This chapter in Larry’s life began in August when he went to the doctor for neck and shoulder pain with numbness in his right arm. He returned to the doctor in September after a couple visits to the chiropractor because it wasn’t getting any better. She ordered an MRI to rule out anything more serious. The MRI showed changes in the bone marrow in the spine along with some lesions on his spine. The radiologist recommended another MRI with contrast. The results of this indicated the possibility of metastatic disease or myeloma. The doctor consulted with an oncologist and ordered blood tests along with a PET scan. On November 17 Larry saw the oncologist and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. The next steps are for him to have a bone marrow biopsy and a colonoscopy (the PET scan also showed a suspicious area in the colon). Chemo will be started after these tests are completed, with a possible bone marrow transplant in the future.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that the Veterans Administration has recognized as connected to Agent Orange exposure. Agent Orange is an herbicide that was used by the US Military in Vietnam to defoliate the dense jungle vegetation to 'protect' our troops from the enemy. It is estimated that between 1962 and 1971, almost 11 million gallons of Agent Orange was sprayed in Vietnam (per the Vietnam Veterans of America organization). Larry was in Vietnam in 1969/1970.