Stem Cell Transplant: Today

Side note: For those new to Rob’s blog, welcome! Feel free to read Rob’s journey on this blog, from diagnoses to stem cell transplant, to living with Mulitple Myeloma through the 1 year anniversary of the transplant today, 2/27/20!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Please don’t hesitate to contact us at KeepPoundingRob@gmail.com if you’d like to talk with another Multiple Myeloma patient and/or caregiver. πŸ™‚

Rob, 1 year post stem cell transplant, February 2020:

Message from Rob:

Today is an emotional day, marking the one year anniversary of my stem cell transplant.  

I would like to thank everyone, who follows this blog.  I appreciate your prayers, friendships, and reassurances over the past 18 months.  I couldn’t have made it without you.  I cannot adequately express how your friendship and outreach helped me.  I will forever carry a deep appreciation and unbounded gratitude for your acts of kindness. 

Multiple myeloma is a rare form of cancer.  With multiple myeloma, the body produces too many plasma cells.  This leads to weaken of bones, fatigue, and increased vulnerability to infections. Like any cancer, multiple myeloma is a barbaric invader that attempts to overtake your body.  While wearing a β€œcancer fighter” button, a kind stranger whispered in my ear to β€œfight like a beast.”  These few words made a lasting impression on me and encapsulate the β€œkeep pounding” mindset. 
Alone, I would never be able β€œto fight like a beast.” 

Without the expert care and compassion from the cancer team at Levine Cancer Institute, my myeloma would not be under control.  They are some of biggest encouragers and supporters. Without each of my friends who reached out to Brandii and me, I would not have experienced the same level of healing. 

My friends have been encouragers, prayer warriors, and diversions from cancer.  Without my family, I could not have made this journey.  Brandii is amazing and is a constant source of love, encouragement, and support. Every family member has contributed in countless ways to help me fight like a beast.  Without people reading Keep Pounding Rob and sending thoughts, friendship, and prayers, I could not have made the same progress. Without the kindness of strangers, multiple myeloma might be winning the fight. There are countless people who donate for research, participate in 5k walks and runs to bring awareness and support, and pray for healing and cures.  Finally, some strangers will see you and smile or share encouraging words. These small acts lift my spirits. 

Again, thank you.  Each of you have enabled me to have the strength, the faith, the resiliency, and the persistence to keep pounding.  

β€œMany people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Stem Cell Transplant: Then

Hi Keep Pounding Rob Team!

Stem Cell Transplant: Then

We wanted to pick a few pictures that signify a year ago today, when Rob began the stem cell transplant for Multiple Myeloma.

Side note: For those new to Rob’s blog, welcome! Feel free to read Rob’s journey on this blog, from diagnoses to stem cell transplant, to living with Mulitple Myeloma through the 1 year anniversary of the transplant today, 2/27/20!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at KeepPoundingRob@gmail.com if you’d like to talk with another Multiple Myeloma patient and/or caregiver. πŸ™‚

Part of the stem cell transplant. We are so thankful to the stem cell transplant team!!

Stem Cell Harvest, a two day procedure that harvested one million stem cells. 1/3 to be used for the transplant, 1/3 to be used for research, and 1/3 to be stored in reserve. The Apheresis Unit at Levine is outstanding on so many levels!

Each foot represented a walk down the hall, often times with great difficulty but incredible determination. The caring teams at Atrium 4B had these feet that Rob picked up after each walk. They were so encouraging, and helped Rob gain a new appreciation for walking in general, and they are truly angles here on earth.

Playing some cards during his 2 1/2 week stay (the first time, and his 1 week stay the second). If anyone new to the stem cell transplant world is reading this, cards and board games help pass the time after transplant.
Ringing the bell on 4B, on the way home from Rob’s stem cell transplant!

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving Keep Pounding Rob friends and family! 😊

A quick update on labs and eyes (yep, plural).

The monthly labs look great!! The multiple myeloma remains inactive. We are so thankful beyond words!

Rob’s right eye that had the detached retina is healing well, though taking longer to heal. He hopes to have full vision in that eye around the New Year.

Now on to Rob’s left eye. Rob started seeing spots, swirls and a black curtain in his eye after the hematologist appointment two days ago.

When we called the retina specialist, they said to come in and not eat or drink anything between that time and the appointment.

Luckily, what Rob was experiencing was not a detatched retina, but retina tears. The retina specialist was able to perform a laser procedure to repair the tears.

We are so thankful it didn’t involve surgery! Rob’s vision should be clear in that eye in a week or so.

Despite these setbacks, we are so thankful to have made such progress from this time last year!!

I mean this with all of the sincerity I can express on a blog- we could not have gotten this far without the Keep Pounding Rob team!! Ya’ll are the most kind, loving and thoughtful people ever, and we are so fortunate to have each of you on our side!!

Happy Thanksgiving, and much love to you all!!❀❀❀

Monthly Labs and Eye Update

Hi Keep Pounding Rob team!

Rob’s monthly lab work looks great! He will will continue chemotherapy, 3 weeks on, 1 week off.

“If your disease re-appears, we have trials!” A heartfelt quote from Rob’s hemtologist, during the appointment today.

Without the past multiple myeloma drug trials, patients would not have had as good outcome now verses 10 years ago.

Rob told his doctor today he is ready to participate in a trial if his cancer relapses. It feels good having that plan and mindset in place- especially as he remains in “Very Good Partial Response.” Not as good as complete response, and thankfully not as bad as no response.

On a much  lighter note- check out this creative and fun surprise that one of his nurses gave us:

A Halloween hand filled with candy!πŸŽƒπŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

On to the eye update:

Rob has been following the surgeon’s orders of lying down all day and night on one side with the exception of 3 10-minute breaks. He is able to walk up the street and back once a day- using the cane as a precuation since he still can’t see out of that eye.

The longer time to get his eyesight back is due to the many other tears they saw during surgery, in addition to the detached retina.

He probably won’t be able to see out of that eye for another few weeks. We will know more on this Friday, along with an update on positioning restrictions. I’ll post an update here after the appointment.

While Rob wasn’t able to go to the Multiple Myemoma Research Foundation (MMRF) 5k this past weekend, I went and picked up our shirts and some other goodies. More about this awesome event in the next post. 😊

Thank you to all that supported us in the walk! We have big plans for MMRF 5k next October (date to be announced) including team shirts for our Keep Pounding Rob walkers and runners!πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸƒβ€β™‚οΈπŸƒβ€β™€οΈπŸ‘πŸ‘ŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers!!!

Darn Bump in the Road

Rob has a detached retina and hemorrhage, and will have surgery tomorrow.

The stem cell transplant put him at increased risk for it, as did family history.

We are thankful to add an excellent eye surgeon to his care team!

Surgery is scheduled for 11:45 tomorrow, and I will update afterwords.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers!!

Keep Pounding Room at LCI

Levine Cancer Institute (LCI) has a new room for patients and caregivers to relax in, while in between appointments and testing.

We stopped in briefly this morning and took a few pictures. This is a welcome addition for cancer patients and families!!

More pictures and much more information to come. For our new friends to LCI, this is located next to Lori’s gifts, in between LCI I and LCI II buildings, on the 3rd floor (right around the corner from Caribou Coffee).