My autologous stem cell transplant for myeloma in December 2001 took me into the plateau stage. I was free of bone pain, life had virtually returned to normal,
The plateau “golden years” continued until September 2006 when I suffered a pathological fracture of my left mid shaft humerus. It sneaked up on me, came from nowhere. At that time my test results showed no indication of myeloma, all was normal, I was feeling good.
In January 2007 I commenced maintenance treatment of Thalidomide, 50mg/day.
All remained normal until December 2007 when my IgG and paraprotein started to increase. Until then because of the normal test results I could not accept that myeloma had returned. Perhaps I was in denial. I wanted the plateau dream to continue.
Faced with the facts of these increased results my denial was over. It was time to face the truth; plateau 1 had come to an end, relapse 1 had commenced.
I developed a lytic lesion in the surgical neck of the left humerus. That was treated with radiation.
Peripheral neuropathy from Thalidomide was becoming an increasing problem.
A lytic lesion developed in the mid shaft right humerus and shoulder. That also was treated with radiation.
Bone pain was increasing, IgG and paraprotein was increasing, myeloma had well and truly returned.
It was decision time, 3 options were considered.
1. Increase Thalidomide with a corresponding increase in peripheral neuropathy.
2. Add or change to cyclophosphomide and dexamethasone.
3. A second ASCT using the remaining stem cells collected in 2001.
In New Zealand we have a free public health system. Velcade and Revlimid are not available from Pharmac the treatment managing agency so were not considered.
In August 2008 I was given autologous stem cell transplant 2 which put me into plateau 2.
Plateau stage: A stable stage of my disease following a good response to anti cancer treatment.