Where were you born and raised?
- North Plainfield NJ
Where do you currently live?
- North Plainfield, NJ
When were you diagnosed and how old were you?
- I was diagnosed on 4/13/10 at the age of 31. Just goes to proves MM is affecting younger patients nowadays
Did you know what MM was prior to diagnosis?
- I never heard of it before I was diagnosed. Matter of fact, I thought it had something to do with Melanoma
Is there anyone else your in family with MM?
What led to your diagnosis?
- I went for my yearly physical and after a blood test, it was mentioned that I had elevated calcium and protein in my body. Initially, the doctors believed it was possibly a thyroid issue but after rounds of testing, it was determined I had MM
How many times were you referred before actually being diagnosed?
- I would say within a month, my condition was determined
Where have you received treatment?
- Hackensack University Medical Center under the care of Dr.Siegel and Dr. Donato
Explain your treatment history:
- 5/2010: Started RVD
- 8/2010: Completed 4 rounds of RVD
- 9/2010: Collected over 16 million stem cells in two days!
- 9/2010: Auto Transplant #1, made it out on day +10
- Going forward- Either a 2nd auto transplant in the spring(tandem transplant), or we will play the waiting game and pray for a complete remission and that I do not fall out of it. If I do, we always have the option of going with a 2nd transplant
Why did you or your doctor choose a specific treatment?
- My doctor wanted to be proactive with treatment because other than high calcium, I had no other symptoms. Honestly, I felt perfectly fine when I was diagnosed and did even throughout treatment.
What has been the side effects of the different treatments?
- Maybe I’m just extremely lucky, but I’ve had really no issues or side effects with Revlimid, Dex or Velcade. No neuropathy, no GI issues, nothing. Even the stem cell transplant was cake it seems. Other than some acid reflux, I sailed thru the transplant. The nurses would laugh at me because whereas most of the newly transplanted patients were sick or sleeping all day, I was fully awake and working on my laptop or doing schoolwork throughout my hospital stay
What has been the hardest thing about your MM journey?
- The hardest thing have been the emotional ups and downs I think. I feel extremely lucky and try to be positive how well I am doing, and my health and the way I feel plays a big part in that. I do have my days though when I get down about what I’m going through but I have a great support system of my wife, family and friends that get me through.
What are the top lessons learned that you would want a newly diagnosed MM patient to know about?
- The biggest thing is DO NOT GOOGLE OR SEARCH THE INTERNET for length of survival, etc. This was the very first thing I did when I was diagnosed and all I can remember is finding info talking about the longest I would survive was 3-5 years. I didn’t understand why I would want to bother going on treatment when I would die in such a short amount of time. I quickly found out this information was outdated, along with majority of the studies being centered around people double my age.
How have you been able to stay positive and encouraged in your MM journey?
- The best piece of advice is just to stay busy and try not to think about it too often. Like I said, I am one of the few who have had no side effects, but even while on RVD, I mountain biked, exercised, worked on the house, and just lived a normal life. There is no reason not to.
After being diagnosed... What perspective was changed the most?
- The perspective that has changed the most is to take things day by day. Too many of us worry about “where I will be in 20 years” or situations which are so far down the road. We can get hit by a bus tomorrow.
Did you or a parent work in a field with or were exposed to toxic chemicals prior to diagnosis?
What MM sites or blogs had you found good information from after diagnosis?
- Multiple Myeloma for Dummies
- Myeloma Beacon