Vol. 16, No. 2
Winthrop Neurosurgeon Offers Patients Relief From Severe Chronic Pain With Neurostimulation
Bug Bite & Once Controversial Treatment Saves Father of Six
Winthrop's New Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Center Offers State-Of-The-Art Treatment
Winthrop First NY Metro Hospital to Receive the ASA's Initial Performance Achievement Award
Fitness Program Gets Young Cancer Patients Back in the Game
Hagedorns' Extraordinary Gift Helps Make Miracles Grow Everyday
The Miracle Foundation Gives $50,000 in Support of Cancer Center for Kids
First Annual Mardi Gras Gala Benefits Cancer Education, Research and Support Services
Retired Bank Chairman's Exceptional Generosity Benefits Winthrop's Pediatric Facilities
A Smart Way to Give
Winthrop Attracts Newest Medical Talent To Residency Program
Gifts of Love for Winthrop's Littlest Patients
Cardiac Surgeon and Family Donate in Support of Heart Surgery Center Construction
Back to Publications
An infected bug bite quite possibly
saved Henry Schmitt's life nine years
ago. Suffering from the infection and
bouts of fatigue, the 63-year-old father
of six visited his primary care physician
for an evaluation. Fearing Lyme
Disease, Mr. Schmitt was surprised to
find a blood test instead revealed multiple
myeloma, a relatively rare form
of blood cell cancer in which abnormal
plasma cells form multiple lesions on
the bones. The disease causes patients
to battle bone pain, infections, anemia
and kidney failure.
Henry Schmitt consults with Winthrop
medical oncologist Jeffrey Schneider, MD.
According to the American
Cancer Society, approximately 16,000
Americans are diagnosed with multiple
myeloma each year after a routine
blood test, or an x-ray following a
"I was quite shocked at the diagnosis,"
Mr. Schmitt explained. "However,
I kept a positive outlook and started
asking questions to determine what the
next, and best, step would be."
Mr. Schmitt spent months extensively
researching the pros and cons of
potential treatments, including medications,
radiation therapy, chemotherapy,
or stem cell transplantation. He
received varying opinions during consultations
with physicians at hospitals
around the metropolitan region.
Considering all options, he chose the
care of Winthrop medical oncologist
Jeffrey Schneider, MD, who has been
treating cancer patients for the past 15
years and currently manages more
than 40 multiple myeloma patients.
"When a young patient like Mr
Schmitt is diagnosed with an incurable
malignancy, it is time to start 'thinking
outside of the box,'" explained Dr.
Schneider, who considered Mr. Schmitt
a candidate for tandem high-dose
chemotherapy and autologous stem cell
transplantation. A relatively controversial
treatment at that time, stem cell
transplantation uses the patient's own
stem cells to replace cells destroyed by
the intense chemotherapy.
Multiple Myeloma Symptoms:
"He bravely chose to pursue that
course and to become the first at
Winthrop to receive the treatment as
an outpatient," said Dr. Schneider.
- Bone pain, usually in the back
- Broken bones, usually in the spine
- Weakness and fatigue
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss
- Nausea or constipation
- Frequent urination
Prior to starting the transplant
program, Mr. Schmitt's stem cells were
collected, treated and frozen for storage.
After the first cycle of high-dose
chemo was completed in the spring of
1998, his stored cells were transplanted
back to restore his ability to
produce blood cells.
"The chemotherapy not only killed
the myeloma cells, but also his normal
stem cells. Once the chemotherapy
was excreted, the frozen stem cells
were thawed out and transplanted
back to Mr. Schmitt, allowing him to
restore his blood and immune system,"
explained Dr. Schneider.
Responding well to the treatment,
Mr. Schmitt continued chemotherapy,
and headed back to work before
returning to Winthrop for a second
transplant three months later.
"I was very happy to receive my
treatments on an outpatient basis at
Winthrop," Mr. Schmitt explained. "I
could keep my job and live as normal
a life as possible."
Today, Mr. Schmitt is off all anticancer
medications, but continues to
receive bone fortifying and other medications
to protect him against myeloma
recurrence. He also undergoes a skeleton
survey every six months to monitor
"My last follow-up evaluation was
very good, and there's been no evidence
of myeloma since 1998," Mr. Schmitt
explained. "I hold Winthrop in very high
regard, and I am very happy under Dr.
Schneider's care because he's always
five or six steps ahead of everyone else."
"At Winthrop's Institute for Cancer
Care, we continue to be at the cutting edge
of treatment for many forms of
cancer," added Dr. Schneider. "We
don't give up on our patients and we
are always exploring new innovative
approaches to treating the disease.
That perspective allows us to partner
with our courageous patients, like Mr
Schmitt, and move the field of oncology
forward. We are all gratified by Mr
Schmitt's success, and now recognize
that the once controversial stem cell
transplant approach is now a standard
treatment option for all patients
diagnosed with multiple myeloma."
For more information about the
treatment of multiple myeloma and
other cancer care services, call 1-