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Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Multiple Myeloma, Symptoms

Multiple Myeloma is a condition when Plasma cells in the blood start misbehaving. These cells form antibodies , which fight infections. When these plasma cells undergo mutation in the DNA, they develop into antibodies which do not perform their job well and on top of that they do not die. They are supposed to die after doing their job well. This is called apoptosis. Every cell in the body dies after doing its job. When they don”t die and start accumulating in the blood  and inside the Bone marrow the condition is called Multiple Myeloma.

  • Low immunity
  • Anemia
  • Back pain
  • Pain in the feet and legs in general
  • Pain in the lower ribs and also just below the lowest part of the ribs on either side of the body
  • Feeling weak and lethargic
  • Always feeling sleepy or wanting to rest . Waking up early is difficult.
  • Suffering from frequent infections in the throat, stomach etc

These are the usual symptoms and were my symptoms as well , before I was detected with MM.

I always felt very weak. I would find it very difficult to wake up and get out of bed. I always wanted to sleep. I kept dragging myself to work . I was unable to stand for more than 10 minutes while I cooked. My feet would begin to ache and I had to sit down every 10 mins. I met several physicians in the last few decades. I also went for a complete health check up too. All of them recommended Iron supplements for my perennially low Hb count. I always took the course and felt good for a while and soon my symptoms were back. The cycle would repeat.

I frequently suffered from throat infections since I was a child and had to pop in a lot of antibiotics too. I also suffered from bronchitis as I am allergic to dust. This too could be due to low immunity. I kept telling my doctors that I frequently fall ill but none of them suggested any further investigations.

Many times I would be told to get a chest X-ray done as they suspected TB, but the result was always -ve.

I had also met an Ayurvedic doctor who checked my pulse . It is called ‘Nadi pariksha’. He prescribed a lot of medications too and said I was highly stressed and that I should do pranayama and meditate regularly.

My actual problem went undetected for decades.

I suffered a lot when I had my periods. They would always arrive early. Severe cramps ensured that I take a pain killer and was unable to go to work. I hated myself for being a girl :((

One day in 2011 , I slipped on the stairs and had an L5 compression fracture in my spine. My bones had become very weak. A normal healthy individual would not have been affected by that kind of a fall. Don’t know how and why the Orthopedic doctor did not suspect that something else could be wrong. He could have at least told me to get a test for calcium and Vitamin D done. I was told to use a cross shaped device for 3 months to heal my fracture.

Just after I recovered from my fracture , I collapsed and fell sick . I suffered from viral fever, throat and stomach infection simultaneously , started experiencing chills with fever in the evenings. A physician who had a clinic where we lived suggested I get blood transfusion as my Hb was 6 . We then decided to go to Apollo and get a second opinion. The Physician there suspected MM after a few preliminary tests.

A few tests like LFT, RFT and CBP can help in pointing towards MM.

A high ESR because of inflammation in the body. CBC Report gives the ESR value.

A high Serum Creatinine in RFT report.

Serum Globulin in LFT would also be beyond the limit.

Hb would also be low as per CBC report.

These are some of the parameters that can give away MM to a discerning physician.

Further tests including Bome marrow tests Electrophoresis will be done to confirm.

Thanks to Allopathy and Alternative treatments for giving me a second chance. I am actually living a healthier , productive and happier life after my Stem Cell Transplant followed by Ayurvedic treatment and proper diet.

So glad I got a second chance to tread this beautiful planet.

You too can !!

Have faith in the treatments and in yourself.

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Anemia, Hb and Ferritin levels

Post my Autologous Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Myeloma in 2012, i had been continuously taking iron supplements in the form of a tonic.

I would have consumed several gallons of the dark liquid in the last 3 and half years. In spite of this my Hb count never increased beyond 10.5 during all these years.

All the while i was suspecting that the culprits are the chemo drugs that i was taking , namely Thalix 100mg and Lenalidomide 5mg. That these drugs are killing my Red Blood Cells along with other cells. I was simply glad that the count was not too bad after all and didn’t bother too much about it. However  I did express my concern to my oncologist a couple of times  and he said i can continue with the iron supplement and also suggested i should take CRESP injections. One injection every two weeks.

My energy levels haven’t been good in the last few months and dropped to 10.2 . A few days ago i mentioned the same to my ayurvedic doctor too and he advised me to get ‘Iron studies’ done. When i asked him if it is the same as a test for Hb , he said that the test is about ‘iron binding capacity’ and ‘Ferritin levels’ .

I went for the test a few days ago.It is a blood test.

The results showed that my Ferritin levels are above the normal range. It is around 266 ng/mL . Whereas the normal range is between 12-150 ng/mL for females. A value greater than 1,000 ng/mL is dangerous.

I scanned the report and mailed it to my ayurvedic doctor.

When i spoke to him he said that my  low Hb levels are due to the chronic inflammation in my body . He said he would send me another set of ayurvedic  medications which will reduce my inflammation and then my Hb levels would automatically improve. I am continuing to take Curcumin and am currently at 3 gms per day.

I am yet to receive the new medication.

Meanwhile i did a little research on the net regarding ‘Ferritin’ and learnt that the level indicates the quantum of ‘iron stores’ in the body. My result indicates a large amount of iron reserves in my body which is not getting absorbed and not getting converted into red blood cells.

Higher levels of iron stores are not good for the body and can lead to other complications like liver/heart failure. I have now stopped taking iron supplements as per my ayurvedic doctors advise.

It is not advisable to take iron supplements in excess. Check your Ferritin levels too and determine the actual reason for your consistently low Hb levels.