Saturday, February 21, 2015



First, something about my health:

This Sunday I am going to the Mayo Hospital in Phoenix. I'll be there for two weeks.

I have cancer — multiple myeloma — and my oncologist has encouraged me to start the process of a Stem Cell Transplant. I'll provide some explanatory text, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic website.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells help you fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs.

Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause kidney problems.

I'm giving serious thought to this situation. Stay with chemo for a five - ten year prognosis or do the transplant for ten - fifteen years, if it works and if it doesn't leave me with worse quality of life due to side effects.
Prayer will help. That is the "wealth" I mentioned. I have friends and family praying for me as I contend with my cancer. I am right with God; His will is being done and I am OK with that.  
Stem cell transplantation. A stem cell transplant is a procedure to replace your diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.

 Before a stem cell transplant, blood-forming stem cells are collected from your blood. You then receive high doses of chemotherapy to destroy your diseased bone marrow. Then your stem cells are infused into your body, where they travel to your bones and begin rebuilding your bone marrow.
If you're considered a candidate for stem cell transplant, your initial therapy will likely include a combination of treatments, such as targeted therapy, biological therapy, corticosteroids and, sometimes, chemotherapy.
Your stem cells will likely be collected after you've undergone a few months of treatment. You may undergo the stem cell transplant soon after your cells are collected or the transplant may be delayed until after a relapse, if it occurs. In some cases, doctors recommend two stem cell transplants for people with multiple myeloma.
After your stem cell transplant, you'll likely receive targeted therapy or biological therapy as a maintenance treatment to prevent a recurrence of myeloma.
"In a stem cell transplant, the patient gets high-dose chemotherapy (sometimes with radiation to the whole body) to kill the cells in the bone marrow (including the myeloma cells). Then the patient receives new, healthy blood-forming stem cells."
They will be "harvesting" some of my healthy cells the end of this month. (They will keep for a year or so.) These healthy cells will be used in an Autologous transplant:
For an autologous stem cell transplant, the patient’s own stem cells are removed from his or her bone marrow or peripheral blood before the transplant. The cells are stored until they are needed for the transplant. Then, the person with myeloma gets treatment such as high-dose chemotherapy, sometimes with radiation, to kill the cancer cells. When this is complete, the stored stem cells are infused back into the patient’s blood.
If that does not do the job, next step will be the Allogeneic transplant:
In an allogeneic stem cell transplant, the patient gets blood-forming stem cells from another person – the donor. The best treatment results occur when the donor’s cells are closely matched to the patient’s cell type and the donor is closely related to the patient, such as a brother or sister. Allogeneic transplants are much riskier than autologous transplants, but they may be better at fighting the cancer.
Side effects for either procedure will be a lower immune system and possible kidney damage leading to dialysis.

Ecclesiastes 12
Remember Your Creator in Your Youth
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them;
 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;
5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goes to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
 8 Vanity of vanities, said the preacher; all is vanity.



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