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Don’t miss myeloma – June’s story

For Myeloma Awareness Week 2022, we want to ensure everyone can spot the signs and symptoms of myeloma, and visit their GP if something doesn't feel right. Myeloma patient June shares her story.

Patient stories // 21st June 2022

This Myeloma Awareness Week, we want to ensure no one misses myeloma. We spoke to June Davis, 57 from Birmingham, about the first symptoms she experienced, how this felt different and how she knew something wasn’t right.

In 2016, June knew something was wrong when she started experiencing back pain, unlike anything she had felt before.

“It was not normal spasms; it was something pulling deep inside my bones. It was like a bike chain coming out of sync. Every time I moved something jerked. I’ve had three children and I’d rather go through that again than feel that pain.”

She visited her GP who told her she had probably pulled a muscle. But despite taking painkillers her spasms only worsened so she went back to the doctor three months later. June had an X-ray and was told she had a bad back, probably as a result of a birth defect.

One day she collapsed in her bedroom and was rushed to A&E, but was later sent home with painkillers. June’s condition didn’t get any better and for two weeks she was unable to stand, leaving her bedridden.

“My brother Dave came to visit me and he said to me, ‘June you need to go to the hospital, there’s something seriously wrong’, but I was scared to move because I didn’t want to feel more pain. I couldn’t get out of bed because of the spasms.”

June’s family rushed her back to A&E, where an MRI revealed she had a broken spine and tumours, known as plasmacytomas, on her back and shoulder blades which were complications of her myeloma.

“When they told me it was myeloma, I had no idea what it was. I had never heard of it. It’s changed me as a person. I am on an up-and-down rollercoaster. I have good days and bad days. I was active but I had to give up work and my social contacts with people as I’m not working and see less people.” 

June is now determined make sure myeloma is caught sooner and that others are able to spot the signs and symptoms and speak up when something is wrong.

“If they had caught it early, I wouldn’t have gone through this amount of pain. My advice would be: if you don’t feel right in your body and if you feel something deep inside your bones, or feel out of sync go to the doctor and ask for a blood test. I wish I had asked for one. A simple blood test in the beginning would have shown straight away what was wrong with me and I wouldn’t have gone through what I went through and had as much damage done to my body. I just want people to be more aware of myeloma.” Please note: a blood test is one of a few tests needed to diagnose myeloma.

 

Myeloma UK’s recent report A Life Worth Living found that myeloma has a significantly greater impact on black patients and patients from ethnic minorities compared to white patients. 55% of black and minority ethnic patients report a high impact on their quality of life compared to 37% of white patients.

Myeloma UK Chief Executive Dr Sophie Castell said:

“If you take one thing away this Myeloma Awareness Week, it should be this: trust your gut. If you’re not feeling yourself, have persistent and unexplained back pain, severe fatigue or repeated infections you simply can’t shake, I would encourage you to visit your GP. The symptoms of myeloma are vague and can often seem unrelated or appear at different times, so if you think there’s more to it than run-of-the-mill tiredness, a pulled muscle or old age – and if your symptoms just aren’t going away – please go back to your GP.”

Learn more about spotting the signs and symptoms of myeloma this Myeloma Awareness Week.