How did I get here?

It has been a few days since I posted my article The road to Recovery in which I announced being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (MM). I provided the details of tests that I underwent because of lower back pain that surfaced because of hour long rush hour driving (2 X 2.5 hrs per day for 14 weeks) and sitting at UCSF visiting our daughter. Lucky for me, had it not been for the lower back pain, I may still not have known about having MM.

Thanks during an X-Ray, one Doctor notice an abnormality around my lung resulting in more test. By the 06 March it became clear that I had wide spread MM and plans were set in motion to start aggressive treatment.

For those that don’t know, my wife Dianne is working for a cancer center, 5 minutes away from home. Having been with the center for 20 years, I became immediately on of their VIP patients.

I received two radiation treatments on the 13 and 14 March to reduce the size of my two major masses. However, on the night of the 14th, the pain throughout my upper body got out of control, leaving us no option but to check into E/R. I was emitted as patient the next morning, Wednesday 15 March which was all about pain control. It was also the day my MM diagnosis was 100% confirmed based on the bone biopsy.

On Thursday, 16 March, I underwent surgery to receive a PowerPort device. It is a new kind of implantable port for IV therapy treatments. With it the patient can get chemotherapy, blood transfusions, antibiotics, and intravenous (IV) fluids this way.

My pain control management, to find the right medication, time and doses, continued on Friday 17 March. Also my first chemo session was scheduled for shortly after lunch.

Things did not turn out as planned. Yes, the chemo session was fine, but I fail a sleep long before the start. Not much was thought of it since I had not been sleeping the few days because of pain. What became an issue that I did not wake up after the chemo was over.

When they finally got me awake, it was a rude awakening, I felt a sharp pain in my right arm because of a injection needle was removed, at the same time, I noticed a oxygen mask on my face and an RN yelling at me to wake up. In addition I was facing the window that was filled with bright sunlight, I also noticed that my room was full of people I did not know. It was the Rapid Response Team, which is a level below the famous Code Blue team we see on TV.

My first words were, What in the hell is going on? Instead of getting an answer, the RN1 asked me who is in the room, my answer was you and me, which they did not think was funny.

It turned out that on of the medication they tried for pain control was not good for me causing to fall in to a deep sleep. We will not try that again.

Since being admitted my blood work was monitor very closely, after the first chemo they found that my Hemoglobin Levels were low. So in addition for my second chemo session (18 March), a 2 unit blood transfusion was scheduled.

The 18 March went as planned no problems during the chemo and blood transfusion. Things started to look up.

During the night (early 19 March) I had a small surprise around 3:00AM, Waking up in sweat with tingling feeling all over my body. After changing betting and sleep gown things got back to normal, including more sleep.

In the morning I received the news that my blood count was way up. As the day progressed another issues surfaced, I became very nauseated, resulting in vomiting. It was not the first time, except for the last part. The result being that I have a reaction to the bridge pain medication (Oxycodone). The simple solution was to replace it with Dilaudid. The day was mostly about recovery from the nausea and getting used to the change in medication.

The night from 19-20 March was for most part painless. Instead it was more of discomfort a sign that the chemo is working. There was however another episode of nausea during breakfast, something to find out why. The discomfort encountered during the night continued for most of the day. The good news for the day was that the cancer masses started to shrink (melt).

As to the nausea, I will be taken Zofran right after waking up, and before breakfast tomorrow to see if that helps.

As before, the night from 20-21 March was again for most part painless, but this time more of discomfort, the results of the chemo and other drugs doing their things. On the positive side, I was finally able to sit-up on the bed and even move later in to a recliner for an hour to enjoy lunch.

The rest of today was to do breathing exercises and body shifting in preparation to be discharged as soon as I am able to walk with a walker for about 30 minutes, sit outside the bed and don’t depend too much on my bridge pain medication.

That’s it for now, I am now up-to-date with logging about my road to recovery. It’s now time to get some sleep. I will be back tomorrow with the update what took place.

  1. Note: I will stay away from using the names of any health care provides, care givers etc. 

One thought on “How did I get here?

  1. Hi Klaus,

    We were stunned to get this news. We wish you a complete and rapid recovery.

    All the best,
    Dave & Marilyn

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