When did you first notice something didn't feel right?
I started having backaches that seemed to come out of nowhere. I couldn't carry my daughter on my shoulders or play with her on the floor. Back spasms woke me up in the middle of the night. My doctor gave me muscle relaxers but they didn't help.
Eventually, a back specialist ordered some imaging and that's when the doctors first suspected a malignancy. A bone marrow biopsy showed I had multiple myeloma.
How did you react to the diagnosis?
I Googled "multiple myeloma" and read everything I could find. When I saw that the average life expectancy after diagnosis was two to five years, all I could think about was that I would miss seeing my daughter grow up.
What did you do next?
I met with a Bay Area oncologist who knew about UCSF and Dr. Wolf. [The oncologist] told me he thought I'd be a good candidate for some clinical trials going on at UCSF.
I met Dr. Wolf a few weeks later. He explained to me what the study entailed and how the treatment plan would go.
What was your impression of Dr. Wolf?
He was calm, cool and collected. He exuded confidence, which put me at ease.
At the time, I didn't realize that I was dealing with "the man." Later, I learned that Dr. Wolf was the main person in charge of everything related to blood disorders at UCSF. I felt really lucky to have him overseeing my care.