Jeff & Melanie
My wife, Melanie and I had always been pretty healthy. We exercised, tried to eat right and discovered the value of meditation. But things changed in 2018.
Melanie had developed a cough that just wouldn't go away. She had it for months. And then she discovered a lump near her collarbone. Tests revealed on Sept. 6, 2018, that the lump was Hodgkin lymphoma and it was present in several other lymph nodes. She began a months-long treatment regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. It wasn't easy.
Melanie lost her hair, slept a lot, and dealt with bone pain from her treatment but still went to work and never allowed herself to feel sorry for herself. As her caregiver, I was amazed at how hard she fought. By March of 2019, the lumps were gone and PET scans showed no cancer in her body. She was in remission! We thought we were in the clear! But in September 2020, my primary care physician said I should see a hematologist about my slightly low white and red blood cell counts. Both had been low for about 2-3 years and he said it was time to find out why.
The hematologist ran blood tests and finally scheduled a bone marrow biopsy that revealed that I have multiple myeloma. Oct. 1, 2020, was my diagnosis date and I have been receiving a drug cocktail of Revlimid, Velcade, and Dexamethasone ever since.
My treatment has been much easier than my wife's but she has been a wonderful caregiver during my treatment, making sure I eat right and listening to me when I worry about having an incurable disease. The first phase of treatment has gone well, the number of myeloma cells in my bone marrow has been greatly reduced and doctors are now preparing me for a stem cell transplant that will hopefully reduce the number of cancerous cells even more.
My wife and I are so thankful for the work of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! Thanks to the research the organization has funded over the years, we know that we can see a day when blood cancers of all types have been wiped out. Melanie and I have both participated in Light The Night events in the Los Angeles, CA area, and Melanie last year raised nearly $120,000 in the first-ever Gold Coast Region Man & Woman of the Year event, to finish as the runner in the Woman of the Year competition.