The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure.
Real LifeFrank Gravinsky
When Frank Gravinksy first called the IMF Hotline, he feared he was dying. Severe back pain had become seven broken ribs and seven crumbling discs. He lost five inches of height. He was so hunched over he was severely compressing his lungs; he needed to use an oxygen tank 24 hours a day.
An oncologist had suggested myeloma as a potential diagnosis but ruled it out when no indication appeared in Frank's blood work, yet there was no alternative explanation for Frank's deterioration. Desperate, Frank called the IMF's toll-free number.
The IMF's Hotline Specialists informed Frank that myeloma's absence in blood work occurs in 10% of all cases. They suggested alternative ways to test for the disease. Frank brought the information back to his oncologist, but he wouldn't budge.
Frank called the Hotline again. They urged him to get a second opinion. When he did, his myeloma was officially diagnosed. He was immediately put on treatment.
Frank continues to rely on the IMF. After reading the IMF's Understanding Kyphoplasty publication, Frank recognized it as a procedure that could help him. In 2007, the IMF used its resources to find Frank a local kyphoplasty specialist with myeloma experience. He now stands up straight and only has to use an oxygen tank at night.
An avid golf player before his troubles, Frank's myeloma is in remission and he is back on the links. "If two years ago you would have told me I'd be where I am today, I don't know how I could have believed you," Frank says. "Anyone I meet now with myeloma, I tell them if they have questions, go to the IMF. Don't listen to anyone else.
"Without a doubt— without a shadow of a doubt— the IMF saved my life."