C.A.M.’s Story

Site created on November 12, 2008

C.A.M's battle to victory over Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm.







Bone Marrow Drives: Visit www.marrow.org (http://www.marrow.org/): Click “How You Can Help,” select “Events,” & search by zip code on the right. Thanks!

Okay, so can I change the heading on this to "his story" because this is Becky writing for him. CAM still can't believe that he is actually "that guy".. the one with the website. In his typical thoughtful way, he doesn't want to draw attention to himself and is actually asking for prayer requests from other people so he can pray for them. Hopefully we will get some "guest" appearances from CAM but most likely I will be the scribe along with our dear helpers and friends. Anyway, another reason I would like to call it "His Story" is for capital "H", His, meaning our God and the One who we are putting our faith and trust in throughout this entire experience. So... back to the story...

In early October, CAM discovered a lump in his neck. He had a CT scan at that time which only indicated "soft tissue mass." The surgeon recommended a "wait and see" approach. Within a few weeks, several other symptoms came on very quickly - fever, night sweats, pain in his side, fatigue, etc. He had a series of blood tests and other exams which showed an enlarged spleen, poor liver function, abnormal very low white cell count, etc. About this time, myself and all of the kids came down with the stomach flu, so CAM actually had to stay in a hotel to avoid any other infection. He also went in for additional tests, a bone marrow biopsy, and CT scan. The CT scan showed enlarged nodes throughout his body, in addition to the previous
symptoms.
"M" Day - On Friday, November 7th, C.A.M's oncologist called him at the hotel and told him that they had found malignancy in his bone marrow but they didn't know what it was. We were told to prepares ourselves for a meeting on Monday. We expected to learn we were dealing with a form of lymphoma or leukemia. After a long weekend of waiting, we (CAM, Becky, CAM's mom Kathryn) met with the oncologist, Dr, David Heyer, who, after receiving additional test
results, indicated he had something very rare and needed to go to Johns Hopkins immediately to start treatment. We didn't even go home to back his bags but jumped in the car and headed up there. They now know that CAM has blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm,a very rare form of aggressive leukemia - cancer of the dendentric cells of bone marrow. There have only been about 100 documented cases of it. Even more unusual is that it often shows up on the skin (80% of cases) and CAM has no skin symptoms. In addition, it usually affects older individuals.
We are thankful he is in good hands now and can only pray his body responds to the treatments. CAM's company Kelly and Assciates is based in Baltimore and they have been incredibly supportive.

The treatment outlined by the doctors is agressive chemotherapy inpatient at Johns Hopkins. The goal is to put CAM's body into remission(cancer-free) so he can then have a bone marrow tranplant. There is not an exact or standard regimen of chemotherapy that works with this type of cancer but the doctors are confident that this is the best choice for him. We are also praying that we quickly find a bone marrow match for him. CAM has three sisters who generously volunteered to be tested for a match but unfortunately, 2 of the 3 were only half-matches and 1 was not a a match at all. Right now, the plan is to progress with a half-match transplant with his sister CC unless a better match can be found sometime in mid-March.

In March 2009, CAM had a very succesful half-match mini transplant from his sister CC. He had 32 months of remission and lived a full life, returning to work and enjoying many wonderful family memories. In November 2011, a routine CBC revealed an abnormally low blood count even though CAM felt fine(with the exception of mild discomfort in his spleen). Further testing(ct scan, biopsy) revealed he had a small percentage of blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell leukemia cells in his bone marrow that had returned. We also learned that he was loosing his graft from his sister and was 95% donor and 5% patient DNA. That 5% allowed for the abnormal cells to grow back.

He started another round of chemotherapy the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25th and will undergo donor lymphocyte infusion from his sister on  Dec. 9th(2011). The hope and prayer is that it will give his system a jumpstart and that it will override the 5% once and for all.  

We thank you for all of your support, prayers, and love! We are SOOO encouraged by you. We know that God is in control and has wonderful plans ahead for CAM.

