My name is Sherley Roy. I’m 48 years old, and I’m a home care nurse. In March 2017, following two weeks of rest and medication after injuring my back at work, my health deteriorated, and I was taken to the emergency room at the hospital. I was vomiting and could no longer urinate. I was dehydrated and confused. But I never imagined that my situation was critical.
I was told that my kidneys were no longer working. I was experiencing acute kidney failure, with multiple fractures of the ribs and vertebrae. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed that I had stage 3 kappa light chain multiple myeloma.
I started to undergo treatments. I received chemotherapy, an autologous stem cell transplant and, lastly, an allograft from a 25-year-old German donor.
When I was first diagnosed with “incurable multiple myeloma,” it felt like my whole world was crumbling. I was very sick. But I trusted my healthcare team. It was a long, tough uphill battle, but I never lost hope. On the tougher days, I told myself, “tomorrow will be better,” which was often the case. I was resilient, even during the most difficult times. My new motto was: “one day at a time,” and, on the toughest days, “one minute at a time.” And, slowly but surely, I got through it, different and stronger than before.
Despite everything, there was very little rejection, and I recovered quickly. It’s been three years since I was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and more than a year and half since my allograft. I’ve now been in complete remission for one year. I’m doing really well, and I’m in great shape. I’m enjoying life to the fullest.
Since I’ve been in remission, I listen to my body. When I feel tired, I stop. I manage my emotions better. I express them instead of keeping them inside for fear of upsetting someone. Every morning, I walk my dog along the river, and enjoy the beauty all around me. This routine has helped me keep my spirits up and manage my anxiety. Some days are harder. Even when I have no energy, I force myself to get dressed and go outside for a few minutes.
We don’t all respond the same way when faced with illness. Not everyone has access to the cutting-edge treatments that I received. Some healthcare systems can’t support them because of a lack of research or funding. I feel extremely grateful and fortunate to have benefited from advancements in multiple myeloma treatment. Every day is a gift, and every birthday is a joy because I have the privilege of getting older. Cancer has taught me to enjoy life. Now, I try as best I can to raise awareness about this little-known type of cancer.