Our plans had changed once more.
Our two day return trip to Nairobi had been rearranged to allow for the MRI and follow up consultation before we were take the bus back to Mwanza on the Friday overnight. Now this too was going to have to change.
Changes were coming thick and fast. My wife and I were due back at work after the Easter weekend on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile my daughter had her first IGCSE exam on Tuesday too. We had little time.
One thing became certain very fast- Iwas going nowhere.
Doctors analysing my blood spotted that my kidney function was very distorted – they described it as being significantly ‘off’.
This is a common feature of Myeloma and the resultant build up of toxins was making me very ill.
Decisions were made to contact work and to rearrange transport yet again. My family would fly back to Mwanza on Monday. I would stay on for for further tests and diagnosis.
The question was where to stay. Our cheap hotel booking was for two nights but we needed an extra four / five nights.
Luckily there are people who know people. and friends in the Christian NGO/ Mission community in Mwanza knew of folk in Nairobi who could helped out.
The Kroppach family run a mission program in Nairobi and have a large house in Nairobi which has been used for conferences and as a guest house for visiting expats. They have additionally provided a solace and ministry to the families of many expats who find themselves stranded in Nairobi whilst their loved ones are working through its hospital system.
They not only provided shelter and company for my shell shocked family at very short notice but gave up a significant portion of Easter weekend to help us in dealing with the insurance company who were typically being difficult in regards to pay out and the lack of it!
This wait of our minds we could focus on trying to sort me out.
Much of my weekend was spent confined to a bed inthe Aga Kahn Hospital whilst samples of blood and urine were regularly taken. Copious amounts of water was needed to be drunk and I had a follow up CT (Computerised Tomography) scan of my upper body.
The CT scan was blessedly a lot shorter than the arduous MRI.
These tests revealed multiple lesions (holes in the bone) in my shoulders, upper arms, ribs, spine, pelvis and skull.
Further tests and procedures were also in the pipeline including a full body X-ray and plasma electrophoresis, a biopsy.
I was now officially told the news that I had multiple Myeloma. This disease was, it seemed, confined to my skeletal system where it has affected the blood plasma in my bone marrow which has turned malignant. The plasma which contains the white blood cells is designed to give immunity (by producing anti-bodies called immunoglobulins which fight infection, kill bacteria and viruses.
However in multiple myeloma these cells multiply uncontrollably and produce defective plasma cells which generate a defective protein (paraprotein) which attacks your body rather than defending it. This was both attacking my skeleton and damaging my kidneys.
It was all happening so fast – this was not something I have had for long – maybe 5 or 6 months.
Then the phrase no one wants to hear ever!
I had cancer!