Today I’m writing not to bring you a lot of wisdom or words of advice, but because I need your help. This has been a really tough time for my family and I’d like to tell you why, and to ask for your prayers.
Many of you know that my husband Russ was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in February 2011. This is a rare blood cancer, only about 14,000 Americans are diagnosed every year (over 1.6 million new cases of cancer are expected in 2015). At 41 he was very young for that type of cancer; most patients are men over the age of 65.
We found a wonderful oncologist and treatment team at Seidman Cancer Center. Dr. Gregory Warren has been such a blessing. Russ was treated with chemotherapy which rapidly got him into remission. He then underwent a stem cell transplant at Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Main Campus, then was treated with more chemotherapy until the summer of 2014. For just over a year he has been in remission with no evidence of disease, off treatment and doing fine.
Earlier this summer Russ’s bloodwork came back funny. Instead of periodic scans which is how most cancer patients are monitored for recurrence, Russ’s cancer is monitored with bloodwork. His tumor is a cancer of plasma cells, the cells that make antibodies. His cancer cells secrete a junk antibody, and when the levels of junk antibodies (called M protein or monoclonal protein) start to rise it means his cancer is probably recurring.
This summer his bloodwork began showing M protein.
We believe he may be starting into a relapse. After talking over possible strategies, we all agree that the best approach is to watch and wait. Treatment has its own risks, and as of now his cancer levels are very low, just at the edge of detection.
After getting adjusted to the idea that Russ and I and our boys may have to dance the “cancer dance” again, we found out about a month ago that my mother has developed an aggressive form of breast cancer. Her oncologist is very optimistic and believes her cancer is quite curable, but obviously none of us wants to see her have to undergo treatment, surgery, and more treatment.
I don’t tell you any of this to make excuses or ask anyone to cut me any slack. If you see me in the office, I fully intend to have on my “game face” and address your concerns as completely as possible. In fact, going to work and getting out of my own head, focusing on helping people both in the office and with my Shaklee business, fulfilling the calling that is on my life HELPS. My work is honestly my number one coping strategy right now.
I tell you this to ask for your prayers. Please be in prayer for me and my family. Pray that Russ’s cancer remains at low and harmless levels for as long as is God’s will. Pray that if and when he needs treatment again it is free of side effects and effective at ridding him of cancer. And that he has peace through it all.
Pray for our sons, that they feel God’s blessing and lean into Him for strength.
Pray for my mother and father, that they feel God’s presence and grace. That my Mom doesn’t lose her wonderful sense of humor. That she is able to accept others’ offers of help freely given just as others have accepted her help in the loving spirit that it’s meant.
And I could use a few prayers for myself. I’m generally handling things OK but I have my moments when I get overwhelmed. A little peace would be a blessing for me too.
Thanks so much for reading this, and for reading all my posts. My readers are a great blessing for me and give me an extra reason to keep thinking, keep reading, keep researching and keep writing. Thank you, and God bless you.