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Team #Thankful

Multiple Miles for Myeloma 2019 is just over a month away.   Once again, a team of people has come together to walk/run in this 5k/10k event.  This year's team, as we did last year, will go under the name #Thankful.  This name is even more appropriate now than it was last year when we participated only a month after I finally got out of hospital and began chemotherapy.  Since then, we are thankful for God's faithfulness seen in the support of so many people.  We are thankful for the knowledge of doctors and pharmaceutical researchers.  We are thankful for effective chemo treatments and a successful stem cell transplant.  We are thankful for access to leading edge chemo maintenance drugs.  We are thankful to be in remission.  We are #Thankful....

Many of these things could not have happened without research into myeloma.  Doctors that have helped me this past year are directly involved in that research through the University of Alberta.  Team #Thankful is participating in MM4M …
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One Year

One year ago.
May 16, 2018: "A bone marrow biopsy will confirm it,  but your test results thus far make us 95% certain you have a blood cancer called multiple myeloma."

How do you celebrate the one year anniversary of hearing those words?

You don't. You acknowledge and you reflect. In your reflection, you find grief and loss. Loss of health, loss of the work so loved,  loss of long bike rides with your spouse and golf games with friends. You reflect, and grieve the knowledge that your damaged body doesn't allow you to be the jump-on-the-trampoline or wrestle-on-the-floor grandpa. The grief reaches deep into present life and into the life you had envisioned in the future.

But it isn't all loss and grief.  Not even close!  Reflecting on the past year brings you to places of deep, powerful love.  Love from Kathy who was (and is) unwavering in living her wedding vows, "in sickness and in health."  Unconditionallove from children and grandchildren even thou…

We Are Thankful!

I am just finishing up my first four week cycle of maintenance chemotherapy.  The side affects so far have been relatively minor and I feel as well as I have felt since diagnosis 10 months ago.  We are thankful!
Maintenance chemo involves three oral medications.  One of these medications for the next cycle arrived via FedEx today.  Believe it or not, in that box are three small, very expensive pills for days 1,8 and 15 of the next cycle.  The cancer in my blood is trying to gain strength after being set back by the stem cell transplant.  This medication along with 21 daily doses of a slightly less expensive medication are meant to continually deliver a knockout punch to those cancer cells.  This  will continue (hopefully for years) until the cancer gains enough strength to withstand those knockout punches.  These meds, by God's grace, are buying us time.  We are thankful!
 There are very few people who could afford the monthly cost for these medications.   Amazingly, we receive t…

Wait...

For months, our doctor had said that he would have a much better idea of how effective the chemo and stem cell transplant were when he did a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan.  That scan was scheduled for Feb 20, but disappointingly, the radioactive isotopes needed for the scan were not delivered. We would have to wait until March 1 and then wait until today (Mar 7) to get results.

Wait...
The delay seemed like a long time, especially since at our last visit we were told that we were at a time in the process where the cancer would begin to gain strength again.  This wait was delaying the next stage of the treatment.

Wait...
Today we had our "results visit" and the report was worth the wait. The scan showed no significant areas of cancer growth and the blood work was characterized as better than would have been expected.  My blood, even though myeloma is a blood cancer, looked a lot like everyone else's blood.  Medicine provided treatment,  your prayers and kind wor…

No News Is Good News

The old axiom is:  "No news is good news."  I was reminded today in a phone call that there has not been any "news" on this blog for quite some time.  Well, no news has indeed been good news.  After my discharge from The Cross Cancer Institute a little more than a month and a half ago, the miracle of the stem cell transplant has continued.  We were told 3 to 6 months of healing, gaining weight and building strength.  By God's grace that seems to have happened much quicker for me.  I have been feeling well for quite some time now.  So well, in fact, I decided to skate on the pond with my grandsons on New Year's Day.  I had a foolish fall that has left me on crutches since . . . but I don't want to talk about it!

As you can see from the pictures, I recently celebrated a birthday with some of those who have journeyed closely with me. My perspective on milestones like a 60th birthday has changed.  I will be thankful for each birthday I get to celebrate wit…

Pathway Through

On November 13 I entered this place for a "healing assault" on my body.  At that time I thought this pathway was going to be in the shape of a vee.  Steady line down to the bottom and then bouncing back up with a steady line on the other side.  I was half right.  The chemo induced descent to the bottom was pretty linear.  The bounce back is anything but.  There is a long way to go and the line is filled with ups and downs and plateaus.  It is teaching Kathy and I patience.
But here is the good news:  the picture above shows me walking out of my room on Station 31 at the Cross for the last time.  I have been discharged!  God has faithfully provided a pathway through the stem cell transplant process.  We will trust that God will faithfully provide the significant amount of healing that still needs to take place.  We thank you for helping us to keep the faith in this and hope to be able to start getting together with many of you soon.

Bottoming Out

Today is Day 11, since the stem cells were put back in my body.  While they have been maturing, the chemo has continued to effectively wipe out my bone marrow.  My blood numbers seem to show that I have bottomed out.  Our prayers are that any day now we will see those blood numbers begin to bounce back up.  That will be a clear indication that the stem cells are doing their thing by making new bone marrow.

My Mom often said to us kids, "patience is a virtue."  We are having some trouble being virtuous!   Up until now, the motto has been "it has to get worse before it gets better."  We can't wait for the "get worse" to be finished and "gets better" to begin.  Please pray with us as we know you have been.