Nov 17, 2021 Latest post:
Jan 16, 2023
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. In June, Bill was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (MM), a rare cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. He was diagnosed thanks to his primary care nurse practitioner who saw some concerning numbers on his blood work and refused to let it go. Looking back, we realize that he did have some symptoms prior to his diagnosis, such as fatigue, bone and joint pain (which we assumed was due to his arthritis), and 2 rib fractures that occurred while rolling over in bed. We knew almost nothing about this disease but later realized that one of his cousins has been living with it for 14 years now. Through our research, we discovered that it is almost always incurable, but in recent years has become very treatable. In approximately the last 10 years, a number of new and very encouraging treatments have come to the market and people are living relatively normal lives with the disease for many, many years. He has received most of his treatments at the St. Louis VA Medical Center. His oncologist is extremely well-educated, young, personable, and very knowledgeable. We have nothing but great things to say about the VA, the care that he has received there, and the professionalism and competence of his entire care team. He initially received 12 weeks of a 3-drug chemotherapy regimen and responded very well. The plan was to then have a Stem Cell/Bone Marrow Transplant (SCT) in late November/early December. However, due to an issue with his lungs, the SCT has been delayed and will now most likely take place in mid-January. Thankfully, the issue with his lungs has turned out to be not overly serious and will likely not require further treatment or delay the SCT any further. He is currently back on a 3-drug chemotherapy regimen, but one of the drugs is new. He will remain on this treatment until his SCT takes place. His SCT preparations, SCT, and some follow-up care will take place at Saint Louis University Hospital (SLU). We have met and begun working with the care team at SLU, and again, we are very impressed with their knowledge, professionalism, and friendliness. His doctor at SLU actually was responsible for some of the training for his doctor from the VA, so they have a very good working relationship, which makes it easy for Bill to move between the two different facilities. So far, except for some sometimes serious fatigue, a bit of bone/joint pain and weakness, and some periodic gastrointestinal problems, Bill has done very well. The SCT will be quite a challenge, will involve a 1-2 week hospital stay, and will likely result in some far more serious side effects, but he understands that this is a part of the process to reach full remission and return to a healthy and "normal" life. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.