“People with myeloma stage 2 can experience fatigue due to the low red blood cell count caused by the cancer. “Anemia” is the term used to describe a low count of these cells…”
Hi David- I’m 43 and have just been diagnosed with myeloma stage 2. My MRI came back clear and kidney function is ok. The symptoms I’m having are anemia and infections, a bone marrow biopsy showed 60% plasma cells.
The oncologist has advised me to start Velcade, Thalidomide, Dexamethason chemo then to have 2 stem cell transplant. Without this treatment I’ve been given 12 months to live and with it 2-5 years.
I’m keen to thoroughly research every available option and am writing to ask if you could possibly send me some information on any alternatives. Many thanks in advance. Andrea
Hi Andrea- I am sorry to read of your myeloma stage 2 diagnosis. Several things.
Multiple Myeloma – Stage 2
- You are young as MMers go.
- No bone involvement and
- No kidney involvement are good.
- Your age, kidney and bone health are all positive prognostic indicators.
Anemia and infections indicate lowered red and white blood cells- common symptoms is the stage 2 patient. Please see the article linked below. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of myeloma stage 2. Red blood cells carry oxygen. If MM (plasma cells) grow and crowd out your red blood cells, there are fewer cells to carry oxygen. The same thing can happen with you white blood cells. If MM crowds out your white cells, your immune system suffers and you get infected more often.
Your BMB indicating 60% plasma cells is the only significant indicator of MM. I agree with your oncologist that you should undergo induction therapy. Velcade, Thalidomide and Dex. is a standard triplet.
Controlling your relatively advanced stage 2 myeloma is job 1.
Job 2 is to achieve as significant a remission as you can (remission, partial remission, very good partial remission, complete remission) while at the same time doing as little damage to your body as possible.
Meaning, get a good a remisson with as little toxic chemotherapy as possible. For example, you may be able to achieve either CR or VGPR with only 3-4 rounds of your chemotherapy triplet.
In response to your question about “alternatives,” I can offer both complementary and integrative therapies. In cancer care the word alternative indicates that you don’t want to do anything conventional/traditional. I’m not sure what your goals are but a managable amount of chemo, at this stage, is the only way I know of to bring your cancer hopefully to 0. Alternative therapies will not manage your MM fast enough to help you. I am linking the PBC MM CC non-conventional therapies guide to show you those therapies that are alternative. The challenge is to figure out the efficacy of each.
Complementary MM therapies are everything from
- anti-MM nutrition to
- frequent, moderate exercise to
- anti-MM supplementation to
- evidence-based, mind-body therapies to
- evidence-based, non-conventional bone health therapies
Therapies that research has shown enhance the efficacy of Velcade are curcumin, omega-3, honokiol and others. CBD oil has been shown to integrate with Velcade/bortezomib but there is a lot more to the discussion of CBD oil and Velcade and MM than I can cover in one email. The benefit of complementary therapies is that they are non-toxic and may increase the length and depth of your remission from your induction therapy.
Further, please include non-conventional bone health therapies to your regimen. Your bone health is fine now but research shows that 90% of all MMers experience bone damage at some point in their life as MMers. Your oncologist may have already prescribed a bisphosphonate therapy. This is fine but there are a host of non-conventional bone health therapies beyond bisphosphonates.
Finally, I think it is premature for you to even think about what you may or may not do, therapy wise, after induction therapy. You may want to undergo an autologus stem cell transplant soon after induction therapy or you may want to wait. Studies show there is NO overall survival benefit to having an ASCT now or later. As for tandem ASCT, these procedures are a lot of toxicity for your body to handle and studies of tandem transplants have never shown to impart longer overall survival.
My point is not to bash conventional MM therapies, my point is to point out that there are pros and cons to every step, every therapy for you to consider.
This turned into a long reply Alex. Sorry. Let me know if you have any questions.
- MM Survivor
- MM Cancer Coach
- Director PeopleBeatingCancer
“People with multiple myeloma (stage 2) can experience fatigue due to the low red blood cell count caused by the cancer. “Anemia” is the term used to describe a low count of these cells…
Anemia and multiple myeloma go hand in hand. Multiple myeloma triggers an overgrowth of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce and secrete antibodies. Too many of these cells in the bone marrow crowd and decrease the number of normal blood-forming cells. This response causes a low red blood cell count.
The condition can be mild, moderate, severe, or life-threatening. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. Your doctor may diagnose anemia if your hemoglobin level is below normal. For women, a normal hemoglobin level is 12 to 16 grams per deciliter (g/dL). For men, a normal level is 14 to 18 g/dL…”
- “Fatigue. Healthy cells allow your body to fight invading germs easily. As myeloma cells replace bone marrow, your body has to work much harder with fewer disease-fighting cells, and you tire more easily.
- Low blood counts. Myeloma cells crowd out healthy blood cells, leading to low red blood counts (anemia) and low white blood cells (leukopenia). Unhealthy blood cell levels make it harder to fight infections.
- Frequent infections. Fewer antibodies in your blood make fighting infections more difficult.