Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Elephant in the Room

Before I go forward with the day to day trivia that makes up my life and, therefore, probably this blog, I feel like I should acknowledge the elephant in the room...

It's name is Multiple Myeloma (MM for short) and it is a cancer of the plasma in bone this case, my husband's bone marrow.  B was diagnosed with MM in the summer of 2010 (he had gone to the Dr. with a lump in the Fall of 2009, but was misdiagnosed as having a lypoma- a fatty deposit under the skin).  The myeloma had destroyed much of one rib, blown out the side of one of B's clavicles and put holes in his legs, arms, shoulders, sternum, ribs and skull (if you ask, he'll show you the dent in his head...right next to the scar from the skin cancer he was diagnosed with a few months later).  B has been on chemo most of the time since July.  He is on his 9th round out of ???  Myeloma is not generally considered curable, though there have been HUGE advances in treatment in the last 5 years or so.  Previously, B's prognosis would have been on the order of 39-49 months.  Now, for low risk patients (like B), they can sometimes get 10-20 years or more.  We're going for "or more."

B has been amazing through this whole thing.  His first actions, after diagnosis, were aimed at making sure D & I would be ok, no matter what happened.  His next (and continuing) course was to attack the MM with everything he has.  B beat the MM back to minuscule levels in short order- the Drs were amazed at the speed of his progress.  He is in what they call a "VGPR" (or Very Good Partial Response...I didn't know "Very Good" was a technical term).  The goal now- to get the MM down to undetectable levels (a "CR" or Complete Response), or to at least keep the MM down in the depths where it is. 

To get there (or stay here, as the case may be), it means maintenance chemo.  At this point, that's indefinitely.  Honestly, that one is hard for me to wrap my mind around.  B is very stoic (his Dr's favorite description of him) and doesn't complain, but it's a fact that he has painful side effects.  I keep hoping that there will be a time when B can take a break from all the meds, can get some relief from the side effects and can just 'be' for a little while, but I understand that he doesn't want to risk letting the MM regain ground.

So, we move forward, living life as "normally" as possible, enjoying each other and finding the fun whenever we can.  We (mostly B) deal with the MM when we must and try not to let it cast too much shade in our lives.  And, every day, crossing fingers for a cure.

1 comment:

  1. OH, Em. :hugs: I'm always praying for your little family. I don't have anything to say that will make it all better, but please know that I'm praying for you, B, D and the doctors that are treating him.

    I love you, cuz. :)