Patient Comments: Multiple Myeloma - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your multiple myeloma?

Comment from: Rough Ride, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 13

I had severe lower back strains three separate times. I thought it was due to my workouts and getting older. A few months later I was feeling very badly and soon after was hit with the most extreme pain I've ever felt. At first I thought it was a kidney stone but the next day pain moved from my side to center back area. The pain was so intense my family had to slowly lift me off of bed. After a couple weeks, I finally went to doctor. (Don't be stubborn like me!) X-rays were negative. Two more weeks of misery and doctor scheduled an MRI and that's when they found multiple myeloma (MM) stage III cancer. Fractured vertebra, fractured a total of four, and lost two inches in height so far. I had radiation for nine weeks to remove multiple tumors in my back. An extremely long and painful journey I believe very few would be able to withstand. I have now gone through stem cell transplant and now on maintenance Velcade chemotherapy. I'm lucky to be alive but I will be disabled for the rest of my life from a much damaged spine. Family and good doctors (Veterans Affairs doctors) got me through it. Note, a blood test from treatments for pre-diabetes about six months prior, did show an elevated protein level. (A sign of this type of cancer.) MM is not an easy cancer to spot and if caught late like in my case, a very nasty cancer it is!

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Comment from: Emily, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

Summer 2010, my symptoms of multiple myeloma were, 'electric charges' shooting down both legs when reclining and weird lower back pain upon sitting. Most of the summer, I could not sit down. I worked full/overtime, doing everything standing up. I did not feel fatigued. All of my blood work was normal. I did not have a urine test, however. I visited my physician's assistant several times and got medications for back pain and muscle relaxers. She finally did do an MRI of lower back in October, which was misread as normal by the radiologist. Being a healthy person, I insisted on seeing a back specialist, took my MRI with me and he insisted I have MRI of full spine (because he felt the MRI was suspicious), which revealed a tumor had totally eroded my T-9 (upper back) vertebra and was pressing on my spinal cord, causing all of my symptoms. Honestly, I thought I was going nuts. Later on, total body x-rays revealed every bone in my body was 'moth-eaten' by tumors. It is now summer 2014. I've had radiation 26 times, chemotherapy (Velcade, dexamethasone, Revlimid), for three months, stem cell transplant in 2011 (with melphalan), and treatment with Zometa to rebuild bones (and they look good now). I am currently on maintenance Revlimid and doing well.

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Comment from: Jcbajones, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 21

Mom was having pain in her side and weakness in November 2013. She developed an upper respiratory infection in December and went to her doctor. After performing routine tests he decided she needed to see a heart specialist and he scheduled her an appointment for January 2, 2014. On January 1st she started having chest pain. I took her to hospital where it was determined she was having a heart attack. They stabilized her and started performing tests. It was determined she had RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and multiple tumors in her abdominal area. She was transported to a hospital in Atlanta where it was determined she had advanced multiple myeloma. She passed away on January 21, 2014 after a very painful journey that included having to undergo a tracheotomy and just 20 days after being admitted to the hospital.

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Comment from: Worried mom, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 13

My daughter had just turned 28 and discovered she was 4 months pregnant with her 2nd child. She had one cold after another and her breathing and coughing were getting worse. She finally went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with pneumonia and severe anemia. She needed 8 units of blood. A bone marrow biopsy the following day revealed stage 3 multiple myeloma (MM). She continued the pregnancy on dexamethasone and delivered prematurely at 33 weeks. She is getting ready to start high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplant.

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Multiple Myeloma - Prognosis Question: What is the prognosis for your multiple myeloma?
Multiple Myeloma - Diagnosis Question: Describe the tests and exams that led to a diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
Multiple Myeloma - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment have you, a friend, or loved one received for multiple myeloma?
Multiple Myeloma - Follow-up care Question: What type of follow-up care do you or a relative receive for multiple myeloma?

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