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Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.
We hope that this site will keep you informed--and prayerfully inspired--by the journey of Pastor Keith Stepp and his battle with multiple myeloma cancer.
Keith has always been in great shape. He was very accustomed to playing aggressive basketball probably twice a week. But after his 50th birthday in January of 2012, he started "carrying" his injuries home with him. Rather than just inflicting a normal bruise, his hits began taking 5-6 weeks to heal, and were accompanied by serious pain.
In April, he took a hard hit to the shoulder. Five to six weeks after the injury, he went to the doctor thinking he may have a fracture. The intake doctor x-rayed the shoulder, told him nothing was broken, and sent him home.
In late June, a 12-year-old boy gave Keith a hug; you know how they hug TIGHT like they have something to prove...? Usually it's no big deal, but Keith was in immediate pain, and commented that night that he thought he fractured a rib. About a week later he went back to the doctor, still in serious pain, and unable to sleep on his right side. This intake doctor was more thorough than the first doctor. When an x-ray again did not show a fracture, he did a cat scan to explore the kidney underneath. The bottom of the scan happened to show Keith's upper hips and pelvic bones, exposing multiple "lesions". Further blood work also showed the very beginnings of kidney failure. We heard the term "multiple myeloma" for the first time in our lives.
Within the week, Keith was in for a bone marrow biopsy, and the doctor's suspicions were confirmed. In fact, the doctor told us that if the cancer had gone undetected for just three more months, Keith probably would have been on dialysis for the rest of his life. Untreated, we were told he would probably only live for six months before kidney failure would probably take his life. But we serve a GREAT BIG GOD!
We started reading everything we could about multiple myeloma and cancer in general. Immediately Keith shifted his diet; his first move was the get rid of the pop (soda for you Southerners...lol) and sweet tea. As we continued to read we started juicing fresh fruits and vegetables, and also eliminated all red meats and most processed foods. (Our Sonic runs had to go too...so sad!)
Mid-July Keith opted to start a low-grade chemo to try to get the cancer cells under some kind of initial control. The doctors are encouraging him to undergo an "auto" bone marrow transplant at the end of 3-4 rounds of chemo (probably in October...?) Keith hasn't decided yet whether or not to undergo the transplant.
On the spiritual side, Keith is in great spirits, and feels optimistic and encouraged about a full recovery. We love and appreciate soooo much our family and friends who have been so encouraging! Thank you so much for all of your cards, love, and prayers! We are richly blessed!