Some have commented on the strange name for this blog. So here is a brief personal explanation which will no doubt change as I get my head around what this complex disease is. Information gleaned from a helpful book I’ve been given by the hospital. Note the comments below are not a medically rigorous explanation and should not be taken as such.
Multiple Myeloma is a form of cancer. A cancer of the blood plasma.
Like all cancer Myeloma is caused when the DNA in the cells is damaged and the cells multiply uncontrollably.
Unlike most other cancers Myeloma does not form lumps of tumours.
Myeloma is found in the bone marrow located in the spine, pelvis, ribs.
The bone marrow is the spongy material inside the bone which contains stem cells – these cells develop and multiply to form
- blood cells
- plasma cells
which together form the blood.
In ‘normal’ people the job of the plasma cells is to help fight infections, kill viruses and bacteria and build up immunity. They do a vital job in keeping us healthy producing immunoglobins (anti-bodies)
In myeloma the plasma cells are malformed and produce incorrect proteins (paraproteins). These do the opposite and start to attack the body.
As they spread and grow Myeloma cells disrupt the production of normal blood cells and affect multiple parts of the body
- rib cage
They do not usually affect the
- lower arm
- lower leg
The effects of Multiple Myeloma
Not all of these will affect me – some will and some won’t
- Bone pain / fracture
- this is the main effect for me at this stage and the reason for the title of this blog – my bones are being destroyed by the myeloma as it eats away at the bone surrounding the marrow.
- In recent months I have noticed a significant drop in energy levels and a lot of tiredness – uncharacteristically so for me
- Frequent and recurrent infections
- I have had a string of tummy bugs, colds, and general sickness for well over 6 months – again something which is new for me.
- Unaware of this issue
- Kidney Damage
- Definitely an issue at the moment and the reason I am in hospital – my kidney function is very distorted and it has been making me ill for months. A bitter metallic taste in my mouth and a complete loss of apatite over recent months. Favourite foods discarded and a struggle to eat anything substantial beyond fruits. A noxious smell in my nose at times and ongoing nausea which has afflicted me for a couple of months. I have discovered in this that I only have one kidney – not two! My kidney is slowly recovering under treatment.
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- No sign of this affliction
This blog is about the fight to bring the disease under control and as such Battle the Bone Breaker (a little less harsh then ‘Kidney Killer’ and also much more about my fight than accepting defeat).