July 21 2018 Debbie and Steven planned a North Shore anniversary excursion. But unfortunately, Steven’s hip was giving him trouble. So much so that instead of day-hiking the Superior Hiking Trail, they toured the area via car and enjoyed The North Shore’s views from their vehicle.
Upon their return, Steven signed up for physical therapy and was administered prednisone for inflammation but the pain in his hip continued to worsen. His primary care physician ordered a bone biopsy, a MRI scan and on August 6, 2018, Steve was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma when a tumor was found on his sacrum (hip) bone.
Multiple Myeloma is cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells are mainly found in the bone marrow that make antibodies. There are no known causes of this type of rare cancer, and while Mayo Clinic’s web site states that treatment for Multiple Myeloma isn’t always necessary for people who aren’t exhibiting symptoms, Steve’s symptoms require treatment.
The positive of Steve’s Multiple Myeloma marathon is that it is treatable. There are many new drugs and therapies that are supporting patients in remission for years and decades. The first course of treatment was 10 days of radiation to dissolve the tumor on the hip. The second course of treatment began with chemotherapy September 6 to reduce the Multiple Myeloma in the bone marrow. On December 27 Steve completed 18 weeks of chemo therapy.
He’s run 26 marathons since he began running at the age of 37, so we know that he is familiar with pushing his body to the limits. And just like training for a marathon, there has been much pain, sweat and tears through the months of chemotherapy. But the chemotherapy treatment has paid off. The Multiple Myeloma indicators (through the proteins measured in the blood) are showing that the level of cancer in Steve’s bone marrow is decreasing.
He is now scheduled for a bone marrow transplant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN that will begin January 14 and take six weeks from testing through transplant.
Join Steve, Debbie and family in support by following along here for updates.