Myeloma Awareness hits close to home for Birmingham survivor

Difficulty of diagnosing multiple myeloma

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s a type of cancer that can sneak up on you.

“The way I actually found out about it is I was initially diagnosed with congestive heart failure,” said Birmingham resident Deidra Jones.

Her daughter, who attended medical school, had her doubts.

“She was talking to me on the phone and they were getting ready to discharge me, and they were talking about my bloodwork,” said Jones.

Her daughter asked that they test her for multiple myeloma, and it came back positive.

Symptoms of multiple myeloma can be lead doctors to make the wrong diagnosis, so advocates want people to know what to look for.

It’s more common in African Americans.

“They are diagnosed twice as often as whites,” said Tracy Moore with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society started the Myeloma Link project in Birmingham to spread awareness.

“We want to share information about treatments, and how there are cutting edge treatments,” said Moore.

Treatments including monoclonal antibodies, also used to treat COVID patients, clinical trials and more, in addition to chemo, which Jones went through.

“It was really really bad, I was in and out of the hospital a lot,” recalled Jones.

Ultimately, she was able to ring this special bell, celebrating victory over what could have taken her life.

“I’ve been in remission since March of 2019,” she said.

You can call 1-800-955-4572 with questions about blood cancer as well as how to get support, both financially and emotionally.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.