Myeloma Awareness Week has begun for 2015…and this year I’ve been able to take a slightly more active part in it given that I’m not actually fundraising at the moment.
Raising awareness of Myeloma is really important because if people know what it is, and what the symptoms of it are, they won’t ignore them…. and that could save or at the very least, prolong, their life. Sounds dramatic? It is in reality. Most people reading this because you are friends of mine already know what myeloma is….it is a cancer of the bone marrow. But I know for a fact that most of you didn’t know what myeloma was before I was diagnosed. And most of you quite possibly still don’t know what sort of symptoms to look out for, or what to do if you do experience them…so here we go.
The hard thing about myeloma is that the symptoms are often confused with every day symptoms….back ache that you might have got from a sporting injury, tiredness that could be overdoing it at work or play or from too much socialising, illnesses that are just because you’re a bit run down. And for those older readers, many of those symptoms are just thought to be because as you get a bit older, things start going wrong.
But the reality is that if you’re worried about these symptoms, and they’re lasting a while, it really doesn’t take much to get them checked out. You can go to your GP and tell them you’re worried. And don’t let them fob you off. Ask them to do a simple blood test (and no, it isn’t expensive!) to put your mind at rest! It is really unlikely you’ll have myeloma…less than 5,000 people get diagnosed every year…BUT, at least this way, you know you’ve checked it out.
I still believe that part of the reason I am doing so well is because my diagnosis came really early…well before I had any symptoms even! And that meant that the minute they thought the myeloma was beginning to progress, they zapped me with high dose chemo and a stem cell transplant. And now my life is pretty much back to normal …amazing! I’m now watched every month and am still on maintenance therapy, but when my myeloma starts to show signs of coming back (because sadly it will one day!), they will be able to jump on it fast again.
And by doing that, hopefully I won’t suffer with bone damage for a long time yet….I won’t see my vertabrae collapsing like some of my friends, and my kidneys will stay healthy for that bit longer. Early diagnosis will have meant that I get to see my kids get to secondary school, and hopefully Uni too! Who knows, maybe I’ll see them get married too! That would be cool…to say the least!
As part of #MyelomaAwarenessWeek, I have produced two things…one for Myeloma UK (click here), and one for YouTube (see below). Please feel free to share these to spread the word on what Myeloma is….and maybe even to raise a few pennies for Myeloma UK.