It has been 6.5 years since I was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 50. When I discovered that the then average life expectancy of a myeloma patient was 4.5 years, I was less than encouraged!
Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cell, where the cancer cells attack the body, in my case, the bones in my back. My journey since diagnosis has been at times frightening but also quite amazing. My myeloma lay misdiagnosed for some time while I dealt with mystery pain, broken bones, and extreme fatigue. I had never heard of myeloma when I was eventually diagnosed. When my wife and I knew what we were dealing with, we were quickly able to get me treatment, initially with chemotherapy. Once stable, I was lucky enough to get my back repaired through surgery, and a new lighter, somewhat shorter version of me underwent a stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, the stem cell transplant did not work, which was an important lesson in my myeloma journey. Everyone’s disease is different, and the need for multiple treatment options for patients is essential in treating myeloma. The next treatment I tried was a new immunotherapy treatment called Daratumumab (aka Dara), which has been nothing short of amazing. It has enabled me to be virtually cancer free for nearly 7 years and lead a relatively normal life. It has also meant I have been able to get back to doing the physical activities I love, like sailing and cycling.
This August, to celebrate my continued good fortune, I am participating in the MMRF Road to Victories Ride in Oregon. The ride will raise awareness for multiple myeloma and funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to further their work collaborating with patients, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. This collaboration has raised awareness of the disease and helped provide multiple treatment options, ensuring that myeloma is an increasingly treatable disease.
At Janssen, we’re creating a future where disease is a thing of the past. We’re the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, working tirelessly to make that future a reality for patients everywhere by fighting sickness with science, improving access with ingenuity, and healing hopelessness with heart. We focus on areas of medicine where we can make the biggest difference: Cardiovascular, Metabolism & Retina; Immunology; Infectious Diseases & Vaccines; Neuroscience; Oncology; and Pulmonary Hypertension.About Janssen Oncology