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Dr C K Sreedharan Iyengar (Multiple Myeloma Survivor)

Dr C K Sreedharan Iyengar (Multiple Myeloma Survivor)

It started with back pain 

At the age of 50, all of sudden I started having back pain. On several occasions, it was unbearable. I was not able to figure out the reason behind it. Somehow I was ignoring it. On the day of the Holi festival, I was playing with water and colors with my friends. Then all of sudden I had severe pain and I fell down. I was not able to move my body. Everyone assumed it as paralysis. My friends helped me to reach home. This time I decided to consult a general physician. Even my family members force me to visit the doctor at the earliest.


Assuming it was normal back pain, my doctor gave me painkillers. It gave me temporary relief. But again I had back pain. This time the doctor prescribed an X-ray. The report showed a fracture in the spinal cord. I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon. On consultation, he prescribed an MRI. The report revealed several bone damage. Then I went to many tests which confirmed my multiple myeloma cancer.

What is multiple myeloma cancer?

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Healthy plasma cells help you fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications.

Elderly people more prone to it

Your risk of multiple myeloma increases as you age, with most people diagnosed in their mid-60s.In my case, I suffered at the age of 50. Men are more likely to develop the disease than are women.If a brother, sister or parent has multiple myeloma, you have an increased risk of the disease.Myeloma cells inhibit your body's ability to fight infections.Multiple myeloma can also affect your bones, leading to bone pain, thinning bones and broken bones.Multiple myeloma may cause problems with kidney function, including kidney failure.As myeloma cells crowd out normal blood cells, multiple myeloma can also cause anemia and other blood problems.

Diagnosis was beyond expectation

This diagnosis was beyond expectation for me. I do not drink or smoke. I used to practice yoga. I always followed a routined life. So it was quite disturbing but instead of wasting my time in negative thought, I concentrated on treatment and how to cope with the situation. 


My treatment started with chemotherapy. I was given 4 cycles of chemotherapy. It included 16 injections.During the treatment I had to spend one year in hospital. 

After completion of the first round of treatment, my second phase of treatment started with stem cells. I was lucky that my own stem cell matched with me. For the treatment, I had to stay in the hospital for another three months. 

What are stem cell transplants?

Stem cell transplants are used to replace bone marrow cells that have been destroyed by cancer or destroyed by the chemo and/or radiation used to treat the cancer. There are different kinds of stem cell transplants. They all use very high doses of chemo (sometimes along with radiation) to kill cancer cells.

All of the blood cells in your body - white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets - start out as young (immature) cells called hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic means blood-forming. These are very young cells that are not fully developed. Even though they start out the same, these stem cells can mature into any type of blood cell, depending on what the body needs when each stem cell is developing. Stem cells mostly live in the bone marrow (the spongy center of certain bones). This is where they divide to make new blood cells. Once blood cells mature, they leave the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream. A small number of the immature stem cells also get into the bloodstream. These are called peripheral blood stem cells.

Never think of it

I never think of cancer. After being diagnosed, instead of wasting my energy on negative thoughts, I concentrated on treatment. I started doing some constructive work. I wrote two books on cancer, Have self belief in you and Overcome cancer through lifestyle orientation. These books have helped many patients in shaping their life positively post cancer.  I must say one more thing that Yoga helped me a lot in this direction. Always include yoga and walking in your lifestyle. It helps in  keeping the body healthy and mind positive. 

Cancer is not the end of life

Cancer is not the end of life. You have to keep your spirit high. If I can win then you also can. Don't fear cancer; cancer is not a devil. It is just irregular growth of cells in our body and it can be treated with medicine and a positive mindset. Have self belief in you. 

Cancer changed my life positively 

After getting cancer free I thought I must give something back to society. I motivate other cancer patients. I help them to think positive and get rid of this trauma. I have written two books on this topic and they are very much in demand. It has motivated many people.

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