Unfortunately, I came out of remission in late 2014, but I had a second stem cell transplant in May 2015, again at Mayo. I’ve been in complete remission ever since, and I’m not on any maintenance therapy at all.
There really is a full, rich life after diagnosis. Don’t read the averages. The averages aren’t you. You are you. Keep your sense of humor. If all you think about is, “I’ve got cancer,” the cancer’s already won. You just can’t go there.
After my first stem cell transplant, I got involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training (TNT). I completed the 100-mile bike ride in Lake Tahoe almost exactly one year after my first stem cell transplant, while also helping to raise funds for pioneering new research.
I’ve now done the Lake Tahoe ride with TNT five times. It has helped me personally deal with my disease. I really think I’m helping cure myself by doing what I do with LLS and TNT.
Today, I’m 68-years-old. I’m still practicing law full time, I ride my bike about four times a week, and I go fishing and hiking all the time. My wife Patti and I are involved in our community. I think if most people met me and didn’t know my story, they’d just think: Wow, there’s a really healthy, active 68-year-old guy.
I would be happy to talk to anyone living with multiple myeloma. Whether it’s me or someone else, talk to someone who’s been through it. In fact, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offers the Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection program, a free service that matches those with multiple myeloma and their loved ones with trained peer volunteers who have shared similar experiences.
Being told you have a cancer of which there’s no cure is pretty devastating news to hear. It’s helpful to talk to people who are living happily and successfully with it every day. That’s a big part of not letting it get you down.