Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My dad

As some of you may or may not know my dad was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells (or cells that make antibodies). Here's an explanation:

Multiple myeloma is the most common of a group of diseases called plasma cell neoplasms. Plasma cell neoplasms result when certain cells in the blood (called plasma cells) become cancerous. Plasma cells are made in the bone marrow by white blood cells called lymphocytes. The plasma cells make antibodies, which help fight infection in the body.

Usually, bone marrow contains only about two percent plasma cells. But when a person has multiple myeloma, the body keeps making more and more abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, and they make more and more antibodies. These extra cells do not help fight off infection; instead, they stop the body from making normal infection-fighting antibodies and crowd out normal cells.

The cancer cells collect in the bone marrow and slowly destroy the bone. Myeloma cells also trigger the release of bone-weakening chemicals that lead to bone destruction and bone pain and can collect in the bone to make small tumors called plasmacytomas.

Right now he's at stage 2 and has had bone damage and is in a lot of pain right now because he has a spinal compression of the spine at his T6 vertebrae, holes in both thigh bones, pitting on his ribs, and damage to different areas of the spine. The plasmacytomas are what caused the bone destruction/damage and the doctors are hoping to reverse the damage and stop it from happening any more. He is currently on pain meds and will be taking cancer drugs as soon as the insurance company approves it (a month supply of the pills cost over $8000). My dad will also eventually undergo chemo and be given stem cell transplants. I'm extremely grateful for my background in Biology right now because I can help my family better understand what is going on and why the doctors are giving my dad certain meds. I just pray that everything works out for my dad and that he can still have many happy years to enjoy being with our family. This whole situation has definitely made me think of what is most important in my life and helped me to make more definite decisions on what I want to do in the next few years. I'm most worried about my little sister because I want her to be able to have her dad around when she graduate high school, gets married, and graduates college. I know my dad is a strong person and a fighter. He will do whatever it takes to put this cancer in remission. His motto: "I'm hoping to pull a Lance". My dad loves to cycle and he is a huge fan of Lance Armstrong. He's hoping to beat the cancer just like Lance did. I love you dad and we are all praying for you and hoping you beat this!

What we've been up to

These past few months have been pretty busy in our household! David has been going to different places training and is constantly busy. I have been keeping busy with work and getting things in order for the future. On the 17th I took the PCAT for what will hopefully be the last time! I submitted my application to Creighton University for next Fall and I'm hoping that I will hear from the school soon with some good news! Next month David and I will be taking a trip to Vegas so we can drive to CA and climb Mt. Whitney! This will be my first backpacking trip with David. We have purchased most of our gear for the trip and with every package that is delivered I get more and more excited/nervous. I'm mostly looking forward to the days after our climb when we will spend a couple nights in Vegas. I've never been and want to see what all the hype is about. If any of you have a suggestion of something we can do let me know! We are looking forward to spending some time together away from the distractions of the world. I've been busy with work most days and when I'm not busy with work I have started some sewing projects. I'm currently working on a quilt and making cute baby blankets! I'll post some picture soon.