Seven years

This anniversary post is to recognise that I’m still here, in remission, seven years on from the day (4 February 2011) when I was first diagnosed.

In that time I have seen a number of friends die, from myeloma, leukaemia, amyloidosis, inflammatory breast cancer and related conditions or infections. And I’m still here, in remission.

I’ve met my stem cell donor, who’s a lovely and humble young woman, who says happily that she’d do it again in a heartbeat. That’s how easy it is! So if anyone reading this has any thoughts of signing up to a stem cel register, she and I would both like to encourage you to go ahead.

Anthony Nolan will register people aged 16-30, while DKMS will take people up to the age of 55. In both cases, you simply fill in a form and swab the inside of your cheek. It’s that simple! I know this because I volunteer giving talks in schools and colleges about it and signing up young people at recruitment events.

You stay on the register until you’re 60 and you could be a match at any time, or never get called. Those who do, in my experience, are delighted to be able to donate. I know this because I volunteer to visit donors on the day they donate at Sheffield Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

As a recipient, I can vouch for what a huge impact that little act can make to someone who might otherwise die. I’m still here and in remission.

And finally, some statistics that show the longer you survive, the longer you’re likely to survive. See charts below.

So while I don’t have a five year plan (I never did!), I can think about next year without being too anxious that I won’t be here. I could relapse, of course, but these days I feel generally calmer and more confident about being around to celebrate eight years post-diagnosis; to be able to say again that I’m still here and in remission.

This chart shows that the average life expectancy for someone in my situation has risen by three more years from this time last year. I’m potentially looking at a further 14 years. When I was first diagnosed, the outlook was pretty grim, around 3-5 years. So I’m already winning!

And this shows that the percentage of deaths at seven years post-diagnosis has dropped 1% from last year.

I’ve not done anything in particular to celebrate today, but I’ve been thinking about my experience; remembering those who’ve died; thanking those who supported me, emotionally, practically, medically and financially; posting this; and appreciating that I really am still here and in remission.

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About Jet Black

I began blogging because having been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, I wanted to share my experiences of living with an incurable cancer. Through blogging, I discovered that I enjoy writing. I have always chosen to live life for the journey, more than the destination. This is as true for the act of writing as it is for living with myeloma, so these are two things I do: I live and I write!
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14 Responses to Seven years

  1. Colin Bone says:

    Fantastic news Jet, looking forward to next years post. Love from Colin x

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  2. Susan says:

    Wow Jet! This is freakin’ awesome. Here’s to at least another 7!
    Love you & think of you often.
    Xoxo 😘

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  3. Mavis Nevill says:

    How lovely to hear from you Jet and to be able to celebrate your seven years of survival. I am also now in my eighth year of survival. Like you I am very conscious of the friends I have lost on the way.
    Although my mobility is very restricted I am very grateful to still be alive. Like you I am quietly confident about having a future even though my paraprotein is slowly rising again.
    Happy anniversary and here’s to many more.
    Love Mavis xxx

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  4. Helen says:

    It’s wonderful to see that photo again, and thank you for reminding me how long you have been on the upward scale. Time passes and the diagrams are so inspiring and I can’t believe so many years have passed since your diagnosis Onwards and Upwards

    Lots of love Helen

    I am away at the moment and it was wonderful to open my computer (5 hours behind you) to receive your email

    >

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  5. Colin Michaels says:

    So pleased that you are doing well ,miss your regular posts.
    Barbara and Colin

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  6. Tina Pettifer says:

    So happy for you. I’m just starting my 6th year in remission. I hope you carry on to see more years Myeloma free.

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  7. Elizabeth Law says:

    It was lovely to see you posting and read your positive thoughts as I approach the 8th anniversary of my own diagnosis, Jet!

    Onwards and upwards!

    Elizabeth in Bournemouth
    XXX

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  8. Gala says:

    Hi, Jet! Yours is an inspiring story. I am very happy for you. It’s incredible! My sister has Stage 3 MM and is currently being treated following a relapse. These graphs that you show in your blog: are they specific for MM or are they for cancer in general?

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    • Jet Black says:

      Hi Gala. Yes, they’re for myeloma. There really isn’t such a thing as ‘cancer in general’ There are a lot of different cancers, even a lot of different blood cancers.

      Please remember that while the graphs are heartening, they are only statistics, i.e. looking at overall numbers; they don’t say much about any one person’s chances of survival or longevity. Myeloma is still considered incurable.

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