Darlene Kasenberg

First post: Mar 21, 2018 Latest post: Nov 26, 2023
Welcome to our Mom’s CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place.  This site will be updated periodically (not daily or weekly) as her condition changes.

My mom did not feel sick but she was...
Her oncologist ended up telling her that she was so healthy, she had to deplete her health and reserves so significantly to notice she was ill!

On December 28, 2017 bloodwork indicated that my mom’s kidneys were barely functioning. This resulted in a hospitalization to try and determine the cause of her kidney failure. As is typical during this type of process there was fear, hope, disappointment and frustration as we worked toward a diagnosis. On December 30, 2017 my mom discharged from the hospital facing the possibility of two separate but equally disheartening terminal diagnoses. My mother, determined to “live,” attended the New Year’s Eve party they had planned with friends. Thus, the rest of the family followed in her footsteps attending our holiday get together as planned.

Unfortunately, On January 4, 2018 we were informed my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. This disease is classified as a blood cancer. According to my teenage son, the easy explanation is that the plasma cells in her blood are over replicating (like Star Wars storm troopers)...making the same copy of the bad plasma cell. Furthermore, these cells do not have a kill switch (no natural cell death) so they overpopulate leaving little room in the blood for other things like red blood cells and white blood cells. Therefore, she needs Jedi Fighters (chemo) to come and knock back the droves of cancer plasma cells. My mom’s Jedi Fighter’s (chemo) started January 13, 2017!  

As treatment began and the month progressed, my mom struggled with her stomach bloating and feeling full (even though she had not eaten). She underwent a biopsy of her intestinal tract and came home with another diagnosis. On January 30th, 2018 she was diagnosed with Amyloidosis. The other name we refer to it is: “the awful A word,” in part, because it is hard to say, harder to spell, and pretty darn rare! This is a separate terminal disease in addition to the myeloma. Basically, your body creates a protein called amyloid. When you have this disease the amyloid starts depositing into organs, impacting that organ’s ability to do its job. Therefore, my mom’s stomach/gut issues are due to the amyloidosis shutting down or slowing her intestines natural ability to work.

At the outset of her treatment, we were told that she would need 4-6 rounds of chemotherapy followed by stem cell replacement. One round of chemo is approximately one month. She currently receives chemo every week!  There has been some modification in her meds but that is still our treatment plan! At this time, medicine and science do not offer us a cure for either diagnosis. With a disease like this, we understand she is fighting tooth and nail for more TIME...and man is she fighting! She appreciates your support and words of hope and encouragement, they truly brighten her day.

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