I was diagnosed in February of 2001 at the age of 52. I had been experiencing some morning nausea and weight loss during the previous six months and attributed both to a set of challenging life circumstances.
Everything started in 2009 with a curious result on a routine blood test ordered by my allergist. After lots more tests, I was told that I had "monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance," or MGUS.
I was in the midst of purchasing a life insurance policy when a routine insurance exam detected an abnormally high protein in my urine. My family doctor advised me to wait and see if anything progressed and since there were no other symptoms, I felt comfortable with his recommendation.
Cancer tried to change my life. Once I find something I like doing, I keep doing it. I’ve lived in a small town, Langhorne, outside Philadelphia, with Barbara, my wife of 44 years, since 1979. We have three grown children: two girls and a boy. I’ve been driving the same green 1967 Corvette since 1991.
I was a 49 year-old father of five adolescent kids with a demanding job and a time-consuming commute when I was diagnosed with MM in 2003. That news, delivered clumsily by my hematologist, left me shell-shocked in his waiting room for over an hour. Nothing gets your attention like a mid-life reminder of your mortality.
Since starting our love affair in 1996, my wife Stephanie and I have shared a passion for travel and adventure. In 2017, having been married for 18 years, we visited Shanghai, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The adventures in each venue could fill many pages, but those stories are for another day.
Julie was diagnosed with high-risk multiple myeloma in October, 2020. She was asked by The Patient Story website to tell her story. Her story is so compelling that we asked her to let us link to it.
As the shortest of short summaries, she has undergone 4 lines of treatment in less than 3 years, which includes 2 clinical trials.