This issue of Myeloma Today is sponsored in part by an unrestricted educational grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
I am married to a dreamboat husband, a mother of two wonderful men, and granny to the girls who light up my life. On July 23, 1999, at 53 years young, and at the pinnacle of my 25-year public relations career, I was struck and terrorized by multiple myeloma. At that moment, I felt unable to live with (what I envisioned) as debilitating torture and pain of treatment of this disease.
I took hold of myself and decided to go to any length to get healthy. For me and my husband Bill, education made all the difference. We contacted the IMF and began calling those IMFers who were willing to be "buddies" for newly-diagnosed people. They provided me with hope and inspiration when I was most overwhelmed.
My oncologist encouraged me to participate and volunteer at a local branch of The Wellness Community. Bill and I took refuge in the warmth and knowledge we found there, and that support has been crucial to my recovery. Now, I volunteer as the MM resource person at TWC, providing information to our MM support group. When a newly diagnosed person is referred to me, I have the chance to share my experiences, strength, and hope, and I feel renewed too!
Today, after participating in a clinical trial with extensive treatments and autologus stem cell rescue, I am nearly 4 years into remission. Being in remission is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a story of suffering and fear transmuted, under grace, into hope. This experience has brought along many blessings. My relationships with people are sweeter, more endearing, and closer. The experts say there is no cure for myeloma. I say there is — all the wisdom and care from my supporters make me know that I am not alone in this. Should we ever have the chance to meet, I'd like for you to look into my eyes and see the gratitude for my recovery. I'm excited about the future, knowing that life beckons me.