A life changing experience
On Thursday 27th Feb, whilst running a training course in Ipswich, what I thought had been a niggling, muscular-type back pain took a dramatic turn for the worse. My back pain was so bad that at lunch time I had to lie down flat on my back and could not stand up. An ambulance was called to take me from the classroom to Ipswich hospital. X-rays revealed that one of my lumbar vertebrae had ‘crumbled’ badly. MRI and CT scans confirmed the damage and indicated Myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer as the most likely cause of the problem.
Spinal surgery was successfully conducted on Monday 3rd March to reconstruct the vertebra and take a bone sample for analysis. Ipswich hospital is a regional centre of excellence for spinal surgery and I received excellent care there.
On Wednesday 12th March, I was transferred by ambulance the 220 miles back to Airedale hospital in Yorkshire, and moved into the specialist Haematology ward 19 once a bed was available.
Further tests were carried out at Airedale on Monday 17th, including a full skeletal survey by X-ray that revealed that the cancer has caused extensive bone damage including the spine, pelvis, jaw and other areas – that’s why it used to be called ‘Multiple Myeloma’. The test results back from the vertebra biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of Myeloma. Blood tests showed I have the variant known as ‘Light chain’ Myeloma.
Due to my young age (52 is a bit young for this sort of thing) and expected ability to withstand an intensive treatment regime, I was offered the opportunity to participate in the Myeloma XI clinical trial for my treatment. Participation in this trial involved a move to the Bradford Royal Infirmary. The transfer was made on Thursday 20th and steroid treatment commenced on Friday 21st. On Monday 24th, my inital ‘pathway’ through the trial has been determined. Today, Tuesday 24th March sees the start of a 4-6 month period of CTD chemotherapy, to be followed by stem cell collection and transplant treatment.
Implications for OTT and our customers
Firstly we’d like to thank our customer in Ipswich for the direct practical support in coping with the immediate aftermath of my collapsed backbone during their course. Very much appreciated.
We’d also like apologise to our customers who have already been directly affected by the cancellation of courses that I was due to be running in the USA now. Thank you for your kind words and understanding.
As you can appreciate there is still a lot of uncertainty about the coming months, and how I will respond to the treatment regime. At the moment I am feeling fine although with reduced mobility from the spinal surgery, but I can stand, walk and manage stairs slowly.
So we would appreciate your patience through this period, I’ll be home soon and working from there, responding to emails and working on some consultancy assignments.
We will be accelerating our plans for the “Next Gen OTT” with delivery of learning materials for our advanced certification programmes via alternative formats to live training. We are also working on putting into place a strategic partnership for delivery of OTT’s high quality practical skills training programmes including the Certified Optical Fibre Installer and customised practical skills courses. We still have the capacity for delivering these at the moment, so please get in touch with the office if you have any requirements of this nature. We’ll be up and running with the CFCE and CONA certifications again soon. Register your interest and we’ll let you know when they’re available.
Further Information on Myeloma
General information about Myeloma is available on the Myeloma UK website at www.myeloma.org.uk
Details of the clinical trial I will be participating in are at: www.myeloma.org.uk/information/myeloma-uk-publications-list/clinical-trials-and-novel-treatments/myeloma-xi-infoguide/
I would like to consider my participation in this trial as a form of sponsored endurance event and use this as an opportunity to raise funds for the specialist charity for Myeloma in the UK. This endurance event starts on Tuesday 25th March and will run for 4-6 months.
I have set up an event at http://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Ednay to make it easy for everyone to sponsor me directly. Professional and corporate sponsors from the worldwide fibre optics community are particularly welcome to contribute along with friends, family from closer to home. Please use Social Media and all your contacts to spread the word.
You’ll be able to follow my progress through the trial via Social Media, with updates on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and it’s a good opportunity for me to get to grips with Twitter!
You might also like to consider participating in other charity events in aid of Myeloma UK. Interesting to find out the colour of the charity is ORANGE http://www.myeloma.org.uk/get-involved/plan-a-fundraising-event/go-orange/
….those of you who know Sarah and I well will appreciate the significance of this colour for us: