My Story: Young, Black & Living With Multiple Myeloma

Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo

My story begins just about eight years ago now – which all depends when you count my full and complete diagnosis the second go around. My life, just as any vibrant young woman on the move and focused on her career, took me through many positive and rewarding avenues and was full with many opportunities. Well, you know the old mantra…when things are looking too good the obstacles are not too far behind, and unfortunately for me it was my health that was to be my test.
 

I’ve always been diligent in meeting doctor’s appointments for preventive measures from as early as I can remember. I had my first mammogram before the age of 40, as my grandmother succumbed to breast cancer. I, being the eldest grandchild, was concerned and my thinking was it never hurts to be proactive. My doctor agreed.

This is the story of my life being proactive…and you know what? Sometimes that doesn’t stop you from going through things. The blow of hearing the news “cancer” does not soften, no matter how healthy or together you think you are.

Red Flags

A routine checkup with my primary doctor as I normally scheduled once a year was the call out that something may be wrong. The blood work doctors constantly seem to take actually does make sense, and the call out for me was my protein levels were a huge red flag.

My numbers were around 3000+ and the normal range is about 6-8 Gms, which I can’t recall the specifics but I believe 200-300 read were normal… and not 3000. My husband and I were about to travel to Mexico when I received a follow-up call with concern.

I was told to seek a hematologist…. A who??? This all came out of left field for me because I didn’t understand what the numbers really meant or what type of doctor was a hematologist. My doctor called me again the following week to check if I found an physician to review the matter further, and his stern voice and even more concerned tone told me this was, indeed, serious.