To God the Glory,

Becky

Update April 5th, 2014 - C.A.M. fought valiantly for over 5 years and finally left his earthly dwelling to be with his beloved Jesus on December 22, 2013. We miss him desperately but plan to do everything we can to live out his legacy.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Becky Wagner

Hello family and friends!

Happy Easter! It's been a while. I miss you! I sat down late tonight to look back at some of C.A.M.'s Easter posts. You may remember that Easter was a very special holiday for C.A.M., probably his favorite. I was planning to send them to my sweet next door neighbor who never had the chance to meet C.A.M. (they moved in a few weeks before he died) but have been an amazing support system the last 16 months. But, once I started reading, I realized I should just re-post them on Caring bridge for everyone. Maybe they will provide you with some encouragement and inspiration on this Easter Sunday 2015 like they did for me. When I read C.A.M.'s posts, I can just hear his voice and feel him here with us. It brings me back like it was yesterday. Wow, do I miss him.  Reading just brought the void to the surface even more. It is hard and my chest is heavy with sadness and tears flow as I write but as we sang tonight at church... "Because HE lives, I can face tomorrow". I also can live knowing what C.A.M. is doing right now - celebrating and the resurrected Savior with no more suffering and no more pain. We will be together again thanks the Cross. I can't wait.

So, I have extracted his last 4 years of Easter posts and copied them below. I pray God uses C.A.M.'s words even in his death to inspire you or meet you wherever you are. I wish you and your families a wonderful Easter! As for the kids and I, we are getting by with God's grace. We just returned from 4 wonderful days in Florida visiting C.A.M.'s parents and now my parents and extended family are visiting us for the weekend so we are surrounded by love but we are missing our amazing man. Like we do every day. I start a new job on Tuesday which I am very excited about. The kids are all filled to the rim with sports and activities and we all admit that busyness is our coping strategy:-)  THANK YOU for your prayers as they sustain us.

With much love and appreciation,

Becky

Easter 2013

 Mar 29, 2013 4:39pm 

 As I sit here waiting for my family to descend…I mean arrive…for Easter I find myself sitting on the couch watching Saving Private Ryan.  I’m struck by the enormity of the last scene.  You know when Tom Hanks grabs Matt Damon with his bloody hand after a grueling battle and he looks him in the eyes and says “Earn this…Earn it”…

 Wow.  The best men from Tom’s platoon all killed to save one man.  The weight that is on Matt Damon’s shoulders all his life comes into view as they flash back to the “present” when old man Matt is at the grave yard looking at the cross tombstone of Tom…He’s crying as he’s just not sure he did
all he could to “Earn it”.  Tough to imagine…

Although I can.  So can you I bet. 

There have been so many a ha moments over the past weeks.  Once again the words ring through my head…you almost missed all of this.  Tears come to my eyes during these moments. Whether it’s a show the kids are putting on, reveling in Caroline’s basketball team and wins, Alden’s performances at church, C.J. learning more and more each day and almost explaining the theory of relativity as it relates to Wii and Star Wars, or fun times with Becky especially at her Granddad’s 90th…I could have missed it all.  I want to live with my eyes wide open to catch it all.  Another close call I think.  November and December were tough and for the first time, I wasn’t so confident during the valleys.   

 So have I “Earned it”?  Can I ever?  As really think about this day, Good Friday, and the work that I believe Christ finished on the cross today over 2,000 years ago…there really is no way I can earn it.  No way at all.  I have to give up on that one. 

 

Thankfully I can. 
Because of this good day, I can.  Although for most of my life I’ve strongly emphasized Easter Sunday I’m really coming to appreciate this day.  Along with Easter it is a “total package” as one of my friends described it.  And thanks to this package, gift, sacrifice…I don’t have to earn anything ever again.

 Now, I might still try. 
I’m only human.  But the truth is I can rest in His work…It is finished.

 And for now, thanks to miracles, cancer is too.  I’m feeling good, blood has been looking good thepast few weeks.  Thanks be to God.

