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I'm 53years of age and when diagnosed in match my count was 18. l'm about to start my 5th and final cycle before stem cell treatment. My count is currently below 2.
What I would like to know is what can I expect to happen regarding stem cell treatment and how long to recover?
The other key question...
How long after treatment will the cancer return roughly?
Will I be given drugs to help keep in remission for longer?
How well and often will I be checked now that I have MM?
Have you linked into the Myeloma forum and the stem cell transplant forum, they will have people in the same situation as you that can give first hand advice and support for the journey ahead.
You will need your stem cells collecting before you can go ahead with the stem cell transplant, there is a whole host of information here for you but basically when you come in for transplant you will have one day of chemotherapy, a drug called Melphalan and your cells are normally returned the next day. Some patients feel sick, some have diarrhoea, most have a sore mouth, some have all but you will be given medication to help with any side effects you experience. Most patients are in hospital for between 2 to 3 weeks and you will go home when your white cells have started to recover, side effects have settled and you can drink well. If your appetite has not quite returned we are not so concerned but being able to drink is very important, as you will already know having Myeloma.
Patients will normally be seen the week after discharge, if everything is stable and you are recovering nicely you may be seen monthly (or more often initially if you are still feeling the effects) but will quickly go to 3 monthly reviews.
Where I work the Myeloma consultants tend to quote a 2 year remission, after the transplant, without evidence of the Myeloma returning, but as is always the case this may be less for some people and longer for others it varies from patient to patient, but the important thing is that you will be monitored and treatment started again when needed.
At the moment unless you are in a clinical trial, or have health insurance to cover, there is sadly no maintenance therapy to try and keep you in remission for longer. If you are lucky enough to have health insurance there is a possibility of getting Revlimid post transplant.
I hope that I have answered all your questions but if there is anything more please come back
Hope everything goes well for you.
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