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3/14/2016 Latest post:
Any donations you make (including tributes) go to the CaringBridge organization for covering costs of maintaining this free site. This is not a site asking you to donate money to me. Now - My Story.. After a routine blood test for my yearly physical in October 2015 showed that my protein levels were high and that I was slightly anemic, a number of additional tests were ordered; I was eventually diagnosed with Stage 3, high risk multiple myeloma in November 2015. Multiple myeloma is a cancer in the bone marrow; the malignancy involves the plasma cells. I am currently being treated by Dr. William Camp at Lexington Clinic and Dr. Greg Monahan at the University of Kentucky.
I have continued to teach math full-time at Sullivan University as an online instructor and have continued my role as the General Education Department Chair. My doctor recommended that I teach online due to expected fatigue caused by my initial therapy. (Fortunately I haven't experienced fatigue and have been feeling great!) I go to the office several times a week to work with faculty and socialize (of course). ;)
I had to resign my position as a fitness instructor at LAFitness in October due to what I thought was a muscle strain in my hip area that impeded my ability to walk normally. It turned out that I had severe lesions in my hip bones (due to the myeloma) and this was causing the pain and sciatica down my left leg. After 10 treatments of low-dose radiation, the pain in my hip has disappeared and I can walk normally but I am prohibited from doing any exercise that could result in bone breakage. About all I can do is walk or use a recumbent bike.
My initial therapy includes a monthly IV to help strengthen my bones, a weekly shot, pills 14 days on and 7 days off, and a weekly steroid dose of 10 pills. I have had few (if any) side effects from this initial chemotherapy. Yay! The next step is a stem cell transplant. The cells can be my own or from a sibling donor. It is more common to use the patient's cells so that graft versus host disease is avoided - however one is more likely to be rid of the disease if a donor is used. I have a lot of upcoming decisions to make and will be in the hospital for several weeks during the potential transplant process. This is expected to occur as early as May - but it depends on a number of factors (including the results of a 2nd bone marrow biopsy, insurance coverage, the decision concerning donor cells versus my own, etc).
Please visit this site to read updates on my decisions and my progress!