Friday, February 12, 2010

Myeloma Mondays #2: Tim from Essexville, MI

Each "Myeloma Monday" is going to be devoted to sharing the MM journey of folks who continue to dominate. I only wish that I would have had a bunch of these stories at my disposal when I was recently diagnosed; but regardless, I am glad they will be posted for those who will be diagnosed in 2010 and beyond.

Today's Myeloma Monday is brought to us by Tim Marciniak, 41, from Bay City, Michigan. Bay City happens to be my mother's hometown, so much love to Tim and his family!

Where were you born and raised?
  • Born and raised in Bay City, MI
Where do you currently live?
  • Currently live in Essexville (borders Bay City)
When were you diagnosed and how old were you?
  • 8/16/09 - 41
Did you know what MM was prior to diagnosis?
  • Never heard of it
Is there anyone else your in family with MM?
  • No
What led to your diagnosis?
  • Blooperball. I hurt my back playing and when I went to my doctor I told him how tired and fatigued I have been. He ordered bloodwork and WHAM….MM!!!
How many time were you referred before actually being diagnosed?
  • Once
Where have you received treatment?
  • Receive treatment in Bay City and at Karmanos in Detroit
Explain your treatment history
  • 9/9/09 Started Revlimid (25mg) for 21 days then 7 days off. 4 cycles at roughly a month per cycle
  • 9/9/09 Started Dex (40mg) once a week for 28 days
  • 10/16/09 Started taking Lovenox shots (150mg, blood thinner) once a day
  • 11/28/09 Signed up for a clinical trial
  • 12/23/09 Finished 4 cycles of Rev/Dex
  • 1/14/10 Started 4 straight days of Dex (40mg)
  • 1/7/10 Had T-cells taken out for clinical trial
  • 2/2/10 Infusion of 10 billion altered T-cells
  • 2/9/10 Infusion of 10 billion altered T-cells
  • 3/14/10 Will be admitted to Karmanos for autologous transplant
Why did you or your doctor choose a specific?
  • Originally my doctor wanted me on a Velcade, Doxil, Dex treatment but my brother, who works at Priority Health heard about the positive results and less side effect treatment of Rev/Dex. So my doctor contacted Dr. Anderson at Harvard and we decided to go down this path
What has been the side effects of the different treatments?
  • Luckily the side effects I have had have been tolerable. Each week during my cycles I would spend about 3 ½ days in the bathroom with diarrhea. I also had a blood clot in October.
  • The infusion of my T-cells gave me fevers, headaches. I also developed a blood clot in my arm from my 2nd infusion of T-cells.
What has been the hardest thing about your MM journey?
  • Stress it puts on my family. My wife has sometimes become a single parent to our 17 month old boy because I am laid up. I miss taking my wife out to dinner. I miss my students (I am a high school principal). I miss running and being active.
What are the top lessons learned that you would want a newly diagnosed MM patient to know about?
  • Find a doctor who will listen to you and is up to date with the current research. Be careful what you read online because it can be depressing. When it comes down to it, you have to make a decision that you are comfortable with. Stay positive and find a good support group.
How have you been able to stay positive and encouraged in your MM journey?
  • God, family and friends. I am blessed with a strong support group. Also I enjoy reading positive articles like Phil’s blog. Online poker hasn’t hurt either.
After being diagnosed... What perspective was changed the most?
  • I need to give more to my community like they have given to me. I also learned that you can’t take life for granted.
Did you or a parent work in a field with or were exposed to toxic chemicals prior to diagnosis?
  • My mother grew up working on a farm. I also worked on a potato farm as a child. The high school I work in went through major construction several years ago including asbestos removal.
***To add your story to MM Mondays Story Time copy and paste this questionnaire (click here) and send it in an email to cancerkicker at gmail dot com. I would love to share your story! -Phil

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