Hearing the “R” word
After investing so much emotion to support my brother Jeff in his cancer battle, I’m having trouble forming the words to express my joy over this. Since so many of you followed the story, prayed for his health and gave money to my marathon fundraiser last year, I’d like you to hear the latest update in Jeff’s own words:
“Seldom in one’s life can a single word evoke so much emotion as the one Mo and I heard at Dr. Singhal’s office… “Remission!”
It caught us both by surprise as Joseph, Dr. Singhal’s P.A. was rolling through the recap of all my medical procedures this past year; 12 weeks of chemo, 4 day stem cell prep, stem cell harvest, 2-week stem cell transplant, 3-month recovery, 2nd stem cell transplant, 3-month recovery, 4-weeks chemo, then a pause.
“All of your labs are negative for Myeloma. You are in remission by the old standards”! He went on to explain the recent “stricter” definition implemented 4 yrs ago which requires my Kappa Light Chain marker to be between 0-2, I’m at 43 and dropping.
Mo and I made eye contact as I was sitting on the exam table and the tears started to well up in both our eyes. I was intently listening though to Joseph to make certain there wasn’t some giant “but” hanging in the air to squash the moment and the reality of what we had just heard. He continued that we should do 4 more Velcade treatments to get rid of the last few myeloma cells that were loitering like a small mob of punks looking for trouble (my creative license about the mob.) Full throttle, no mercy for these remaining cells!
It is so strange to really see a finish line now, after beginning this run not knowing if it would be 20 miles or 200 miles! Now there is a ribbon suspended across the road. That’s why it is so fitting that I signed up to race on the MMRF marathon team in the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9th as the only Myeloma patient on a team of family and friends of MM folks. Also fitting is that it will be my 13th anniversary with my bride. It will be a very lucky anniversary indeed. I also just secured a spot for this year’s Chicago-Mackinac race, my 19th. This 333 mile yacht race will be a true celebration of adventure and move me one year closer to my 25 year goal.
In closing, we are still in a bit of stunned disbelief, even though we have focused, prayed, lived, prepared, suffered and fought to the best of our abilities to achieve this result! Mo and I owe so much to so many for pushing, pulling, and lifting us to this point of the journey. One year, one month, and one week ago the world really changed for Mo and I. It just changed again!”
All our love, Jeff & Ramona