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Blood Work May Not Be Enough When Monitoring Multiple Myeloma

Home/Blood Work May Not Be Enough When Monitoring Multiple Myeloma

Blood Work May Not Be Enough When Monitoring Multiple Myeloma

This morning I thanked the IMF for their work in prodding Medicare into approving the use of PET scans for multiple myeloma patients. Now I would like to add a caution for all myeloma survivors. One of my myeloma heroes, Loren Liedl from Amery, Wisconsin, was hunting in Wyoming last fall when he fell and broke his upper arm. Loren is an twelve year survivor. Like Paula from my previous article, he too had clean blood work, showing no evidence of myeloma. But once Loren was transported back to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment, doctors quickly discovered his arm break was at a point where the bone was weakened by a myeloma lesion.

I’m going to give you some advice now—some advice I need to follow myself! Blood work and even a bone marrow biopsy isn’t always enough! There may have already been an undetected lesion or lesions present prior to getting your myeloma under control. Additionally, a bone marrow biopsy only samples one limited area of marrow. There might still be active myeloma present in your hip, or ribs, or skull or arm. Regular bone x-rays and PET scans and/or MRI’s should also be employed to help make sure your myeloma is in check. It has been eighteen months since my last survey or biopsy. I know, I know–time to get checked-out! I will as soon as I can get my insurance coverage switched from Wisconsin/Minnesota to my new home state of Florida—AND I’m sure it works! But that story is best saved for yet another article.

Feel good, keep smiling and please don’t miss your regular follow-up appointments!
(Maybe that appointment should include a PET scan?) Pat