Patient Story

Jimmy’s story: Triumph over multiple myeloma

Jimmy with children

Jimmy Gray’s journey began in January 2022 when he noticed his health deteriorating. 

“I became less active, and my appetite and weight had decreased,” said Jimmy. He had also lost around 20 pounds. “All I wanted to do was stay in my recliner.” 

His wife, Mary Ann, suspected depression, especially after Jimmy had lost both of his brothers in 2021 — one from multiple myeloma, the other from Parkinson’s. 

"I reassured her it wasn't that," Jimmy said. "I simply lacked the energy for anything." 

However, Mary Ann persisted and made an appointment for Jimmy to see his local doctor in Vidalia, Georgia, who ordered a complete lab profile. The results showed Jimmy’s hemoglobin was very low. He was referred to a hematologist in Savannah. 

After undergoing further testing and a bone marrow exam, the diagnosis hit hard: stage 2 multiple myeloma. 

“I was shocked as tears started running down my face,” Jimmy said. “All I could do was think about my older brother who only lived less than three years with the same disease.” 

Jimmy was initially treated by his local hematologist. He received weekly Velcade injections and medication, including Revlimid and Decadron. Once stable, his doctor suggested high-dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, culminating in a referral to Northside Hospital's Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program in Atlanta. 

Northside Hospital is one of the top multiple myeloma cancer centers in the U.S. and is one of just three transplant centers in Georgia. At Northside, patients with multiple myeloma receive all of their treatment with their local referring physician and are only sent to the hospital when they are ready for a transplant. 

Jimmy_familyJimmy finally went to Northside in September 2022. A battery of tests preceded his transplant. Hair loss and physical changes marked the high-dose chemotherapy phase. "I barely recognized myself," he admitted. 

Transplant day finally arrived on Oct. 19, 2022. 

“I can say that all of the testing was painless and nurses and staff were very sweet and nice,” Jimmy said. 

After the transplant, Northside’s Dr. Lawrence Morris put Jimmy on a maintenance dose of 10 mg of Revlimid each day. He had to go back to Northside for follow-up — at 100 days, three months, six months and one year. 

Today, Jimmy is in 100% remission. 

“I am currently able to do all of the things that I love and enjoy,” Jimmy said. “My children, grandchildren, my church family, fishing, playing golf — I am able to enjoy life to the fullest.” 

Jimmy attributes his journey's success to a network of support, including his wife and family. 

He commended the care received, particularly at Northside Hospital. "I continue to be amazed at the level of care that I receive.” 

Learn more about multiple myeloma treatment at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute.

* The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50% five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions.


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