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Mastering multiple myeloma

From Marcus Middlehurst

I was told I have MM two and a half years ago, when my back gave in. After ten weeks in agony on the floor (the fault of my GP, who also arranged Physiotherapy which could have killed or paralysed me), I finally got to the BUPA Back Specialist who arranged for an MRI scan that evening.

The next day he rang to say I had a missing Vertebra and Cancer in my back and a bed was waiting in Hospital and an emergency operation arranged!

After the operation my specialist told me I had a growth around my spine and he had removed as much as possible, also he had inserted parallel supporting rods spanning the missing vertebra in the centre of my spine with twelve securing bolts screwed into adjoining vertebrae. But worse, they had analysed bone samples and diagnosed Multiple Myeloma - Bone Cancer, which is classified as incurable! Furthermore, he told me that, had I not had the operation when I did, in one or two more days I would have been Paralysed or dead! (in other words, if I had been a National Health Service Patient).

I was devastated, the Cancer Specialist was called in and confirmed it all. As I did not have cover (and BUPA did not treat Cancer), I was transferred from the comfortable suite I had at the BUPA hospital to a clinic at the NHS Hospital, where they were very nice but the congestion was appalling!

To cut a long story short, I had a T cell transplant (my own T cells were harvested before the Chemotherapy because they are Cancer Free and were reintroduced after to regrow my bone marrow) and my bone marrow was killed off to try to kill the Cancer, but in MM the Cancer can 'Hide' in the bone and re-appears up to eight years later.

Whilst all this went on, my wife and I did research on the Web and with a very healthy diet of nuts, fruit and veg etc., and a positive outlook - I try not to think anything is wrong - we believe that has enabled me to get the Cancer to disappear off my charts altogether a fairly rare situation I gather!

I have been made a 'World Study' subject and alongside my fellow sufferers I am closely monitored.

I hope I have beaten the Cancer, but only time can tell, other than the Back Pain I still suffer, I am OK, but I cannot Work, and this has been financially crippling to us, all our hopes for retirement have been abandoned and my wife is having to work on, my Pension will be derisory and we will live in poverty, but at least I am Alive!

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Updated: 28 September 2009