Living with multiple myeloma: Survived a viral eye infection

look on Flickr”>Viral infection in both eyesWaiting in the ER

My third week on chemo treatment started well. I was fatigued a bit and had a cold (sinus and coughing issues), but didn’t have any major side effects to my chemo. I experienced hiccups a few times but only for a few minutes at most. Last Wednesday evening, my eyes became photosensitive to light. I couldn’t look at my phone or laptop with my left eye in particular without intense pain. Thursday morning I went to the ER and was sent to the Ophthalmology Emergency Outpatient Clinic. There I learned that I had a viral infection (adenovirus) in both eyes. I was worried it was related to my chemo treatment or caused by my multiple myeloma, but my eye pressure was found to be normal (12 left eye, 13 right eye), so I’m happy that there weren’t any Glaucoma problems. As this was highly contagious, the doctor warned me not to touch anything, to avoid social contact, and to rest lots as it would go away in a few days. On Monday, my eyes went back to normal.

This week I have off from chemo pills. It feels good to have a break. I start Cycle 2 on Monday. I’m really feeling blessed that I haven’t had any severe side effects common to my treatment over these first 3 weeks.

Happy thoughts keep me positive about life!

I love photography and use self-portraits to help me cope with my disease. Taking pictures improves my well-being. Each week I will be taking a self-portrait that represents some aspect of my experiences on chemo.

Don't touch anything - Isolated due to viral infection
Self-isolation due to viral infection

To recap: I have Multiple Myeloma and anemia, a rare blood cancer. It is incurable, but treatable. From February to November 2013, I received Velcade chemo through weekly in-hospital injections as an outpatient. From February 9th 2015, I am on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex).

About tyfn

From December 2019 I've been on Darzalex (daratumumab) IV chemo with Velcade (Bortezomib) injection chemo + dexamethasone. Have Multiple Myeloma + anemia, a rare incurable cancer of the immune system. Life goal: To spread awareness about Multiple Myeloma through my self-portraits. UBC MSc Grad.
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6 Responses to Living with multiple myeloma: Survived a viral eye infection

  1. Alaina says:

    Hi Phillip! Good to hear it wasn’t anything too serious and that it cleared up well. Hope Cycle 2 goes well for you and you get to enjoy your week off in the meantime.

    • tyfn says:

      Yes, I’m feeling very happy that I haven’t had any major side effects. It is still early and I don’t know how I will feel a year or 2 from now on treatment, but I’m staying positive and focused on happy thoughts each day.

  2. Oh I’m pleased you are feeling better and that you have a weekend off to look forward to! Sending good vibes your way 🙂

  3. Carolee888 says:

    I really like that photo of you in social isolation. Glad that it turned out to be a virus that won’t leave you with any least damage to your eyes. I have glaucoma and have lost half of my vision in my left eye. Taking 5 eyedrops a day and hoping that staves off further damage at least for a while.

    • tyfn says:

      I am really lucky that I don’t have glaucoma. Cancer has contributed to a number of eye/vision scares. When I was diagnosed I was given pamidronate injections to keep my bones strong. They caused occular inflammation in my eyes (couldn’t look at any light source) and I had to see a Glaucoma Specialist who responded quickly with eye drop treatment, so that I didn’t get Glaucoma. I also had a stroke in my visual cortex a few years ago caused by TTP, which caused temporary vision difficulties and my last chemo in 2013 (dexamethasone and Velcade) caused my eye pressure to increase significantly (due to the dex) requiring drops to lower them.

      Sorry to hear about your glaucoma. I hope any further damage is put at bay.

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