Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a plasma cell. Plasma cells help you fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications.
It's not clear what causes myeloma; however, doctors know that it begins with one abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow. The abnormal cell multiplies rapidly.
Because cancer cells don't mature and then die as normal cells do, they accumulate, eventually overwhelming the production of healthy cells. In the bone marrow, myeloma cells crowd out healthy white blood cells and red blood cells, leading to fatigue and an inability to fight infections.
The myeloma cells continue trying to produce antibodies, as healthy plasma cells do, but the myeloma cells produce abnormal antibodies that the body can't use. The abnormal antibodies build up in the body and cause problems such as damage to the kidneys. Cancer cells can also cause damage to the bones that increases the risk of broken bones.
Signs and symptoms can include:
bone pain, especially in your spine or chest,
loss of appetite,
mental fogginess or confusion,
weakness or numbness in your legs,
Factors that may increase your risk of multiple myeloma include:
Increasing age: Your risk of multiple myeloma increases as you age, with most people diagnosed are in their mid-60s.
Male sex. Men are more likely to develop the disease than are women.
Black race. Black people are about twice as likely to develop multiple myeloma as are white people.
Family history of multiple myeloma. If a brother, sister or parent has multiple myeloma, you have an increased risk of the disease.
Complications of multiple myeloma include:
Frequent infections. Myeloma cells inhibit your body's ability to fight infections.
Bone problems. Multiple myeloma can also affect your bones, leading to bone pain, thinning bones and broken bones.
Reduced kidney function. Multiple myeloma may cause problems with kidney function, including kidney failure. Higher calcium levels in the blood related to eroding bones can interfere with your kidneys' ability to filter your blood's waste. The proteins produced by the myeloma cells can cause similar problems.
Low red blood cell count (anemia). As myeloma cells crowd out normal blood cells, multiple myeloma can also cause anemia and other blood problems.
There are three stages: Stage I indicates a less aggressive disease, and stage III indicates an aggressive disease that may affect bone, kidneys and other organs.
Here is a sample image of someone's bones who has multiple myeloma. All the black spots are holes in the bones.
Standard treatment options include:
Targeted therapy. Targeted drug treatment focuses on specific abnormalities within cancer cells that allow them to survive. Bortezomib (Velcade), carfilzomib (Kyprolis) and ixazomib (Ninlaro) are targeted drugs that block the action of a substance in myeloma cells that breaks down proteins. This action causes myeloma cells to die. Targeted-therapy drugs may be administered through a vein in your arm or in pill form.
Biological therapy. Biological therapy drugs use your body's immune system to fight myeloma cells. The drugs thalidomide (Thalomid), lenalidomide (Revlimid) and pomalidomide (Pomalyst) enhance the immune system cells that identify and attack cancer cells. These medications are commonly taken in pill form.
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs kill fast-growing cells, including myeloma cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be given through a vein in your arm or taken in pill form. High doses of chemotherapy drugs are used before a bone marrow transplant.
Corticosteroids. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone and dexamethasone, regulate the immune system to control inflammation in the body. They are also active against myeloma cells. Corticosteroids can be taken in pill form or administered through a vein in your arm.
Bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, is a procedure to replace your diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.
Radiation therapy. This treatment uses beams of energy, such as X-rays and protons, to damage myeloma cells and stop their growth. Radiation therapy may be used to quickly shrink myeloma cells in a specific area — for instance, when a collection of abnormal plasma cells form a tumor (plasmacytoma) that's causing pain or destroying a bone.
The average life expectancy for Stage III multiple myeloma is 29 months.
My mom has Stage III multiple myeloma, diagnosed 24 months ago...
Borrowed heavily from Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-myeloma/symptoms-causes/syc-20353378
As a preface, I was born and raised a Catholic, but I have not been a practicing Catholic for many years. There are many doctrines of this faith I don't believe in, but that isn't what this post is about.
On Sunday, I was working one of my many jobs. It was business as usual. The work was the same, the coworkers were the same, etc. Go home that evening thinking that I would be doing this all again tomorrow. Get to work the next day only to find out that a coworker (JC) passed away the night before. Makes you sit think about how quickly life changes. Here I was working with this guy a mere 24 hours ago and now he is gone. There is a memorial that was set up in the store that everyone can see when you walk in. I was able to look at that memorial and hold my emotions in check until they added his picture. That made it more real that he was gone instead of just not scheduled to work.
Thursday night was the wake. I knew this would be tough for me when I finally see his body. However, that wasn't the tough part. The tough part was when the prayer service started. All the rituals from my upbringing came back to me. I had this "awakening" that I realized I missed, or maybe needed, these rituals. I cried through the service, but felt more at peace with myself when it was over.
In a way I was dreading the next day when the funeral service would be. That is when all my other coworkers would find out I am Catholic. It's not something I'm ashamed of, but not something that is often discussed in small southern towns.
So there I was Friday morning, in the middle of a group of people from my work. The conflicting emotions were traveling through me. I felt awkward amongst the coworkers who didn't know the rituals, but yet, I was able to feel the healing powers of the prayers and rituals. I considered finding a church to go to. To do something I felt wasn't needed if I believed in One God.
I wanted to discuss these feelings with a friend who has a closer relationship to God than I. When I mentioned this week briefly to him, his response was "death is hard .... especially when you believe in a false doctrine."
What happened to "love thy neighbor"? Why do some feel as if there is only one religion and those that follow a different religion are heathens? Doesn't that go against all that is taught in one's religion? Why can't we unite as believers in One God no matter what religion we believe in?
"Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only said the word and I shall be healed."
I am of the female gender classification.
I was born and raised in WI.
I am a middle child from a family of 8 kids.
I grew up on a dairy farm. We had lots of cows, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs.
I left home when I was 14.... no I didn't join the circus.
At the tender age of 12 I went deer hunting with a rifle and got a 6 point buck.
I was a turboprop engine mechanic while in the Air Force.
While in the air force I shot "marksman" on my M16 qualifications.
I enjoy target practice with pistols, rifles and bow and arrows.
I enjoy cross country skiing.
I own 4 golden retrievers, but only 3 live with me. Down to one now.
I have a cat now named Mercedes.
I have two children that will be the death of me, yet.
My website for Golden Retrievers. k9gold.net The site is currently down, we won't go into why here. I am remotivated to work on my site again so I hope to create something again. Site is permanently down.
I'm old enough to have two grown children and a grandson. Boy do I feel old. *sigh*
I currently have three jobs - Office manager for a consulting firm, a bookkeeper for a medical society, and a sales associate in the electronics department of a major retail store.
I own a XBox 360 with a gamer tag of ZJJr. I play R6: Vegas, GRAW, GRAW2, Sonic, Guitar Hero and want to get DiRT soon.
I'm buying a slightly used (1 year old) computer so I don't have to share with my son.
I have people reading my boring blog!
I'm not a habitual blogger.
I have season tickets to the Biltmore House.
I love Schwan's ice cream.
More little know facts to follow.
You have just entered the boring zone. Nothing ever interesting happens to me. However, I may just brag about my dogs or family every now and again. If you send me a PM asking me a question, don't be surprised if I answer it here. Of course, your identity would be kept most confidential.