My name is Angela Lockett Spears and I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in October 2019. It is a rare blood cancer of the plasma cells. This diagnosis caught me completely off guard as a cancer diagnosis would for anyone. I was shocked because I was only going to the doctor due to being tired (only complaint… only symptom) and felt I needed an iron infusion to give me a boost since I was perimenopause, but little did I know the true culprit of my tiredness would be cancer.
I started treatment in December of 2019: Revlimid, Velcade and Dexamethasone. I was treated until April of 2020; it killed the cancerous cells in my bone marrow, but the next step would be a Stem Cell Transplant. Before the doctors could start the transplant process, COVID-19 hit, and my doctors were not going to take any chances as I was very immunocompromised at this point. I would stop treatment because I was doing well with not a lot of cancerous cells present in my bone marrow. I was supposed to get my transplant in 2020 but COVID-19 halted that procedure.
So, in April of 2021, I had another bone marrow biopsy, and it showed my marrow still looked good, so it was time to proceed with Stem Cell Transplant. I traveled to Nashville to the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center for this procedure. In June of 2021, I began the process to get ready for my Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. They harvested over 6.2 million stem cells from me, enough for two transplants if needed.
On July 12, I entered Sarah Cannon Cancer Research Hospital in Nashville to undergo my procedure. July 14, I received some of my stem cells back which is considered my 2nd Birthday. I’m currently home recuperating and taking it easy as the process will be long, but well worth it.
I urge everyone to please keep check of your blood work, stay on top of any health concerns as minor as they seem to be. It could easily become a life-or-death situation. I am forever grateful to my mom because she kept telling me to find a good family doctor, my daughter for recommending her doctor and of course my doctor for not disregarding my concerns and searching until she got to the root of my tiredness.
We all have the tendency to Google and self-diagnose as I am guilty also. I have chronic rheumatoid arthritis which is present on both sides of my family, and I often contributed most bad days as a result of arthritis. Therefore, Cancer was the farthest thing from my mind, and especially Multiple Myeloma because I had never heard of it. So, I’m putting a face with a disease because most people would look at me and probably think there is nothing in the world wrong with me, but the truth of the matter is I met “C.” So please keep me in your prayers as I embark upon this journey of a new chapter in my book of life. I will continue to trust the process, God’s plan and purpose with a praise in my heart. I just want to be a beacon of light and ray of hope while possibly helping someone along the way. I sincerely thank you for allowing me to share my story and becoming a part of the NOWINCLUDED community.