Myeloma Mondays #37: JoAnne from Moore, TX

***To add your story to Myeloma Mondays copy and paste this questionnaire (click here) and send it in an email to phil at cancerkicker dot org. I would love to share your story!

Where were you born and raised?I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas Where do you currently live?
My family and I live in Moore, Tx
When were you diagnosed and how old were you?I was diagnosed July/03 about to turn 35Did you know what MM was prior to diagnosis?
No
Is there anyone else your in family with MM?
NoWhat led to your diagnosis? I was what felt like a crick in my neck. I went to a chiropractor to have it manipulated. He wanted to run x-rays before he did. To our suprise he took the x-rays and said he could not do it. He had me wait and sent me to get a catscan and MRI. I was so scared. He said he didnt want to scare me but that it was important for me to get this done immediately. Before I left his office they called from the Imaging place stating for me to be there first thing in the morning. As i left he told me to be very careful and to avoid any bumps. I cried all the way home. I went to my appt the next day. The doctor that types up the report came up to me and said I need you to go to the ER as soon as you get out of here. I did. Crying. I saw a neurosurgeon and said I had to have my C4 spine removed. I was lucky it hadnt collapsed cause there was no bone left. 3 days later I was in surgery. The biopsy came back that it was cancer(MM) . The c4 spine was removed and replaced with bone from my hip and fused to the c3 and c5.How many times were you referred before actually being diagnosed?
Once
Where have you received treatment?
2003-Cancer Treatment Center(CTRC)-San Antonio, Texas 2009-Methodist Transplant Hospital-San Antonio, Tx
Explain your treatment history (bulleted list)
8/03: Radiation12/08:Radiation01/09:Chemo02/09: did a study to multiply my own stemcells, stem cell transplant 2/27/09. Have been on Revlimid for 4 months now.Why did you or your doctor choose a specific treatment ?
I was told I was a good Candidate for the stemcell transplant due to me blood work and test coming back positive with the Revlimid.
What has been the side effects of the different treatments?
I have been very fortunate not to have any side effects from my meds.
What has been the hardest thing about your MM journey?
The hardest thing about my journey is that it is not my own. It has affected my family and my children. Its pretty sad when my 3 year old knows when I am having a bad day and she comes and rubs on my legs when I am having those excrutiating leg cramps or I am feeling under the weather. The cancer in my spine has damaged my nerves in my legs and their is nothing i can take to eleviate the pain., also the forgetfulness and taking all the meds i have to take everyday. There are days where I just want to throw them all the way, but if I want to live those pills are a must, so when you feel like you just cant or dont want to, look around you cause its for my family and myself that I keep fighting.What are the top lessons learned that you would want a newly diagnosed MM patient to know about?
Do not be afraid to ask questions. Write them down because when you get into the Dr.’s office your brain tends to run a mile a minute.
How have you been able to stay positive and encouraged in your MM journey?
I have managed to stay positive through my family. I have a great husband and wonderful children who have helped me. My daughters are still very young and I am fighting this darn disease cause they need me as much as I need them. Its also through the grace of God that I am still here. After being diagnosed… What perspective was changed the most?
That life is short and enjoy every minute of it cause every minute you waste worrying and empowering this darn disease is time lost.
Did you or a parent work in a field with or were exposed to toxic chemicals prior to diagnosis?
No
What MM sites or blogs had you found good information from after diagnosis?
Multiple Myeloma Research FoundationLeukemia & Lymphoma Society