I was born July 22, 1968 in Hawarden, Iowa. I am one of four children. My parents struggled as we were growing up, we were poor monetarily but had riches that far surpassed money. I am grateful for having parents that taught me that money is not everything.
I met my husband John Harkness in Hawarden, Iowa July 11, 1986. We were married January 31, 1987. To our union there are 2 children who are my greatest accomplishment. We had a good life, and like most couples struggled but prevailed. John had a lot of heart issues. He was a very hard working proud man. I lost the love of my life December 21, 2017 unexpectedly. The year 2018 was a year that made me aware that life is not always what you expect. In February I was diagnosed with Anterior Basement Membrane Dystrophy (which was caused from Sjogren's). I was not able to see, my vison was 20/400 in both eyes. I had a build up on my cornea's that made it impossible to see. I had my cornea on my left eye (my left eye was the worst of the two) scraped to remove the film. It took months before I was able to see out of my left eye. In the meantime my right eye got as bad as my left and I was off work for several weeks because I couldn't see. I eventually had my right eye scraped as well and have had all 4 of my tear ducts cauterized to help alleviate the severely dry eyes. As of December 2018 I can see 20/20 with my glasses. I still have times of blurry eyes but that is caused from the dryness and eye drops help somewhat. I made an appointment at the end of September to see a Rheumatologist for Sjogren's. She ran an extensive blood panel. I was called by her office 3 weeks later to be told that my protein in my blood was high, they wanted me to go get a Electrophoresis blood test. I went to the local clinic and had a blood test. The following week they called and said my M-spike is extremely high and that I needed to go see an Oncologist. Of course I googled everything including the results of the blood tests. I was able to see the Oncologist the following week, he wanted me to have a bone survey, and a bone marrow biopsy. He said I had MGUS and that they needed to rule out Multiple Myeloma. The following Monday I had the bone marrow biopsy where they did more blood tests and I had to collect urine for 24 hours.
I saw the results on my chart and panic set in. I called the doctor's office to let them know I could see the results and that I was in a state of panic. They called to move up my appointment. On November 1, 2018 I was diagnosed with lgG Kappa Multiple Myeloma stage III. He said that he was going to refer me to Dr Raj. I have had 4 rounds of chemotherapy treatments and I am responding well to the therapy. A stem cell collection is scheduled for March with the transplant to follow. I have returned to work on a part time basis and hope to keep my job as long as I can, I am grateful that my employees and boss' are so understanding. I am scared but I know that God is leading me and I am thankful for my family and friends for praying, calling, texting, doctor visit rides, chemo. I know that I can count on my family. I am grateful for my Lord and savior for guiding me through this path.
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