 For now I’m still trying to focus on my 3 Fs…faith, family
and friends.  Oh yeah…Caroline made sure to throw in food too.  I do love food.

Happy Easter loved ones!!! 
I hope you can rest in His work this weekend. Peace…C.A.M.

The
Death of Jesus

 

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so
that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A
jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on
a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When
he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed
his head and gave up his spirit.

 

Easter 2012 - Apr 8, 2012 9:06pm

Happy Easter!!! 

So sorry I have been away for so long my friends.  Thank God…all is very well!  I am back to home life and work life and back to living a more “normal” life. Well somewhat normal…

As I sit around my family room this Masters…I mean Easters Sunday I’m grateful.  We just had a wonderful Easter celebration with church, family (see pick of my fam w Becky’s parents, Bro and his kids) , and now just watching the masters as a family. Strangely I can relate to Bubba Watson now being a major championship winner.  That’s what they call the four biggest golf tournaments. Majors.  I feel like I’ve now won two majors…surviving cancer twice and having the people and relationships I have in my life.

 This for me is the biggest Holiday I can celebrate.  It represents the whole reason I survived. He lived, died, and rose again to give healing and life.  It’s all in the blood. 

Our pastor gave a great Easter message.  It should be posted here soon   He spoke about four things that make life worth living.  Living for an Eternal
purpose, gaining power over passions, having supernatural peace of  mind and the assurance of eternal life were highlighted.  Thankfully we’ve
experienced some of these during our fights for life.  He also spoke about the fact that when compared to other world religions Christianity is the only that has a risen savior – died and rose again. 

 In the past weeks my head has been swimming with tons of thoughts reliving experiences and thinking about what lies ahead.  Obviously there are no guarantees for any of us in this life.  Actually the one guarantee we all have is that we will die at some time…who knows when.  Through it all I’ve just been trying to be thankful for the time, moments, opportunity, friends and family I do have right in front of me.  Being thankful to God and to all of you for truly helping to save my life.  That’s my focus. 

Thankfulness. 

So many to thank…too many. 
I’ll get there but please know, I am truly grateful…thank you. 

Winning two majors feels good but, like Bubba Watson said, it’s more about the people and relationships that have helped get you there.  That’s you.

I hope you had and continue to have a great Easter celebration…all year long.  I will.

We sang this song at church today.  I know I’ve mentioned this before but I often insert my own lyrics for this song that has great meaning.  “Cancer” is broken…You have saved me…

Peace – C.A.M.

 Hillsong - Stronger
Lyrics

 

There
is love that came for us

Humbled to a sinner's cross

You broke my shame and sinfulness

You rose again victorious


Faithfulness none can deny

Through the storm and through the fire

There is truth that sets me free

Jesus Christ who lives in me


You are stronger, You are stronger

Sin is broken, You have saved me

It is written, Christ is risen

Jesus You are Lord of all


No beginning and no end

You're my hope and my defense

You came to seek and save the lost

You paid it all upon the cross


You are stronger, You are stronger

Sin is broken, You have saved me

It is written, Christ is risen

Jesus You are Lord of all

There is none


So let Your name be lifted higher

Be lifted higher, be lifted higher

So let Your name be lifted higher

Be lifted higher, be lifted higher



You are stronger, You are stronger

Sin is broken, You have saved me

It is written, Christ is risen

Jesus You are Lord of all

 

Easter 2011

Apr 23, 20119:29pm

Happy Easter!  Only good news to report here.  Since last writing I've officiated my sisters wedding, including the homily!, went on an extended trip to CA with stops at lego land and san fransisco, spoken to a couple groups including the annandale high school Lacrosse team, and gone on a dream trip to the Masters...thanks Dan!  Check out some cool pics!

Most importantly, Becky and I celebrated 11 years on April 15.  I know good marriages and I have seen very loving couples model excellence and holiness. However very few people can say that their spouse, or wife, saved their life. Well I can. You all helped, and some in a major and significant way, but Becky was and is my rock.  I hope I can give her whatever she wants this year and in the years to come. She deserves it...my bride.

