It was the week before Christmas, 2016 that I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I will acknowledge that I knew virtually nothing about this particular form of cancer. That changed rather quickly once I spoke with my doctor (Dr. Alford), my oncologist (Dr. Stillwell at Lexington Medical Center), and searched the internet on the topic. To make a long story short, I was put in the hospital for a few days and immediately began chemo treatments. And now, four months later, my wife Nancy and I are in Durham, NC where I am undergoing a stem cell transplant at the Duke Cancer Center. The process is expected to take approximately four weeks, after which we'll move back to Columbia (SC) and my recovery will continue for the next ninety-plus days, I will ease back into my work at Shandon Presbyterian over the summer months, with the expectation to be full-time and at full strength come September.
Nancy has been an absolute rock for me throughout this unexpected journey. I have also been strengthened by the wonderful support of the Shandon congregation, not to mention family and other friends Even though this cancer doesn't have a cure, we are greatly encouraged by the ongoing research and development being made by the medical community, and we have no reason to believe that we won't have many more years together.
For the time being, I will be undergoing a heavy dose of chemotherapy, which will wipe out my immune system, not to mention my strength and energy. So I will be more or less out of commission for the next two to three weeks, but Nancy will periodically keep you in touch (via this site) with my condition as she finds the time. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, cards, emails and texts. I wish I could respond to each and every one of them, but that is not possible at this time. Please know that they do make a difference and provide much encouragement.