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General questions and discussion about multiple myeloma (i.e., symptoms, lab results, news, etc.) If unsure where to post, use this discussion area.

Life after a stem cell transplant

by kate01 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:13 pm

My husband was diagnosed two years ago and relapsed late last year. After many doctors appointments, it was decided to do a auto stem cell transplant. He was hit with 6 days of chemo, including melphalan, busulfan, and gemcitabine (Gemzar). These 3 drugs were brutal on his body. And he is now recovering. Getting better every day.

My question is ... Now what? What are the chances of us resuming a normal life. Is this going to go away? What can we expect for the future?

Any responses would be greatly appreciated.


Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by Dr. Jason Valent on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:21 am

Recovery back to normal is typically 3-6 months. It will be gradual, so hopefully he will feel better every week. But, to answer your question, he will get back to normal.

Disease assessment should occur about 3 months after transplant.
Dr. Jason Valent
Cleveland Clinic

Any advice provided in these postings is based on a very limited amount of information. There is no substitute for the care of your oncologist/hematologist. Therefore, all suggestions should be discussed with your treating physician. None of the comments presented here are meant to replace the evaluation of a patient by a knowledgeable physician.

Dr. Jason Valent
Name: Jason Valent, M.D.
Beacon Medical Advisor

Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by Dan Le Foot on Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:50 am

My wife was back on her bike within 3 weeks after transplant.

After 6 weeks she was cycling about 100 miles a week and hiking 15 miles a week.

She lives every day to the fullest while she can before the inevitable happens.

Good luck to both of you.

Dan Le Foot

Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by Snip on Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:11 pm

Don't be too sure. The melphalan significantly damaged my heart, and I won't be getting back to any kind of old normal ever again.
John Snippe
** I prefer not to think of myself as a cancer patient,
but rather as a cancer survivor trainee! **

Name: John Snippe
Who do you know with myeloma?: me
When were you/they diagnosed?: Jan, 2011
Age at diagnosis: 56

Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by KenDick on Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:05 am

I got my transplant in May of 2011. I'm still in remission but have just now got into trying to get back in shape. I had a lot of neuropathy in my hands and feet and big time back issues. I have started stretching and lifting lite weights. After so long of feeling bad, my poor muscles are kinda mad at me. They hurt a lot. But I feel like I'm getting back to normal.

For some it can be a long road. Everybody is different. I was very sick after SCT. Fevers etc. Not a lot of fun. But I am pretty good now ....


Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by Suzanne b on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:14 pm

This month is the one year anniversary of my mother's stem cell transplant! She had been in a battle with multiple myeloma for three years! Things are well as of now. Been in remission for about five months!!

She is still struggling to get her strength back and seems to catch a lot of viruses still. Just got out of hospital a month ago from having RSV and pneumonia. However, her cancer numbers are still showing no signs of the multiple myeloma!

Praising God daily for her healing and the doctors for their ability to help her! Taking each day as a miracle and blessing and living it to the fullest! :D

Suzanne b

Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by rumnting on Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:07 pm

My husband's transplant was 1.5 years ago. He was VERY sick for the 2 weeks following the transplant. After that, he made a rapid recovery. He now says he feels totally normal.

He did switch from working full time to only 2 days a week. If he had to work full time, he could. He goes to the Y and works out 4-5 times a week and is physically active. We are traveling a lot and doing the things we want to do.

Who do you know with myeloma?: husband
When were you/they diagnosed?: 4/9/11
Age at diagnosis: 54

Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by rav4fan on Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:55 pm

My husband was diagnosed in January of 2012. He had the first of his tandem auto stem cell transplants at the end of June and the second at the end of September.

After the first transplant, he felt pretty good after 6 to 8 weeks, although fatigue and the neuropathy did not fully resolve. The second auto transplant was much harder on his system. All of the effects of the melphalan were intensified during the second transplant. He ran fevers and had several hard-to-beat colds and seemingly chronic diarrhea. This time, it was 10 to 12 weeks before he felt that he was getting over it.

He has just completed his first maintenance regimen (Revlimid and dexamethasone - 21 days on, 7 days off). And so far, so good. He is working one day a week and is back on his bicycle logging about 30 miles per week.

We don't know yet how the cumulative effects of his maintenance chemo is going to affect him, but at this point, he rates himself about 85-90% of where he was before he got sick.

Good luck on your journey! Try to focus on the trees instead of the forest! Remember, everyone's experience is unique.

Who do you know with myeloma?: Husband
When were you/they diagnosed?: 1/1/2012
Age at diagnosis: 56

Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by lrich on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:26 pm

My husband underwent an auto SCT in September of 2012. He's doing great physically and, as of right now, free of the myeloma, although he is at high risk for relapse.

I was wondering if anyone has seen / experienced big changes in personality during / after treatment. Like moodiness, snappiness, displacement of anger on the caregiver especially. Things like that, along with totally changing as far as religion goes. Going from never going to church to going every possible chance and reading the Bible and other biblical items constantly.


Re: Life after a stem cell transplant

by Nancy Shamanna on Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:31 pm

Hi Irich,

I think that your husband is probably still in a bit of shock over having such a close call with myeloma. Previously, and quite recently, the prognosis for myeloma was quite grim, and he probably knows that too. Thus he is seeking out his spiritual side to help to come to terms with the diagnosis.

At least now the outlook for us patients is improving, and so hopefully after a while he will relax a bit more and be more of his usual self.

Hope that helps! Also, most cancer centres have spiritual advisors, and counsellors and maybe that would be helpful to your family.

Nancy Shamanna
Name: Nancy Shamanna
Who do you know with myeloma?: Self and others too
When were you/they diagnosed?: July 2009


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