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Mr Gladstone's life was 'completely changed' when he was diagnosed with myeloma blood cancer during a routine test.

Mr Gladstone's life was 'completely changed' when he was diagnosed with myeloma blood cancer during a routine test.


When Peter Robson went to the doctor for a routine check-up, he never imagined the results would change his life forever.

Scans revealed his vertebrae had been gnawed away, his jaw fractured and his ribs punctured.

“It was like termites were eating away at the bones from the inside,” Robson said.

Shocked and confused, the Gladstone man was sent to a haematologist (specialist in blood disorders) who discovered he had multiple myeloma, a rare type of blood cancer that affects plasma cells. did.

“Went home [from the scans] “So I got a call and they said, 'Peter, you should go to Brisbane now,'” he said.

“Well…at that exact moment, my life changed forever.”

A bright bear and a black-haired man hold their heads inside a woman wearing glasses and earrings.

Peter and Tricia said they are adjusting to their new life with help from the Leukemia Foundation.(Provided by: Tricia Robson)

Mr Robson worked full time as a welding inspector on large commercial projects in central Queensland before moving into the world of chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants to save lives.

His wife Tricia said the family was in “complete shock”.

“I think we were all in a state of fear and anxiety because we had no idea what we were going to find,” Robson said.

“It was a shock…a complete shock. And you end up in a spiral of emotions, not being able to control what's going on.”

A new treatment that gives hope

It's been nine years since Robson was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and although there is no cure, treatments continue.

Kathryn Huntley, director of health services at the Leukemia Foundation, said myeloma patients had weaker bones and more bruising.

A smiling woman with bright blonde hair wearing a black shirt.

Kathryn Huntley from the Leukemia Foundation says new treatments are extending the lives of people with myeloma.(Provided by: Leukemia Foundation)

“The exact cause of myeloma development is not actually known, and unfortunately, our actions are limited when it comes to screening and prevention to thwart the possibility of myeloma developing. “There's nothing we can do,” she says.

“While it affects the blood, it also affects the strength of the bones, and the secretions that result from myeloma can weaken the bones.”

A woman wearing glasses and a floral dress is smiling next to a bald man wearing a navy jumper.

The Robson family has been on a life-changing journey since Peter was diagnosed with blood cancer.(Provided by: Tricia Robson)

Huntley said new treatments and research are allowing people to live longer with the disease.

CAR T-cell immunotherapy, in particular, is providing a glimmer of hope for patients.

“I have worked in this field for more than 20 years and have seen the introduction of new treatments extend the lives of people with myeloma…but the work is not done.” said Huntley.

“He's a fighter.”

Mr Robson's next appointment with a specialist is next week.

Health checkups can be a stressful time for the family, especially after nearly dying from the disease last year.

The myeloma was eating away at the bones in his left arm so badly that he needed surgery and another stem cell transplant.

Mr Robson said: “Peter went into cardiac arrest and almost died from it.”

”[But] He is a fighter and has always kept his outlook very positive and taken everything in his stride. ”

A man wearing a light blue hospital gown is assisted from a hospital bed by a nurse wearing a dark blue uniform.

Peter was saved by a nurse while hospitalized in Brisbane.(Provided by: Tricia Robson)

Ms Robson said the impact had completely changed their lives, both emotionally and financially.

“We've been on a long journey trying to get back to some kind of normalcy…but the truth is, we'll never be back to normal,” she said.

“I don't know whether to be happy or sad or anything. You really don't know what's going to happen every day. So I just want to give a big shoutout to the Leukemia Foundation.”

A smiling man and woman wearing red and white Santa hats and green Christmas shirts

The Robsons spent last Christmas in hospital, where Peter underwent further treatment.(Provided by: Tricia Robson)

Mr Huntley said an estimated one in 12 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma each year.

She said medical research was key to finding treatments for myeloma and improving the quality of life for the 20,000 Australians living with the disease.

“The Leukemia Foundation not only invests in research so that we can find treatments that can ruin the lives of people diagnosed with myeloma, but also helps people overcome the challenges of facing years of treatment. I’m here for it.”

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