Keith’s story - myeloma cancer treatment

Keith Thomas was diagnosed with myeloma, a bone marrow cancer, in 2013. After chemotherapy treatment, he was referred to The Royal Marsden for a stem cell transplant.

Getting diagnosed

“I had been getting severe pins and needles in my feet which had been keeping me awake at night. I was lucky that my GP really looked into this and gave me a few rounds of blood tests.

When I received my results she said, “there is no easy way to tell you this, but you have an incurable cancer”. When I was told the news, it was a surreal moment. The good news was it was treatable, and I was quickly put on a fast track for chemotherapy treatment to prepare for a stem cell transplant, which I had at The Royal Marsden.

Keith and his wife
Keith and his wife

Everyone in the NHS has been wonderful throughout my treatment, but at The Royal Marsden they were exceptional. They were so kind and helpful – everything you could wish for. The stem cell collection was done on my birthday and I was lucky to do it in just one visit. I spent six hours on a machine having my stem cells extracted, which was fascinating, and the following week I received the reimplantation.

I have always wondered how these cells, injected back into my bloodstream, manage to rebuild the bone marrow inside my bones. It’s just amazing.

Making positive progress

I needed to stay at The Royal Marsden while my immune system rebuilt. I was warned this could take two to three weeks, but I was able to go back home after just six days and continue my recovery.

Three months later tests showed that my stem cell transplant had been a success. Although the type of cancer I had was classed as incurable but treatable. I was now in remission.

The importance of research

After three and a half years I relapsed and was put on a brand-new drug to treat the cancer. After a further whole year in remission, I found out earlier this year that I have relapsed again.

I don’t know what drugs I will be given this time, but I do know that the amazing research into myeloma is creating new treatment options all the time. As with my last relapse, I have been monitored to determine when and what my treatment will be.

Last year, my wife and I decided to update our Will, using the Free Will Service and left a gift to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. It was a way of saying thank you to the hospital for the fantastic treatment I have received and for saving my life. I also wanted to help The Royal Marsden carry out research in the future, something that is now more important than ever. It felt like the right place and I am proud to have left a gift in my Will to the Charity.

Read more stories on our blog