Monday, November 29, 2010

Myeloma Monday #33: Cherish Garcia from Dubai, UAE

Cherish is another 30 Something taking on Multiple Myeloma. We need to continue to build awareness and education about Multiple Myeloma.

***To add your story to Myeloma Mondays copy and paste this questionnaire (click here) and send it in an email to phil at cancerkicker dot org

Where were you born and raised?

  • I was born and raised in the Philippines.
Where do you currently live?

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
When were you diagnosed and how old were you?

  • 2/21/08 – age 35, IGG Kappa MM DS II/III

Did you know what MM was prior to diagnosis?

  • No idea at all. Its just that when I try press the enter in Google search bar and found it was cancer, I was so depressed.
Is there anyone else your in family with MM?

  • No one.
What led to your diagnosis?

  • Ribs fracture and very low Hemoglabin
How many times were you referred before actually being diagnosed?

  • Twice
Where have you received treatment?

  • Here in UAE.
Explain your treatment history::

  • 02/2008: Started Induction Theraphy of 4mg dexamethasone in 4 days.
  • 2/2008: Start on Tal/Velcade/Dex/Doxil/Zometa. However, Velcade was omitted during the first cycle due to severe allergic reaction.
  • 8/2008: Received 7 cycles of Tal/Dex/Doxil/Zometa and the last evaluation shows extremely good response.
  • 12/2009: Stem cell Harvesting, Manila Philippines.

Why did you or your doctor choose a specific treatment?

  • From the day we started the treatment they already put in my mind that I need to have a transplant after the chemo session. But God make a miracle in my life, He did not allow me to have one. The M-band isn’t detectable anymore and the repeat BM shows 1% plasma cells. According to them, taking this into account an ASCT at this stage isn’t likely to improve the situation further and taking the recommendation given in the publication in JCO June 1, 2008 pp 2761-2766 by San Miguel et al.
  • My onco suggest to have a stem cell harvest as planned but postpone the ASCT to later when needed.

What has been the side effects of the different treatments?

  • For velcade – severe allergic reaction, pain in gums
  • For Thalidomie, Doxil, Dexa…Skin rashes but tolerable, numbness, dizziness, vomiting

What has been the hardest thing about your MM journey?

  • At first acceptance, its really hard. I even keep this to my family, I told this only to my husband and selected friends. I don’t want my parents to be affected by this bad news. But once I’ve known what God want’s to happen in my life, everything was fine…it runs smoothly. Though there are still humps, but easily taken care of. I don’t mind side effects. Because I know God make this very light for me.
What are the top lessons learned that you would want a newly diagnosed MM patient to know about?

  • Pray hard. Never stop praying, giving thanks, honor and praise to His name even in our time darkness. He will be our light. Put God in everything. Doctors and medicines are just instruments of God. Don’t call to anyone else, only to Him.
How have you been able to stay positive and encouraged in your MM journey?

  • I always dwell on God presence. I joined church group, I share my testimonies for some people to be inspired. That those simple problems should not be embraced that much.
After being diagnosed... What perspective was changed the most?

  • My Faith , Llifestyle, and my point of view in Life.

Did you or a parent work in a field with or were exposed to toxic chemicals prior to diagnosis?

  • No. Nothing.
What MM sites or blogs had you found good information from after diagnosis?

Here is my own blog:

***To add your story to Myeloma Mondays copy and paste this questionnaire (click here) and send it in an email to phil at cancerkicker dot org. I would love to share your story! -Phil


Linda said...

I am so amazed at the number of young people being diagnosed with multiple myeloma. When my husband was diagnosed at 58, I thought that was young, but at least our children were adults, through college, and married or living on their own. I love Cherish's testimony of faith, and pray God's healing hand on her. What a beautiful young woman (and love her name!!)

Cherish said...

Thank you Ms. Linda, God is really amazing! He gives me the power and strength to face all these trials and Praise Him for the healing.
Thanks also for the prayers. I will pray as well for your Husband.

God Bless.

Judee Atienza said...

Hi Cherish,
I am reading your blog and I am amazed by your positivity and strong personality.
My brother is diagnosed with MM but in his case he doesn't have the money to fund his medications. I was just wondering how much does thalidomide cost in the philippines?
He still needs to undergo Bone marrow aspiration, but we're looking for a charity in PGH.
I pray that God will contim=nue to heal you!