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Kindle Version of My Bout with Multiple Myeloma:    $6.99

 

Paperback Version of My Bout with Multiple Myeloma:     $24.95 less 20% Discount = $19.96

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My Bout with Multiple Myeloma, by Dennis R. Dinger, 2010.

     This book chronicles Dennis' bout with Multiple Myeloma which was diagnosed during the summer of 2008.  It was written to be a helpful guide for others who are diagnosed with the same blood plasma cancer, and for their families and friends who will be called upon to support them through their own battle with this cancer.  

     Every procedure to which Dennis was subject was totally new to him.  The medical staff was familiar with all the terms and procedures, but as a non-medically trained person, it was all new to Dennis.  The doctor was in a hurry to arrange for a PICC line to be inserted (installed?) in his arm.  What is a PICC line?  Turns out, it is a port that provides easy access for the chemotherapy staff to the patient's blood vessels without having to insert a new IV every day of chemotherapy.  What is a central venous catheter?  How are each of these used?  How is it inserted?  How do they sample bone marrow?  What are the details of that procedure?  Etc. 

     If you want to know what kinds of procedures are used in the treatment of this and other cancers, Dennis chronicles all of his treatments in this book.  He provides details of the procedures, practical pointers, and suggestions.  Family and friends who are not subject to these procedures can also learn about them from Dennis' experiences.  Having had a central venous catheter inserted in his neck, and removed, Dennis knows now that there is nothing to fear.  But at the time, he was quite anxious going into the chemo unit that morning to have one installed prior to collection of his stem cells.  His family and friends, however, would not have known the details of these procedures had he not explained it to them. Only one or two of them actually saw him the evening he went back to the hotel with this catheter in his neck -- and even then, it was covered with a gauze bandage so it was not easy to see.   

     It would have been nice to know in advance what was coming.  Dennis didn't.  But none of this has to remain secret.  Find out through his experiences and explanations what is coming.  Lots of other procedures can be used -- many to which Dennis was not subject -- but the ones he experienced are described in this book.

     Suggestions and hints are also included.  Many of these Dennis learned the hard way -- from first-hand experience -- without forethought or planning..  How does one keep the bazillions of medications organized?  Why does each patient need a "detail person"?  What kinds of details must that person know?  What about the bathtub or shower stall?  What kind of shower head is best?  What should you do when friends want to help?  Where are convenient and comfortable locations (besides the bed in the bedroom) in the house to sleep?  What is the most comfortable way to sleep in an upright position?   When do you need a care giver?  Who can fill that role?  How long must you stay away from home when receiving chemotherapy treatments?  Etc.  Lots of suggestions are included.  Dennis included everything he thought would have been helpful -- that he wished he had known ahead of time.  You can benefit from his experience.    

     Dennis began his story about a year prior to his diagnosis when he began to have pains for which he could not account.  Most of those pains centered about his rib cage, sternum, and lower back.  After self-diagnosing and self-treating for about nine months, Dennis finally visited his family doctor.  It took several visits and lots of blood work before the doctor concluded that the problem was a blood cancer known as Multiple Myeloma.

    The first visit to the oncologist occurred the same morning the family doctor suggested it was cancer.  The oncologist told Dennis on that first visit, "I'm 97% sure you have a cancer called Multiple Myeloma."  The specialist was convinced --- he left the 3% uncertainty for the lab tests to prove it.

    Chemotherapy started quickly --- that is, as soon as possible.  Dennis detected an urgency in the attitude of the oncologist to get started immediately.  Following were four cycles of "regular" chemotherapy, followed by an autogenous stem cell transplant (autogenous means from Dennis to Dennis --- no outside donors were required.)  The doctor did volunteer at one of the first visits that the "regular" treatment he was prescribing was one of the most complex treatments he used to treat any cancer.  Dennis' response was, "It figures!"

    All of the chemotherapy took place during the second half of 2008.  The stem cell transplant took place in December, 2008.  That is, Dennis' new life began on 4 Dec 2008.  They consider it a new life apparently because if the stem cell transplant doesn't work, survival is difficult to impossible.  The medicine they give, prior to the transplant, is sufficiently nasty to kill all cancer cells and all other fast-reproducing cells in the body.  That includes most of the cells vital to proper functioning of the body.  The stem cells, which were removed prior to the high-dose of the medicine to kill the cancer cells, were not subjected to the high dose treatment.  Two days after administering the high dose, they returned the stem cells to Dennis' body.

     The transplant was successful.  Dennis caught only one infection and was hospitalized for five days only once during the whole chemotherapy- transplant process.  That event followed the second cycle of chemotherapy.  All of the procedures throughout the six months of treatments were carried out as outpatient procedures.  Dennis spent about four weeks living in a hotel five minutes from the cancer clinic during that time --- two weeks during collection of stem cells, and two weeks during the actual transplant procedure.  The rest of the time, Dennis remained at home and commuted to the cancer clinics and treatment rooms when required.

     At the time of this writing, the two year anniversary of the transplant is fast approaching.  Dennis is in complete remission and his health and energy levels are slowly returning towards normal.  

     Dennis' Christian beliefs come through in this book.  He had a large prayer support group behind him during this whole process;  his family took care of him at home; and he had solid faith that God had everything under control because God knew what was happening --- even when no one else knew what was happening.

     Society celebrates good fights against cancer --- even when (especially when????) the person involved does not know the Lord.  Dennis knows the Lord and this is the story of a Christian man's battle against cancer.  We pray that this book will be a blessing to others, and their families and friends, who also have to endure such battles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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