Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Rugger's Myeloma

My first post....

Late September I went in for my normal annual physical that was about a year late (my bad) and though everything was fine, my blood-work turned up a protein spike that was abnormal. The Doc said to have the blood work done over to check and see if it re-occurs. Sure enough, the spike was still present so he suggested I see a Hemotologist. They had more blood work, the 24-hour urine test, full skeletal survey and finally a bone marrow biopsy. All was fine except for the biopsy. What was an MGUS (monoclonal gammopothy of undefined significance) was diagnosed as plasma cell myeloma with 20-40% plasma cells in the marrow. Luckily (as lucky as you can be having been diagnosed with cancer) none of the other signs are present: no bone degeneration, calcium levels normal, no protein in the urine, etc.

This was in mid-October. Now the search was on for where to go and what to do. I am extremely fortunate to have a high school friend who is a doctor who has been doing an amazing amount of networking and research and has been directing my various steps. Between this doctor and my family network I've been able to at least originally outline my first chapter: finding the doctor/cancer center to take the next step. I've got appointments at Cornell, Sloan Kettering and Dana Farber. Hopefully by the end of December I'll have an idea of what takes place in Chapter Two.

As I mentioned above, my purpose with this blog is just to document and update what's going on as I've not really told anyone but family at this point. When it does start to get out there will be lots of questions, and I can point people here. The rugby tie-in is just that - I play rugby and obviously, when this does kick in, that will end. Hopefully only during the treatment as its my position (currently) that I will be back and playing as soon as possible. I've been playing rugby for 14 years. I'm a forward (number 8 though I did start as a lock) and have found the game of rugby to be one of the truly life defining points. Short of my marriage and my two kids, that has to be one of the most important pieces of my life. I met my wife through the game, I lost nine friends and team mates in the bombing in Bali in Oct '02 - friends through rugby are friends forever. And I've been lucky enough to have played in various places around the world and developed alot of these friendships. I've played with a 66 year old and said, "I want to be like that". This is the first time I've ever doubted that ability - but we'll get through that just like a bad match of too many scrums and backs that just can't hold onto the ball! (had to throw in a backs comment!)

But enough for now - more details will follow but I'm not sure how often I'll post. Just wanted somewhere to get started.

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