Welcome to my Caring Bridge website. Cassie and I will use it to keep all of our family, friends and acquaintances updated in one place. Your support and words of hope and encouragement thus far have been wonderful and our whole family is grateful. Thank you for visiting and please come back often.
First thing I'd like to take care of is that please do not feel obligated to donate to this website. I have donated more than enough to support my individual site therefore, nobody should have to unless so inclined. I'm also not looking to raise funds either.
On November 9, 2017 I was officially diagnosed with Stage 2 (of 3 stages) Multiple Myeloma. Here's a little history about the disease and how it is/has affected me physically. Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells , a type of White Blood Cells (WBC) in the bone marrow that are responsible for making antibodies. In Greek, the language of most medical terms, "Myelo" refers to blood-producing cells in the bone marrow, and "oma" refers to a tumor or mass of cancer cells. A Malignant (cancerous) plasma cell is called a myeloma cell that can appear as a tumor or an area of bone loss. In either case this is called a lesion. Finally, Myeloma is called Multiple because it frequently involves multiple areas in the body as is the case of me. On August 19th while going from the shower to the bedroom, it felt like someone had hit me across the mid to lower back - full force with a Louisville Slugger. I could not walk, twist, or bend. The pain was excruciating. We went to the Emergency Room where they dismissed it as "muscle spasms" even though I could locate a centralized point along my spine where it hurt the absolute worse. Fortunately within 48 hours and with the help of our long time family doctor (Lo Lumsden) over the next nearly two months, I was seen by various doctors resulting in several x-rays, blood tests, and even a chiropractor to ease the pain and find out where or what was causing this pain. On November 9th and with the reading of a MRI, it was discovered I had a fractured "T-9" and T-11" vertebrae. Also, "L-5" and the lower spine showed a condition called spinal stenosis which is similar to arthritis on steroids. Doc Lo Lumsden called in a few favors on my behalf and I was able to be seen by one of the top five hematologist-oncologists specializing in myeloma and other diseases of the plasma cells in all of the Tidewater area. Susan and I immediately felt comfortable with Dr. Conklin and his "healthcare team". He ordered numerous tests including a "bone survey" (x-ray every bone area in the entire body), more specific blood tests, and a bone marrow test (taken from inside the pelvis bone) to be positive of what we were dealing with. Once the results started coming in, he discovered I already had lesions (paper hole -punch shaped holes) in my upper right arm bone and upper left leg bone. He discussed in detail a course of action so as to put the cancer into remission (this cancer is incurable) as quickly as possible. This includes 8 cycles of chemo, some pain management drugs, and of course, more tests. Through this blog, I will be able to take you with me through the good, bad, and of course, the ugly. Some of all three has already transpired however, I am very upbeat about my overall treatment and outlook on life. Although I may never be as able bodied as I once was, I'll get to see a lot of this great country with Susan and be with our family for a number of years to come. As little as three years ago when my mother died of this disease, life expectancy was three to five and possible to ten years. With the advent of new drugs approved by the FDA and new treatment protocols, the current expectancy is 10 to 14 years. Of course no guarantees - who knows -ten years down the road it can be stretched out to 20 years. Again, thank you again for being a part of my journey.