I started to get sick in December of 2015. I woke up in the middle of the night with chest pains. I had chest pains before, but this was different. They were tightening up my whole chest, and I thought maybe I was having a heart attack. So I woke my wife up and she took me to the emergency room. They gave me nitro (3 pills) to get rid of the pain ad ran an EKG. No heart attack or stroke. They also did an X-ray, and found pneumonia in my left lung. So they kept me overnight. When everything seemed fine in the morning, I went home.
In early January of 2016, my daughter asked me if I’d like to go to a Father-daughter dance with my two grand-daughters. The dance was March 5th. I accepted faster than she had asked, and said I hoped I felt up to it. I had been dragging lately, not feeling the best and tired all the time, but not really sure why. But this would be so much fun that I would figure out a way to make it happen.
Things went along well until late January. I had not been feeling the best, but went down to some training in Des Moines anyway. I told the coordinator of the meeting that I had not been feeling well, and didn’t know how long I would stay. She just said she appreciated me making the effort. Around 11 I really started feeling terrible, and knew I had a fever, so I headed home. On the way, I called the clinic and got an appointment for when I arrived.
I got to the clinic and got in to see the doctor. I had a fever of 102.5. They took an X-ray and the pneumonia was back. I was admitted to the hospital right away, and hooked up to IV’s. I spent the weekend there, and before I left the doctor thought maybe they should investigate a little further, so he did a CT-scan. It would take about a week to get those results. I went home Monday morning after asking the doctor if they were looking for cancer. He said that’s what they were hoping to rule out.
The following week, the doctor’s office called and asked me to come in. He said the CT scan results were in, and the suspicion was that I had Multiple Myeloma, a rare form of cancer. They saw the myeloma lesions on my bones – all over my body. He said the next test was a urine test with a 24-hour collection. We did that, and the myeloma protein was present. The next and final step to confirm the diagnosis was a bone marrow biopsy. My doctor set up a meeting with an Oncologist in Mason City for the end of February.
My best friend bought me a coat and tie for the dance with my granddaughters. It was quite a gesture on his part. My daughter rented a limo to take us there. Everything was set. I was very tied all the time by now (Anemia is a symptom of Myeloma), and knew the dance would take its toll, but I was not going to miss it.
We met with the oncologist and went over a lot of stuff. She scheduled the bone marrow biopsy for March 3. The dance was March 5. We would not have results until the following week. So, to the dance I went. We met the limo at the Fareway store a few blocks away from my daughters. The girls had no idea there would be a limo. They got dressed in their beautiful dresses and were waiting for Papa to come. When I pulled up in the limo they came running out to meet me as I walked up the sidewalk. I put my arms around them and gave them a big hug. Then we put their corsages on the and went riding in the limo for a while before the dance.
We arrived at the dance and there were hundreds of people there. After getting a small snack and standing in line for a while, we finally got into the dance. I was so tired but I did my best to dance with the girls as much as I could. The girls found some friends and danced with them some, but always made it back to me. There were people taking pictures all night long, which I appreciated. I was told by several of the coordinators that me and my girls were one of their favorites for the night. We had so much fun. It was a night I will never forget.
On March 10, I was officially diagnosed with Stage 2 Multiple Myeloma. This cancer is blood born, and the doctor told me I needed to limit contact with other people as much as possible. They would start treatment as soon as they could. My time with my grandchildren was cut short that day, and I have rarely seen them in the last year. But the memory of that night lingers in my mind.
We need to make the most of each and every day, because we never know when something will happen that will take the wind out of our sails. It has been a long year, and I have two more years before I am completely off the maintenance program to get rid of this cancer. I am fighting the good fight of faith, giving God praise because He has been so merciful to me. I am not down or dishearten, and I won’t get that way. I know I have a God that loves me, and that will heal me. I also know I have a huge support system across the country that is praying for me. What a blessing! I pray that nothing like this befalls anyone reading this post, and if it does that you will put your trust in the ultimate healer, Jesus Christ. Leaning on God in these times is the only place to lean.