My name is Mehmet Akyol. I am a myeloma survivor living in Izmir, Turkey, the country’s third largest city. I am divorced and have a 12-year old son. My ex-wife and I still live together for our son’s sake and we manage to make this arrangement work well for all three of us. For work, I am an IT professional and computer engineer. Before diagnosis, I worked at a multinational IT company as a project manager for 20 years. Now I have my own IT business and I also have a coffee shop and bakery in Kharkov, Ukraine. I made that investment because of my interest in the coffee business.
I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma just before a work trip to the Ukraine. People ask me if I still work and the answer is “no” and “yes.” No, because I do not have enough energy to work until late hours and I don’t prefer to travel because of infection risk. Yes, because I try to work at home online. Now I am working on opening an internet shopping site and sometimes I update my blog (lifeblog.com).
Before getting diagnosed with multiple myeloma, I had no symptoms but I had some suspicions. For about six months, I was thinking that I was getting tired too quickly than before. I scheduled a check up in April. During that check up, a cardiologist suspected anemia, and then detailed examinations were done because of anemia. A hematologist diagnosed myeloma by doing a bone marrow aspiration. All combined, it took only five days for a final diagnosis. I also got a second diagnosis from another hospital by getting another bone marrow aspiration and DNA and biopsy analysis as well. On April 14, 2016, the day of diagnosis, I had no idea what multiple myeloma was! My reaction was very simple: I just asked the doctor when I would die. He replied, “What is wrong with you?” There are many drugs and treatments so who is to say when any of us will die.
As for treatment, I first received four units of blood for my anemia. After that, the hematologist provided detailed information about myeloma and treatment options and he explained about chemotherapy protocols. Then I got my first chemo treatment on April 15. That was a very fast decision and action for me but it was necessary. I am preparing for a stem cell transplant. At the time of diagnosis, my bone marrow was 90-percent full of plasma cells. My hematologist is thinking about doing a tandem stem cell transplant six months apart. As a part of my treatment schedule, in August 2016, I will get my first stem cell transplant.
Although I am still in the middle of first-line treatment, I do not feel bad. I am more tired, I guess as a side-effect of drugs (chemo toxicity). As the doctor mentioned, it works and I also feel that it works! The drugs I am getting include these injections and IV : Endoxan (bi weekly) , Dexamethasone, Velcade, Zolenat (once a month) and Neupogen (if necessary when white blood cells drop down).
Being a myeloma patient is very new for me. With this diagnosis, chemo has started. I feel myself very tired (exhausted) two days per week. So, on those days, I don’t want to do anything. I just rest and read. And of course the high risk of infection is now putting many limits on my life. Mostly I am at home but this works well for me. I like reading, watching my serial TV programs, and doing my home business. I had no time before diagnosis– I was working like crazy. So myeloma gave me a chance to listen to myself. Now I am focusing on a happy and healthy future, peaceful and slow life. Also, it is good that I have more time for my son nowadays. I also spend time on my hobbies of photographer and studying the Russian language.
Even though I am new to this, my advice to other patients is to stay positive! Everything that we can control is in the human mind. We create all and dispel all. Love yourself, love life, and believe that you can achieve everything if you really want. This is my life philosophy. I am also focusing on alternative healing methods. Louise Hay writes books that are a great support for this.
Editor’s note: Louise Hay is an author who has penned several books about alternative healing (available on Amazon), including:
(Please note that Myeloma Crowd does not endorse treatments or philosophies.)