Monday, July 9, 2012

Another year under my belt

Well, time keeps marching on and I am still in remission. I was first hospitalized in June of 2009 and diagnosed in July. Chemo got me to the point where I no longer needed dialysis and then my stem cell transplant got me in remission in March 2010. Today I am still closely watched by my Dr's and take a maintenence drug. Overall I feel awesome, Chrystal and I walk between 2 and 3 miles a day and we celebrated our anniversary with a day hike at Mt Rainier. My Kidney Dr harasses me about my wieght and eating habits, but I am a foodie who likes wine,so that will always be a struggle. This has been a rugged few weeks emotionaly because a firefighter with myeloma has passed on and another has had his myeloma return. It is hard to see that happen to so many firefighters, but I continue to celebrate my life in thier honor. This year, Chrystal, Marsha, Rebecca and granddaughter Trinity joined me for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I was able to walk 18.25 miles. As life goes on I have decided to get out of retirement and go back to work. work is healthy and makes me feel productive. I have been blessed to beat the odds and kick this terrible cancer in the ass. Part of that blessing is to be able to see our family grow. Maggie Grace joined the clan in december bring our total grandkids to four. God has given us four angels for grandchildren and we are so lucky. Each time I hold one of them I thank God for giving me a second chance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time Sure Fly's when you are havin fun

Two years ago this week I went to the Dr because of headaches and feeling crappy. The Dr calls on the phone and says,meet me in ER your kidneys are failing and you are about to stroke out. I said, "WTF" but Chrystal made me go. I thought I was a fat old man who had taken aleve for too many years to relieve the pain of worn out body parts left over from being a wrestler and firefighter.

Boy was I wrong. After a lot of tests, meds, and a diet that didn't work, I was on dialysis and was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. After months of Chemo and a stem cell transplant, I have been in full remission and cancer free for over a year. I went to the kidney Dr today and he said I was still fat and needed more exercise an a healthy diet, but things looked good.

My Job as a firefighter gave me cancer, but I wouldn't do it any different. God gave me the strength to serve in the greatest job on earth.

I have so many thank you's to all who loved and supported me, My loving wife Chrystal beside me through it all, my kids,my grandkids(who don't even know they helped), my mom and dad and siblings, all my friends at church, and every single brother and sister in the IAFF! A special thanks to the members of my home local #1760 and my friends in local #1828. Kim Cole, my staff person and friend, put up with my crap and kept things gong at the office when I was sick. I could not write this with out thanking sister Colette from Seattle local 27 who brought her crew from station 17 to see me in the hospital. what a treat that was.

God Bless you all and thank God I am here. We have come a long way together in two years and I still have a long life to serve. thanks to all of you for your prayers and thank God.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

1 year celebration

WOW! it seems like yesterday. on March 12th 2010 I had my stem cell transplant at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I wondered for a few weeks what the heck I had put myself through,but looking back it was all worth it. Today, still in remission, kidneys are at 40% and that is ok. I just had a check up and all was well except the kidney dr says lose weight. So demanding!

After a year I still deal with the numb toes and childhood runny noses but it is sure better than the alternative.

I would not be here today if it were not for all the prayers and support I got from so many friends and family. My wife and kids have been rock stars and every time I see Trinity, Caitlyn, and Gunnar I realize how special life is. When I was healing I was determined to see the G-Man come into this world. I was born the week that the Drs at SCCA released to go forth and cause trouble.

My mom ad dad have been there every step of the way.

I am sure over the year I have not offered thanks to those in my IAFF family enough. My sisters and brothers from Shoreline Fire who were always available to help our when needed. Brother Doug Dahl from Edmonds/FD#1 who took me out for a beer when I needed a little relax time. Special thanks to Colette who brought her crew from Seattle Fire to see me in the hospital. I was feeling crappy that day and it lifted me up. I still owe that crew ice cream.

during the last year I have watch other brother firefighters and a dear friend on the Edmonds city council battle cancer. John Knighten who like me was treated for multiple Myeloma and is not only back on full duty in Spokane, but climbed the Colombia Tower. Rick Peters is beginning his fight but I know he will win. I am looking forward to Rick going into remission so we can all gather for a firefighter cancer survivor party and pass around an old bottle of Irish whiskey waiting to be opened.

