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The Top Myeloma Beacon Patient And Caregiver Columns Of 2011

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Published: Jan 27, 2012 4:13 pm

Over the course of 2011, multiple myeloma patients and caregivers graciously shared their personal experiences with myeloma in columns they wrote for The Beacon.

Some have taken a chronological approach to describing the events leading up to their diagnosis, through their treatment, and to where they are currently.  Others have written about their struggles with side effects, relapsing, and dealing with the disease emotionally.  Some have provided tips based on their own experiences, and others have told their story with humor and a positive outlook.

As a service to its readers, The Myeloma Beacon has compiled a list of the columnist articles Beacon readers found most interesting during 2011.  If you sometimes feel like you are battling this disease alone, please read these columns.  It helps to know others have had similar experiences.

Also, please join all of us here at The Beacon in expressing our sincere appreciation to these columnists for taking the time, and for being willing, to share their personal stories with the Beacon's readers on a regular basis.

Arnie’s Rebounding World by Dr. Arnold Goodman

Dr. Arnold Goodman was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2006 at the age of 47.  He has been living with relapsed/refractory disease and has been treated with a number of different drug regimens.  Dr. Goodman writes a monthly column for The Myeloma Beacon.  Below are two of his articles that Beacon readers have found particularly interesting.

A Journey From Diagnosis To Relapse And Beyond – In his first column, Dr. Goodman described how six years ago he started getting out of breath more easily while exercising, which led him to order blood work that uncovered his cancer.  He also wrote about how he selected where to go for treatment.

My Stem Cell Transplant – In another column, Dr. Goodman described the stem cell transplant process for patients who may be considering one.  He also wrote about his personal experience with an outpatient transplant, and how he needed to be admitted to the hospital due to a fever but recovery was speedy once the transplanted cells started to grow.

Big Sis In Burgundy by Deborah Dietzler

Deborah Dietzler’s sister Deana was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in April 2011 at the age of 39.  Less than two months after Deana’s diagnosis, Deborah began writing a Beacon column from a caregiver’s perspective.  Her column is published every other week.

My Sister Has What?!?! – In Deborah’s first column, she described in detail the events leading up to Deana’s diagnosis.  She also wrote about how she, as the sister of a cancer patient, was affected in the first four weeks after the diagnosis.

Birds In Spring by Lou Ganim

Lou Ganim was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2006 and has undergone two autologous stem cell transplants since then.  He writes a monthly column for The Myeloma Beacon.

The Story Of My Diagnosis And Initial Treatment – Lou stepped back in this column to describe for newly diagnosed myeloma patients the early days of his life with myeloma, including his diagnosis, initial treatment, and complications.

Pat’s Cracked Cup by Pat Pendleton

Pat Pendleton was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in December 2003 and has been in remission for the past six years.  She writes a monthly Beacon column.

Grateful For Perspective – Pat took Thanksgiving as an opportunity to reflect on her feelings around the time of her diagnosis and on how her perspective has changed over the course of her disease. She expressed gratitude for the change in perspective.

Pat’s Place by Pat Killingsworth

Pat Killingsworth was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in April 2007 at the age of 51.  After relapsing in 2010, Pat underwent a stem cell transplant in mid-2011.  Unfortunately, the transplant did not put his cancer in remission.  Pat wrote a weekly column throughout most of 2011 and now writes monthly.

My Myeloma Therapy Is Working – But Not Without Significant Side Effects – In early December, Pat announced that his post-transplant therapy is working to lower his monoclonal protein level (M-spike).  He also shared the side effects of his treatment, including low blood cell counts, peripheral neuropathy, low blood oxygen levels, and more.

Anger Rises Among Some Multiple Myeloma Patients As They Await A Cure – In this column, Pat discussed people’s feelings toward the speed of advances in myeloma therapy.  While the approval of the novel agents several years ago was a significant step forward, many myeloma patients are still angry that only small, incremental steps are being made toward a cure.

Dealing With Peripheral Neuropathy – Pat described reasons why myeloma patients experience peripheral neuropathy (pain and tingling in the extremities caused by nerve damage), symptoms of neuropathy, and suggestions about how to deal with the condition.  Many myeloma patients shared additional tips in the comments section of the article.

Sean’s Burgundy Thread by Sean Murray

Sean was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in November 2008 at the age of 49 and with two young daughters.  He chose to pursue aggressive therapy and is currently in complete remission.  Sean writes a monthly Beacon column.

Positively Myeloma – In his column, Sean talked about his outlook on life since his myeloma diagnosis.  He shared how he manages to remain positive even though “myeloma sucks,” as he put it.  Sean’s family, faith, and humor are just a few of the things that help him live with cancer one day at a time.

Manhattan Tales by Stephen Kramer

Almost two years after being diagnosed with myeloma in January 2010, Stephen Kramer started writing a column for the Beacon in December 2011.

The Diagnosis – In Stephen’s column from last year, he wrote about the events leading up to his diagnosis.  He also briefly described that treatment put him in remission but forced him to retire due to the side effects interfering with his job.

Me vs. MM by Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in January 2011 at the age of 52.  He began writing a monthly Beacon column in December 2011.

The Beginning – In his first column, Kevin wrote that his diagnosis came as a surprise, given that he had been relatively healthy his entire life.  He also described his treatment progress to date and how he is hopeful in his battle against cancer.

The Myeloma Beacon also recently published compilations of the top Myeloma Beacon news and resource articles from 2011.

If you are interested in writing a regular column to be published on The Myeloma Beacon, please contact the Beacon team at .

Photo of Myeloma Beacon patient and caregiver columnists.
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  • Nancy S. said:

    Hi Arnold, Pat K., Pat P., Sean, Kevin, Stephen, Deborah and Lou,
    Words cannot express fully how wonderful it has been to read all of your columns. They give your personal viewpoints amongst all the very helpful medical data that makes up the other sector of this online publication. The columns certainly stimulate a lot of discussion too, and encourage people to share their own experiences and to post good info. We couldn't all meet up in person, due to geographical distances, but can have a chat via computer. Thanks so much, Myeloma Beacon staff, for arranging all of this!

  • Cynthia Baker said:

    Thank you Myeloma Beacon for your efforts in providing those of us who have MM with other people's trials and triumphs in this most difficult disease. It truly is a "designer disease" because every person's treatment is different. I am 65 years young and was diagnosed August 15, 2011. It was a total SHOCK to me as I am sure it is to everyone. Mine was caught by a blood test because I had gotten extremely dizzy. A biopsy confirmed my doctor's hunch that I had MM. The rest is history. Mine is in an idle state and I am praying it will stay that way. Again, thank you. Keep up the good work for MM patients.