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Larry Owens


1956 / Class of 1997 / Type: IgA / Last Update: 3/02

When I was 41, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. This came about after playing a round of golf and my back and ribs were hurting so bad I had to go see my doctor. It took four months before and MRI was conducted and it was discovered I had a tumor and compression fracture of my T-7 Vertebrae. I was then referred to my cancer doctor, Dr. Dennis Moore, Jr., Kansas Cancer Center. Dr Moore conducted a bone marrow biopsy, Bence-Jones protein test, Myeloma panel, etc., and discovered my IGA was well above normal at 622. He suggested we do the SWOG protocol and sent me to Texas for this. I took four rounds of VAD, followed by high-dose chemo, and T-cell transplant. 

This was in January, 1998. I was in complete remission until present day, where I have started having severed back pain again. Yesterday, 27 Aug 2001, I had an MRI and the doctor told me the cancer has probably gone into the T 6, 8 and 9 vertebrae. It will be confirmed the Sept 1st after a bone biopsy is done. 

I grew up in the state of Arkansas and joined the military in 1976, Air Force, and was medically discharged in Dec 1997. I have never been sick a day in my life until this occurred. I have had to have a right hip replacement in Aug 1999 from the steroids, Prednisone, I was given because it caused A Vascular Necrosis. The high-dose chemo left me very sick, but was only hospitalized 5 days, and engraftment from the T-cell transplant was on day 8. I went home on day 27. This treatment for me was very good and helped, but I believe the fight is on again. 

I am married and have 5 children, 3 still at home, with the youngest being 8 years old. My wife and children are what keeps me fighting and I will fight to the end. I believe having a positive attitude helped me the most because I think mind over matter is the best thing for all. My faith in God and his power is my strength along with my family. 

Sep 2001: It was discovered the Myeloma had returned and had gotten into my Lumbar Spine. My doctor started me on regime of Thalomid and I had complications of dizziness, passing out, etc., and this regime was stopped. My siblings were then tested to see if they were a match for an allogeneic transplant and my sister was a perfect match. I was scheduled to have the transplant on 10 Jan 2002 but she came down with the flu so my new date is 24 Jan 2002. I have said numerous times that the Lord will protect and guide me through all this and I know without a doubt I am being held in his hands at all times. My family, friends, and everyone who knows me, knows this journey I am taking has made me stronger in the lord and I will give him all the glory and praise. If by any chance someone comes to know Christ through this journey I am taking then the reward is well worth it. Pray for my family and I as this journey begins its new chapter.

Mar 2002: I am still waiting for my allogeneic transplant. Some things have happened to put things on hold. I started having severe back pain again and through and MRI it was discovered I had a tumor on the L4/L5 verterbrae with a slipped disc on the L2 causing numbness in my legs. My doctor wants to get these problems straightened out before the transplant so I am taking 16 rounds of radiation and then a possible back surgery to fix the disc. My faith will never waver and I believe God will take care of me no matter what.


For anyone facing this fight, my prayers will always be sent up for you and your family. I just lost a good friend to this disease, Connie Bebb, whom I met in a hospital and became friends with her family. Support is the best thing in my mind to help you rest your mind. If anyone wants to contact me please do and I will talk very freely about my story or listen to yours. 

Thanks and God Bless, Larry

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