Monday, December 5, 2011

Myeloma Mondays #42: Tanner (Age 17!!) from Ft. Worth, TX

Where were you born and raised?
  •  Fort Worth, Texas
Where do you currently live?
  •  In the same home all my life in Kennedale, Texas
When were you diagnosed and how old were you?
  •  Official diagnosis was July 23, 2009 - age 17
Did you know what MM was prior to diagnosis?
  •  No, I had never heard of Multiple Myeloma.
Is there anyone else your in family with MM?
  •  No one in my family - or anyone else I've ever known has ever been diagnosed with MM
What led to your diagnosis?
  •  A broken left tibia led to the diagnosis
How many times were you referred before actually being diagnosed?
  •  Referred to three different doctors before receiving the actual diagnosis.
Where have you received treatment?
    Cook Childrens Hematology and Oncology Dept
Explain your treatment history: 
  • August 7, 2009 - Chemo
  • 9/2/2009 - Autologous Stem Cell Transplant
  • 10/22/2009 - Autologous Stem Cell Transplant (Tandem)
  • 01/02/2010 - Maintenance Treatment (weekly maintenance chemo - still ongoing at present)
  • 6-2-2011 - Rod placed in Right Femur
  • 7-15-2011 - Rod placed in Left Tibia
Why did you or your doctor choose a specific treatment?
  • Dr. Barlogie prescribed the most aggressive chemotherapy treatment and two autologous stem cell transplants because he felt that he needed to give me the most intense treatment possible since I am so young.  He said that because I was young he knew I could handle the aggressive treatment and that he needed to hit the cancer as hard as he could in the hope of affording me a long life.
What has been the side effects of the different treatments?
  •  The aggressive chemotherapy treatments have been the hardest thing I've had to endure. I was just so completley sick and week.  I'm so grateful for the fact that because of treatment, I've been in remission for two years, but I hope I never have to go through that process ever again.
What has been the hardest thing about your MM journey?
  •  The hardest thing about this MM journey is living in fear of it coming back.  Fear of dying young. 
What are the top lessons learned that you would want a newly diagnosed MM patient to know about?
  • The top lessons I've learned is that everyone who's diagnosed with MM is afraid, but we all have to learn to put the fear in the background and focus on our lives right now, this moment.  We have to go on every day and believe that we are going to win this battle against the cancer that has tried to take over our bodies.
How have you been able to stay positive and encouraged in your MM journey?
  • I met so many great people at UAMS in Little Rock, AR and they were great to me and my mom.  I was the youngest person being treated there and I was like everyone's grandson and they helped me to become strong. When I came back home to Fort Worth, my maintenance treamtent has been done at Cook's Children's Oncology and Hematology Department and while it breaks my heart to see all the young children with cancer, the staff at Cook's has been great! They sent me to a summer camp in Montana where I got to hang out with lots of teenagers with cancer. It's the first time I've gotten to spend time with anyone my age with cancer. I know I'm not alone.
After being diagnosed... What perspective was changed the most?
  • After being diagnosed, I've learned not to take anything for granted.  None of us know what tomorrow's going to bring.  We have to relish every minute.  We've got to make sure the people who mean the most to us know how much we love them.  Don't stress over the little things.
Did you or a parent work in a field with or were exposed to toxic chemicals prior to diagnosis?
  • No
What MM sites or blogs had you found good information from after diagnosis?
  • MMRF
  • Being Cancer Network
  • Multiple Myeloma for Dummies