BY GERRY S CAMPBELL My name is Gerry S Campbell and I live in Rochester New York. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 54 in 2005. I had so much pain in my right shoulder I could hardly move my arm. I really did not have any symptons before that. It took about two months to be diagnosid because they thought the pain might be caused by a rotator cuff injury! They did blood tests and bone skeleton surveys to confirm. It was shocking at first to learn I had cancer. My oncologist gave me five years to live as an average time for myeloma patients. I enrolled in a clinical trial to receive two back-to-back stem cell transplants (tandem transplant) using my own stem cells. Before this I needed four weeks of radiation treatments for my shoulder. I received chemo after that to prepare for the transplant. My body reacted badly after I got a perforated bowl from the chemo and had emergency surgery. I had my sct in October 2005. I remained in remission until 2010 when I had second transplant which went well. I relapsed in 2013 and was put on dexamethosone, cytoxsin and velcade. I am now on dexamethosome and pomalyst and doing well so far. My strategy for fighting myeloma is to follow doctor's orders, exercise and eat healthy! And don't be afraid to ask questions about your cancer. My side effects are mostly fatigue and irratibility from dexamethasone. My biggest and only caregiver is my wife Sharon. Without her, I might not be here today. Also, of course, the doctore, nurses and staff at Wilmont Cancer Center at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. I was working when first diagnosed until the end of 2008. I am not working now and enjoying my life. I play golf, go to the casino with my wife, and spend time with my grandson. I try to keep my life as normal as possible by walking my dog every day and keeping active. Keeping a positive attitude is very important. This is especially true for new myeloma patients. Live every day to the fullest. With good medical care and support I have survived 10 years now! With all the new drugs and treatment options, myeloma patients have so much hope for a long life. My goal is to see my grandson off to college in eight years!
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.