With so many cool things happening I sometimes do continue to think wow...I almost missed this...life is precious...BUT...it is not all we have...

This Easter season is about experiencing more...things like true forgiveness.  If you haven't experienced this at Easter I pray you do this year. 

Also there is a celebration of everlasting life through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. 

It all starts and ends with the cross and the beauty is...you can experience the cross wherever you are...right now...

This Easter I hope that you do...

Until next time...I'll be In His Grip (and on the course)...C.A.M.

 

Easter 2010

April 2, 201011:37am

Thanks be toGod...I'm clean!

I just got the results of my 1 year biopsy and its good news...all clear. No sign of abnormalities, except normal me, and still 100% my sisters DNA. Thanks C.C.!

As we all celebrate this time of year in various ways I am most grateful for the blood of Jesus Christ that has literally transformed by blood.

I had the privilege of being with some of you recently, even just today! As I get to know more and more of you out there that were pulling and praying for us I'm so encouraged. I can't say it enough...thank you and I thank God for you.

Preparing for Easter has continued to sharpen my focus on and need for humility and compassion in my life with my family, friends, colleagues, clients, and God. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to see and serve you too in the near future.

We have continued to enjoy life in a great way with a celebration trip to disney to thank our children and see my parents, skiing trip to deep creek, a small gathering just after St Pattys day with good friends, and many days of normal, but fun, life.

There has been a little pain in battling the swine flu for 3 weeks, managing busy schedules, and silly stress. Such is life...right?

I heard a speech the other day where a man was driving home from a hunt club where He had finished hunting with his dad. As was their custom they went to the bar after for a few too many. On the way home the man missed his turn, fell off a cliff and hit a train at 60 miles an hour crushing and killing his dad.

The man was spared and as he was recovering from his life threatening injuries all he wanted to do was die because all he killed his own father.

I was particularly stressed that day at work and when I heard that it stopped me. It took me back a year ago when I was 130 pounds, bald and frail, and in the fight for my life. At that moment all I cared about was my wife and family, my friends and my God. NOTHING else mattered.

My work could have fired me, my car could be wrecked, every earthly possession could have been flushed down the toilet.

My aim is to keep that perspective on matters that matter, along with compassion and humility, with my precious wife and kids, my daily walk, ministry and life.

God bless you this weekend. He is risen...Amen!

In Him...C.A.M.

Easter 2009

Apr 11, 2009 12:54pm

Great news…I will get tomorrow, Resurrection Sunday, off!  I hope to go to church but will surely be celebrating with all my family.  Of course I am thankful for all your prayers as well as I know they have helped me get to this point. 

I believe I am progressing very well and I am commanding a full recovery in Jesus name.  I had the honor of watching the Passion of the Christ with Landon Johnson on Wednesday.  It’s really a remarkable piece on some of the pains, struggles, and even joys Jesus had while on this earth.  Truly a remarkable piece on what Christ suffered in honor of each one of us.  Also a great reminder during this Holy week.

I’m excited that some good friends have surrounded me and are supporting me with a prayer and counseling team.  Jason Danner and his pastor Bob are serving to lead the efforts.  This has and will only strengthened my faith and I look forward to growing more. 

If any of you out there need a good resource Dodie Osteen has a booklet – “Healedof Cancer”.  I’m sure one of you gave it to me and I thank you forit!  It has some AWESOME scriptures and notes in it specifically for us cancer patients.  Some of my favorites in believing our healing has come...Psalm 118:17 - I shall not die, but live and declare the works of theLord.  Psalm 91:16 - With long life I will satisfy Him and show Him my salvation.  Jeremiah 30:17 - For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds.  Nahum 1:9 - Affliction will not rise up a second time. 

 

Thanks to you all for your partnership with my family during this time.  Grace and Peace be yours!  C.A.M.

 

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