|In June 2008, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (MM), currently an incurable cancer of the bone marrow. My symptoms’ were vague; increasing fatigue, progressing to shortness of breath. A bone marrow biopsy revealed that 50% of my bone marrow was crowded with myeloma (cancer) cells. I was diagnosed on a Friday, severely anemic, in kidney failure. On Monday I began chemotherapy and received 3 units of blood. I received 10 months of chemotherapy @ Saint Vincent’s Cancer Center (SVCC), which has a Multiple Myeloma Division and a world-renowned specialist. I achieved almost a complete remission from the chemo, and the best chance of long-term survival was an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. (my own stem cells).|
This summer I underwent a Stem Cell Transplant @ at Memorial-Sloane Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Currently there are less than 8% myeloma cells in my bone marrow. This was considered a very good response, but the cancer is not gone. I’m already on oral chemotherapy to keep the cancer from proliferating. There are currently 5 FDA approved drugs for the treatment of MM. I have already been on all 5 and eventually each one stopped working.
We desperately need more funding for alternative therapies. Just a few years ago, Kathy Guisti, a Harvard graduate about my age, was also diagnosed with this disease, founded the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). She has changed the process to bring together academia and pharmaceutical companies to quickly get new drugs for this disease into clinical trials and ultimately FDA approved drugs that work.
A cure is in sight. Her life , my life, and the lives of all those who have and will develop MM depend on it. I am asking you all to help support me and the MMRF, in a search for a cure. This is personal. My life depends on it.