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June 2007 at the age of 35, Brian was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Multiple Myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cells, important cells of the immune system. The disease that has invaded Brian's body has brought the reality of how short life really is and how we take things for granted. In the midst of our fear, there is also strength and hope.
In February of 2007, Brian was diagnosed by our family doctor with walking pneumonia. Brian was given several antibiotics and steroids but was having a difficult time getting over it. He began complaining of back pain. Due to the type of job he has we, along with our family doctor, assumed it was a pulled muscle. Eventually Doc sent Brian for a MRI which found "something". Brian was sent to Greenville where we were told it was either osteoporosis or cancer. Nine tubes of blood, MRI, skeleton scan and two weeks later results confirmed our worst fear. June 2007, Brian was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Tumors had formed and fractured the vertebrae. July 6, 2007, Brian underwent Kyphoplasty surgery to repair the five fractured vertebrae. Immediate relief following surgery.
At the beginning of this journey, myeloma was in 40% of his bone marrow. After two rounds of chemotherapy it was less than 2%. End of September, Brian had a blood clot in his left leg that moved to his lung. "PE". He spent 12 days in the hospital, 6 of which was in CCU. Due to the damage the blood clots did to his lungs a break from chemotherapy was mandatory. Two days after Christmas, leaving our girls behind, Brian and I left for a three week stay in Greenville. Two days of high dose chemotherapy and then a stem cell transplant December 31, 2007. During transplant Brian's port became infected. Infection of the bloodstream led to removal of his port in January 2008. As of April 16, 2008, Brian is in "durable" remission. This means the myeloma is as low as it can get. It is "asleep". Feeling we have a second chance on life and with hope and prayer it will stay "asleep" for a long time. Brian is a wonderful husband, loving father, and awesome friend. He is a workaholic to provide for his family and even returned to work on June 2, 2008, just 154 days after transplant.
Even at his two year post transplant he remains in durable aka "partial" remission or what we refer to as Myeloma Remission. We have learned to appreciate our current situation, enjoy each day while we take it day by day and today is (partial) remission.
There is much power in prayer. Brian, the girls and I have a multitude of people praying for all four of us, calling all Angels to be by our side. We know our God is an awesome God and miracles do happen. Each day holds both blessings and burdens but knowing the One that makes all the difference is a peace beyond all understanding.
As for me: I am married to the most wonderful man on earth. Brian is my favorite person to hang out with. We have the type of love that makes a great story...two people who have always known each other as friends all of a sudden started to feel something more. It is the perfect combination of being swept away by the excitement of a new love while enjoying all the comfort and stability of a good trusted friend.
Life is a journey; we've traveled far but we have a long road ahead of us.