In this podcast Brenda Drumm reflects on all that has happened since her diagnosis in 2007 with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

This podcast made available from RNN.ie

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Brenda Drumm

Brenda Drumm is from Newbridge Co Kildare where she lives with her husband Bryan and two children Emma (12) and Cathal (4). She has worked in the Catholic Communications Office in Maynooth since November 2000.

In this interview Brenda talks to Miriam Gormally of RNN about why she considers herself to be lucky. Brenda spoke on the same theme at the recent novena in Clane Parish.

Diagnosis

In January 2007 Brenda was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. Myeloma is a complex debilitating cancer of the blood with no known cause and, despite many advances in treatment, no cure.

Around 200 new patients are diagnosed in Ireland every year. There is no known cause of myeloma but there are thought to be multiple predisposing factors including exposure to petroleum based products and pesticides. The most common symptoms include severe pain, bone fractures and fatigue and it can have a profound effect on the quality of life of those with the condition.

Myeloma is the second most common cancer of the blood. In Ireland on average approximately 187 new patients are diagnosed with myeloma each year (Irish Cancer Society, 2006). Myeloma is more common in men than women and incidence increases with age. 15% are less than 60 years, a further 15% are aged 60-65 years, 2% are under 40 years and childhood myeloma is extremely rare.

Transplant

Brenda’s treatment commenced in January 2007 and carried on for several months culminating in a life-saving stem cell transplant in July 2007. Brenda’s condition is reviewed monthly and she will be on medication for the rest of her life.

Since her transplant in 2007, Brenda has been able to return to work in the Catholic Communications Office in Maynooth and she was recently Project Manager for the Year of Vocation in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Myeloma Awareness Week

Later this month Brenda will be part of the launch of Ireland’s first ever Myeloma Awareness Week which runs from Sunday 21 – Sunday 28 June 2009.

Brenda is responsible for developing a new dedicated Irish website for people living with myeloma – www.mymyeloma.ie (this site is due to go live in about a fortnight, in time for inaugural awareness week).