God has given me a second chance at life and I intend to make the best of it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

it has been a while

Thought I would do a little catch up.

Thanksgiving time in 2009 I was just finishing my chemo treatments that I started i july. I got some good news, I was in partial remission and my counts were good enough to start planning for a stem cell transplant. My Kidneys had also bounced back enough that I reduced my dialysis to 2 days per week.

What a difference a year makes. Today,all my blood tests are normal and my kidneys are working well.

As we celebrated Thanksgiving I reflected on all that is was thankful for. Family and friends who prayed for me, The Drs and Nurses at Puget Sound Cancer Center, The research being done at "the Hutch", The awesome medical team at SCCA and UW.

I could go on a while, but most of all I thank God for the second chance at life.

Each day I get stronger, even though I deal with the side effects from the drugs. I have a very expensive maintenance drug that I will take for many years to come, but it is better then the alternative.

Finally, I am so lucky to have Chrystal, who has stood by my side and taken care of me all this time. I know I can be a pain, so she must really love me.

I hope all of you have time to be thankful.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

first haircut

It seems like it was so long ago, but it hasn't even been 6 months since my stem cell transplant. Sometimes I feel like the last year has been a big dream, then I go off to my next dr appointment and realize it is real. Yesterday, I had a milestone day. I went to the barber for the first time in over a year. You see when I got cancer I quit getting hair cuts knowing that one day the drugs would cause my hair to fall out and indeed it did in March of this year. The hair cut made me feel like we really were kicking butt. Even though I continue to take maintenance meds, there are still now signs of cancer and I have hair.

I also wondered what it was like when I went to the barber the first time as a little kid, which caused me to start thinking of Dr Suess. Weird huh! Anyway if you start hearing me spout Suess quotes blame the haircut.

Healing is going well and I am feeling great. My loving wife and caregiver Chrystal is getting some relief from my demands, but she still loves me and watches me to be sure I don't try to sneak anything by her or the Dr.

“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!" Dr Suess

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Complete Remission

June 12 was 90 days post transplant and the good news continues. 2 weeks ago I had my follow up bone marrow biopsy and today I got the results. no measurable signs of myeloma in my bone marrow and my blood tests are normal. The Doc's words were "COMPLETE REMISSION". Those are the sweetest words I have heard in a year. now we keep praying that it stays that way. Thank you all for your support and prayers over this last year. It ain't over yet but I know the Good Lord has his hands on me and the Dr's so I am feeling pretty darn good about now.

I almost forgot, my hair is coming back. color still in questions.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dr Follow Up

Had my follow up appointment with the kidney Dr on Monday and he said see ya in 3 months! Creatinine is 2.3 and kidneys are working. my BP was a a little higher than the Dr liked so i am back on meds to keep it low.

No the really big news! My first post transplant blood work came back with everything in the normal range, including the Kappa and Lambda light chains! That means no cancer in my blood!

Sometime in June I will get a follow up bone marrow biopsy to see where things are in my bone marrow. We are winning the fight!

I returned to the office this week and did really well. still get a little tired in the afternoon, but even old guys with no cancer need a nap. I continue to get stronger with time.

Mothers Day is Sunday and it will be special! Although my mom is out of town and missed, Chrystal and I will see our girls and grandchildren, including new grandson Gunner. My mom's love has a lot to do with my strength and for that I thank her. Chrystal is a great and loving mom to our three kids and she still has time to care for me. That is pretty darn special.

God bless you all and thanks for your on going thoughts and prayers.


ps. in case you didn't see the Everett Herald, here is a story they did about my return to work.