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If you can call someone who gets a rare form of cancer lucky, then Deb Graff says she fits the bill.

At age 72, Graff has survived nine years with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer whose life expectancy used to be measured in months.

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  • I am 14 years in remission from Multiple Myeloma. I was received treatment through City of Hope in Durate California. My treatment included two stem cells transplant, one with Chemotherapy the other with Tomotherapy. There are medications available to help patients, also that were just getting approved at the time of my treatment. I was diagnosed April 2004, after a bone marrow aspiration. My last treatment was July 2005.

    There is hope. I write this to my fellow MM sisters and brothers.
    Carol Ramnarine

  • My husband could not get a diagnosis of anything other than anemia for many months. He turned 72 in Feb. 2018. He thought removal of his wisdom teeth would somehow help the ill feeling he had had for some months. Instead he ended up in the ER because of complications! There they told us he had Multiple myeloma! We had no idea what it was and why he had it? They thought we were lying! I said blood doctor only recommended Vit B12 shots iron pills. Just anemia we were told. He had a very aggressive MM scenario. He received treatment for his infections(many)from wisdom teeth removal so he was sort of in and out of it. I felt the doctors were more worried about Medicare dollars going to a patient who was “elderly” and had a terminal illness. He was given steroids which perked him up but we were constantly bombarded with take him home for hospice care as he is terminal and he will die anyway whether we treat him or not. One doctor recommended one shot of a MM chemo drug but my husband was so discouraged with the constant negativity he said just take me home to die. It was like he had PTSD. I felt the hospital was trying not to get in trouble with Medicare. It was so surreal. Why he was not diagnosed earlier? Was it that it is rare yet his doctor said it was one of the diseases she was very familiar with in her medical bio! I feel that if he was diagnosed earlier he would not have gone and gotten dental work that pushed his MM! But you can’t treat something if you don’t know you have it and that you are one of the unlucky ones that has a very aggressive form. I would like to know just how long my husband even had MM! He did have some testing a few years ago but all was well or so we were told! He died at home weeks after official ER diagnosis. WHY no diagnosis!!?? He fit the MM profile to a T.

  • When I learned I had MM in January of 2003, I asked my doctor, “Am I going to get old?” His reply was, “I think so. But it ain’t gonna be easy.”
    He was right, but I’m still here. Thanks for this article, STAT.

  • Great article-how wonderful for her! I was diagnosed with MM in 2010. Had a Stem Cell Transplant and as of the end of 2017, had been in remission with Revlimed as my maintenance therapy. Then in Jan. 2018, lifted a small bag and the result was a lesion break in my upper left blood tests never showed me out of remission so had surgery on the arm (2 steel plates/screws) implanted and still have not had complete recovery. I am currently doing Velcade/Dexa/Revlimed and being scheduled for another stem cell. Am doing good with very little side effects, so life is good for me. (Thankful an internist diagnosed me in 2010 and didn’t let me go without further testing!)

    • So happy for you. My youngest brother was diagnosed with large b cell lymphoma in 2009. Six Rounds of r-chop. Relapsed 6 months later necessitating an auto stem cell transplant at Stanford. So far so good. Another brother had head and neck cancer 24 years ago. Still alive. I have an artificial heart valve good for 40 years. Implanted 2009. 40 years ago both my brothers would be dead. The valves at that time were only good for 10-12 years and you did not get another. I would almost be gone. I am also an RN still working a bit at 68 and tell patients about the wonderful advances in medicine. Yes, it is expensive and I do not have an answer for that. Just glad we have options. Thank you doctors, big pharma, researchers, bio engineers etc. We are alive and well because of you.

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