Man nearly paralyzed by undiagnosed myeloma, a form of blood cancer

Jamie Hart never anticipated receiving a devastating diagnosis of incurable blood cancer and being informed that a single misstep could lead to paralysis when he went for an X-ray to address his painful neck.

Jamie, a resident of Newport, is among approximately 24,000 individuals in the UK who are grappling with myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

Unbeknownst to him, Jamie had been enduring a collapsed vertebra for months while persisting in coaching football and attending work.

“I had been actively engaged in playing football, constantly heading the ball,” Jamie revealed, reflecting on his strenuous activities.

At any given moment, there was a looming risk of my spinal cord snapping, potentially resulting in the worst-case scenario of paralysis.

In August 2016, Jamie, who was 49 years old at the time, began experiencing fatigue and discomfort in the back of his neck.

“I can only describe it as feeling like my head was on the verge of detaching,” he expressed. “It seemed as though my neck was disconnected.”

In August, he visited his general practitioner (GP) and received a referral for an X-ray. Despite the waiting period for the examination, he persisted in his physically demanding job at Bettws leisure centre and remained dedicated to coaching a football team.

In late October, Jamie proceeded with his scheduled X-ray appointment. After the radiographer requested him to wait momentarily, she unexpectedly left the room, leaving him alone for a prolonged period of approximately 20 minutes.

“I had the impression that she had forgotten about me, but in no time, a doctor appeared and urged me to remain still and not move. They relayed to me the discovery of abnormal images of my neck,” Jamie recounted.

The doctor clarified that Jamie had experienced a collapsed vertebra in his lower neck, necessitating the placement of a spinal collar to prevent paralysis. Additionally, he required the insertion of a neck cage to address the condition.

Without delay, Jamie was admitted to the ward where he had to maintain immobility while wearing his neck collar. Subsequently, he underwent a surgical procedure to stabilize his neck.

Following the operation, Jamie received the news that the damage to his neck had been attributed to myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

“I had absolutely no prior knowledge about that,” he confessed, reflecting on his lack of awareness regarding the condition.

Myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that originates in the bone marrow, is a condition that Jamie was diagnosed with. According to Myeloma UK, a charity dedicated to the cause, although it is incurable, the majority of cases can be effectively managed through treatment.

Typically, treatment for myeloma leads to periods of remission; however, patients often experience relapses, necessitating additional treatment. Upon receiving this life-altering news, Jamie expressed gratitude towards the doctor and has since made conscious efforts to maintain a positive outlook.

“I’ve been handed a significant setback, but I’ve accepted the reality that I cannot alter it,” he expressed.

“Even if I have a mere 10 to 15 years, or possibly even less, to live, why should I squander my time fretting over things I cannot influence?”

“I am resolute in living life to the fullest, regardless of its duration.”

According to Jamie, the news of his diagnosis had a more profound impact on his family. He has been in a committed relationship with his wife for 20 years and is a father to an 18-year-old son, a step-daughter who is 23 years old, and a three-year-old grandson.

Following the diagnosis, Jamie spent a month hospitalized, underwent 25 rounds of radiotherapy, and had to retire from his job. In June 2019, he underwent a stem cell transplant, which resulted in a period of remission.



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By Ryan

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