Theresa's Story

I was in the school for nursing. About three months before I graduated I went to the doctor thinking I had a sinus infection. My head was so stuffy and I had a lot of pressure in my head; I was prescribed a lot of medicines but nothing cleared it up. Then I developed a large lump on my left eyebrow and my eye was swollen and droopy and another lump on my left jaw appeared so they ordered a CT and when the x-ray tech told me to wait as he had to show them to the doctor I knew something was up, but they sent me on my way telling me to make a doctor appointment in a few days.

They had found multiple lesions and a biopsy of my tumour confirmed my diagnosis of myeloma IgD on September 9th, 2008, the day before I had to write my 8 hour National Nursing exam. I am happy to say I passed the exam and I am officially a nurse, a goal I have worked for and dreamed of for many years. Though I have not been able to work due to treatment, immune system and multiple bone lesions, I try very hard to be happy with the fact that I had a dream and achieved it.

I started treatment with dexamethasone for three months with my counts going to zero before the transplant and then I had my stem cell transplant (Autologous) on January 21st, 2009 - it all went very well. I was very sick with vomiting for a few months after the Melphalan and nothing controlled it. I lost about 40 lbs, but no worries I have successfully gained it back and then some. How ironic, now off to Weight Watchers I go, as the weight is hard on my bones.

My blood has been clear since the transplant. I haven't had another bone marrow biopsy and my doctor says if they can't find it in the blood then there is no need thank goodness! I get Pamidronate once a month intravenously to help strengthen my bones because the MM really did a number on them and I have a lot of lesions throughout my body. I get a monthly blood test (CBC and Protein Electrophoresis).

I also forgot to mention the chemo put me into menopause at 40, "that's quite a treat." I am still unable to work due to poor immunity and the possibility of acquired hospital infections. Also I still get extremely fatigued and have to be careful of fractures due to fragile bones.

I have three children ages 20, 16, and 14 years and a two year old beautiful granddaughter. They are awesome and it's been hard on them, but we are all working through it together as a family. I also have my husband of 24 years; he is my rock and my soul mate I am very Blessed and I am still here.

Theresa MacNutt

Note: Theresa's myeloma IgD is a rare form and her initial symptoms were different than those often associated with the more common IgG myeloma.