One morning in June 2012, I woke up at at 3 a.m. with severe back pain and went straight to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with kidney stones, but as I read the scan report I noticed it had a footnote which said “bone lesions”. I showed this to my primary care doctor who then ordered blood work and referred me to an oncologist. Three weeks later, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
As a Vietnam War veteran and trial lawyer, I have been through a lot. But, this news was shocking. I thought I was going to die. Still in disbelief, I requested a second opinion at The VA Hospital. They confirmed my diagnosis and I started treatment immediately.
Thankfully, in April 2013, I received a bone marrow transplant. I was able to use my own stem cell but it was an extremely painful journey. My current treatment plan is daily medication. Some of the side effects include chronic fatigue, insomnia and a weakened immune system. My doctors advised me to avoid direct exposure to sunlight and to avoid crowds.
I advise anyone experiencing bone pain to see their doctor, especially veterans, African Americans, and those over 60 years old. Make your health and survival your number one priority.
Some days are worse than others, but I get up every day with a positive attitude and do what is necessary to fight this disease. I am proud to say I will be the Honored Hero for the Light The Night walk in Northeast Kansas this year.