it is too late. Don went through the transplant. It was difficult. For a week he did not care whether he lived or died. But, oh, the results were amazing. And his quality of life is great! You should see him playing ball with his grandsons.

I felt that I should give you this update, for I talked about the men and women stricken with the illness and their amazing attitude. I also should tell you, by the way, that I have met quite a few people who have held the illness at bay for fifteen years and more.

Good health to all of you!




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About the author

Born in Germany in 1941, Sigrid Weidenweber remembers the horrific aftermath of Fascism. At the end of the war, she found herself living under Communism. Both of these totalitarian regimes left indelible marks on her psyche and a healthy distrust of government’s, usurping too many powers to control people, supposedly for their own good. After the Berlin Wall was built, she managed to escape the repressive environment with the help of friends and a French passport. To this day she does not speak French.

She holds degrees in medical technology, psychology and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Concordia University of Portland, Oregon for her trilogy "The Volga Flows Forever."

 Her first published book, “Escaping the Twilight,” deals with aspects of medical anthropology in an Islamic culture. In her trilogy the Volga Flows Forever, she brings to life Catherine the Great in her multiple roles as monarch, woman--lover, mother, grandmother and head of the general staff of the army, in volume one. The following two historical volumes deal with the Volga Germans brought to Russia by Catherine's edict.  The last book, “From Gulag to Freedom,” describes the lives of Russian-Germans and minority populations under Stalin’s regime and the systematic eradication of these minorities. The last part of the book is a comparison of communism, Russia, versus free enterprise in the USA. The heroin of the book settles in Fresno, California.

Three years ago she moved to Santa Rosa Valley, California from Portland Oregon. She has passionately embraced California together with her family that also resides here.

Always active, lecturing on historical and anthropological subjects and being a part of arts and culture in Portland, Oregon, she bestrode the same path when she came to California and is active on the Northwest Symphony League Board.

At present she is writing a memoir of her early childhood during WW I and later young adulthood under Communism.


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