Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Myeloma Awareness Week: 21-28 June, by Jennifer Taylor

Here, in the UK, this week is Myeloma Awareness week. It’s being run by Myeloma UK, an organisation which works tirelessly to promote the interests of those of us who have multiple myeloma – cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow.

I was diagnosed with myeloma eight years ago and was stunned because a/ I never expected to be told I had cancer and b/ I had never heard of this particular cancer. Oh, I’d heard about lymphoma and leukaemia, both types of blood cancer, but not myeloma. It was a totally unknown quantity to me and I had a lot to learn.

Unlike the other blood cancers which can be cured, myeloma is incurable. It is treatable, however, if you can find the right treatment for you and one thing we all discover is that what works for one person, doesn’t always work for another. Myeloma is a very personal disease.

I have been extremely fortunate as most of the treatments I have been offered have had a positive effect. Even though I have never been in remission, I have been able to enjoy a really good quality of life over the past eight years and I appreciate that. Oh, there have been down sides; every treatment comes with its own particular side effects, but you learn how to cope with them. My biggest moan is the fact that I have lost so much height. I started out at a fairly respectable 5’ 5” and now just scrape in at a wimpy little 5’. My daughter, Vicky, is 5’ 11” so we look like “little and large” when we go out shopping together!

The really positive effect of having cancer I have discovered is how it changes your attitude to life. I no longer angst about trivial matters and take them in my stride. I also derive huge pleasure from the little things: a walk along the towpath with my dog; smelling the hawthorn blossom first thing in the morning; chatting with friends over coffee/lunch/dinner or whatever; playing with my gorgeous grandchildren, Isobel and Max; and writing my next book.

The love and support I’ve received from my family and friends has kept me focused through the dark periods. My daughter, Vicky, in particular, has been an inspiration with her no-nonsense approach. (Come on, mum. Get a grip. You know you can do this,’ has echoed in my head many times!)

Here’s a photo of Vicky with her husband, Jamie, and the children. Aren’t they gorgeous, not that I’m biased, of course 🙂

So I am dealing with this problem and enjoying life as well, and it’s all down to the care I receive at my local hospital as well as the work that Myeloma UK does. They work tirelessly behind the scenes, organising drug trials, liaising with the various drug companies and the NHS to make new treatments available, and offering advice and support to anyone, patients and carers, who need it. Do check out their website: myeloma.org.uk

It really is worth a visit.

So have you had to deal with an unexpected challenges? And how did they impact on your life? I would love to hear all about your experiences.




14 thoughts on “Myeloma Awareness Week: 21-28 June, by Jennifer Taylor”

  1. Hi Jennifer

    You sound so positive good on you my Hubby was diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was 39 he now has a colostomy and is just about to turn 61 we had four kids in school at the time and then 8 days later my Mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer as well she survived too so yes it was a tough time and he has not been able to work since then and my motto is what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger and we live as much as we can with a positive attitude hugs to you and your family

    Have Fun

  2. Your attitude is amazing, Jennifer. And that’s a gorgeous family pic (and OMG, scary how big your granddaughter is now – I remember when the Med authors made that patchwork quilt for her when Vicky was expecting her, and that seems about five minutes ago!) xxx

  3. You’re a marvel, Jennifer. Love the photo of your family, your daughter sounds as if she is a very special person. I hope that Myeloma Awareness Week makes many more people aware of this form of cancer, and that you continue to do well. xxx

  4. Jennifer,
    Thanks for your post. Myeloma is so important for people to know about. My 28 year old son had a mole that looked unusual and had to have it removed. To my surprise it was Myeloma. Surgery followed and many doctors visited for “checks”. You are an inspiration to us all.

  5. Hi Jennifer! What an amazing organization, and thank God for them. Also, your daughter is a gift with such powerful advice. I know you listen to her. Love the family picture. I hope to hear you go into remission because they’ve found the perfect treatment for your own personal version of this troubling disease.
    I’ve been blessed for many years, and deep inside my head I sometimes think I’m waiting for that one shoe to drop. I feel a little queasy admitting it.
    Oh, and hey, do you know that 90% of the female population would love to be thinner?
    Keep writing! We love your books.

  6. Jennifer, you have a great attitude, but I know that didn’t come easily, nor is it always easy to keep in place. But you have wonderful support with your family and friends for those days.
    I learned after having breast cancer that the travel I always intended doing some time had to be started. What had I been waiting for? Since then I’ve been to some wonderful places in the world with my husband, and hoping to go to others in the not too distant future.
    Take care and keep giving us great stories.

  7. Thank you all for your kind words, and for your own personal stories of overcoming the odds. It’s good to know that I am in such great company.

    I am currently undergoing a new treatment regime (cycle 2 starts on Friday) and feel so fortunate to have been offered it. It’s a combination of the “big” drug, Panobinostat, which I take at home in tablet-form three times per week along with steroids, plus twice weekly visits to my local cancer care centre for an infusions of Velcade. It’s quite full-on but if it does the job, then who cares? Plus going to the CC unit is always a pleasure as the staff there are more like friends than mere nurses. They are a prime example of the kind of character I love to use as a heroine.

    And don’t get me started on my gorgeous and ever-so kind consultant: 6ft-plus, ruggedly good looking, treats me like fragile china . . . . ah, if only I were thirty years younger!

    Love to you all,

  8. Hugs from me Sue as you undergo this next bit of treatment. Am sending you lots of positive vibes. You are a bloody marvel to always be so upbeat and I admire the hell out of you xxx

  9. Hi, Jennifer, and thank you for your revealing and very touching post, drawing attention to this horrible disease. Your courage is amazing, your daughter is wonderful and her family are lovely. Can’t believe Isobel is so old now! I really hope this treatment can give you some lasting respite, because heaven knows you’ve earned it. And I’m delighted that you have the joy of a gorgeous, hunky consultant to brighten the treatment process 😉
    Much love, Caroline xxx

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