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In 2015 Richard and his wife Christelle had their world turned upside down after Richard was diagnosed with Myeloma.
Myeloma (or Multiple Myeloma) is a type of bone marrow cancer arising from plasma cells, which are normally found in the bone marrow.
During National Myeloma Month, Richard agreed to share his story to help raise awareness of the disease.
Following the diagnosis, the Melbourne couple found themselves in shock—reassessing their options and putting travel plans on hold to immediately begin treatment.
Richard’s treatment plan consisted of many tests and scans followed by four months of infusions prior to an autologous stem cell transplant.
Treatment was difficult for Richard, with multiple admissions to hospital with fever, fatigue, and infection.
After the stem cell transplant, Richard and Christelle decided it was time to make the most of their lives, particularly given difficult circumstances; they soon relocated to the Sunshine Coast.
Over the following three years the couple settled into the Sunshine Coast, with regular appointments to ensure Richard’s recovery, including a second stem cell transplant at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane and Mater Cancer Care Centre Brisbane.
However, Richard soon found the second treatment much more difficult given the larger dose but he was determined to see the treatment through.
“This time I had to spend six weeks in hospital with various ailments following the transplant and I was not the happiest of chappies,” said Richard.
“Nevertheless, the medical staff at Mater were great and very accommodating of my family—I was able to Skype my son and his young family in the USA every day too.”
After leaving Mater, Richard continued with follow up treatment consisting of weekly blood tests and visits to Brisbane to see his specialist.
Six weeks later Richard was feeling more confident with his prognosis, having his Hickman Line removed and the approval to continue with consults locally on the Sunshine Coast, with Telehealth appointments back to his specialist at Mater.
Richard said that maintaining his health and fitness as best he could during his treatment had made a significant and positive contribution to his continued recovery.
“During the stem cell treatment, I used to do walking laps of the ward accompanied by my dancing partner, the infusions stand,” said Richard.
“I love cycling which keeps my cardiovascular and respiratory system in good fettle but am hopeless at maintaining a home exercise regime.
“I lost 10 kilograms during the treatment, most of which was seemingly muscle, but I am hoping the continued exercise prescribed by the physiotherapist will help me to put on some more upper body muscle and improve my balance again,” he said.
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