On October 7, 2010 the three of us; Bob, his sister Ginny, and I met with the Oncologist, Dr. John "Bo" Hrom (pronounced Rom), at the Hattiesburg Hematology and Oncology Clinic. Dr. Rom is a young doctor with a great "bedside" manner, and he immediately put us at ease. He had reviewed the records from the family doctor, and he advised that he agreed with the diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma.
Multiple Myeloma is a rare cancer (only about 20,000 new cases each year). It starts in the Plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in the bone marrow. A group of abnormal plasma cells multiply, raising the number of plasma cells to a higher than normal level. The abnormal cells collect in the bones, causing bone lesions, and in the bone marrow where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
Because Bob was so weak, calcium levels were high (12.0), and he was anemic, he felt that he should be hospitalized to try and get the calcium levels down and the anemia taken care of. He was immediately admitted to Forrest General Hospital.
Dr. Hrom stated that he felt Bob might even be a candidate for a Stem Cell Transplant. Multiple Myeloma, Stem Cell Transplant, Cancer ......Bob's life....and mine, had changed in an instant. In the days before a diagnosis, I felt like I'd cried a river .....now, we knew he had cancer, but at least we could deal with what was known. He, at least, had a fighting chance.