Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma
February 26, 2021https://themmrf.org
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer."
On Saturday evening, February 13, 2021, I entered the Emergency Room at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, CA. After the encouragement of special friends, my hope was to identify answers to my continuous back pain. After receiving an exam and CT scan, the Physician Assistant on call returned to my treatment room and conveyed the results. As so many have experienced the past year, I too was seated alone in a health care facility not knowing or expecting what I was about to hear. “Mr. Boyles, we’ve identified an issue potentially causing the pain in your back, chest, and ribs,” shared the PA. “Your T9 thoracic vertebra is missing, meaning, it appears to have been consumed by a tumor.”
Both of us were silent for several seconds, as the word “tumor” bounced into my ear canal and throughout my body like a pinball machine. “Based on these initial results,” she continued, “we recommend you schedule an appointment with an oncologist as soon as possible to determine the disposition of the tumor and several other lesions.” In a moment of unbelief, I replied, “Oncologist? Wait, what, do I have cancer?” The PA’s look (even with a mask) conveyed the seriousness of the situation and her concern. Before she could reply, I asked if Beth could meet with us to review the results together. “Absolutely, let’s give her a call,” she said with care and compassion.
Once Beth arrived at the hospital, we reviewed the results together and began to ask the PA lots of questions. Combing curiosity and concern with planning and action, Beth led the conversation as I retreated into an odd form of silent acceptance. We left together, returned home, and immediately shared the examination with Jackson and Reece.
On Tuesday, 2/16 and Wednesday, 2/17, we consulted with the Oncologist and Orthopedist. A biopsy of the tumor along with a Kyphoplasty procedure to repair my spine was scheduled and completed the following week on Wednesday, 2/24. Praise the Lord for His mercy and grace! My back pain has subsided and I’m walking anew with strength and confidence! On Friday, 2/26, we met with the Oncologist to discuss the results of the biopsy. During this time, he confirmed a diagnosis of IgA Kappa Multiple Myeloma. As a result, I’m scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy (pelvic area) and a full-body CT scan this upcoming week. My initial treatment plan begins on Tuesday, 3/9 and expected to last the next 4-6 months.
As you can imagine, Beth, Jackson, Reece and I are experiencing a variety of emotions. Although our prayers were to receive a benign report, we’re extremely grateful we now have a diagnosis and a proposed treatment plan. With a variety of other possibilities lingering, we’re praising the Lord the diagnosis was not metastatic! Regardless of the situation, we know Christ is in control and knows every single cell in our bodies. As written in Psalms 139:13-14, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
As we shared the diagnosis with my parents today, this process has been a blessing. While hugging Beth after the diagnosis, we both cried and gave thanks for my cancer. Not only for the diagnosis, but for the work Christ has, Christ is, and Christ will do in and through us for His glory! And yes, that too is much easier to convey in writing than to live out. Yet Christ has that weakness covered too and will help us Conquer This Day! As we all begin this journey together, we’re already overwhelmed with the love, care, and generosity of family and friends. We will forever be grateful for your desire and willingness to “love on us.”
With Love through Christ,
Joel, Beth, Jackson, Reece
"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it."