What is Multiple Myeloma (MM)?

What is Multiple Myeloma (MM)?
Use this link to discover more about this type of cancer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Heading into the holidays....

Post by Valerie:

As we near Thanksgiving there are many blessing for which we will be giving thanks! Presently, Dad is at home. He was released from Providence on 11/3 after a week stay. The primary diagnosis they concluded was Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonitis (COP). This explains the significant respiratory problems he was having for about a month. The treatment for COP is rather aggressive with a recommended 24 weeks on steroids and then a tapering off at that point. Anything too soon could mean that it continues to attack or obstruct the alveoli. The symptoms of this disease mimic pneumonia so, looking back, we realize that this was likely present for awhile. However, there is a blessing here in that we have a diagnosis and a treatment!!!

The main setback that Dad has faced since being faced with COP is that he doesn't have the immunity for it. The pulmonologists have said that a high-grade fever is not typically a symptom and Dad has reached up to 104. The solution needed in this case was an infusion to boost his immune system. T took Dad to Dallas on Friday so that he could receive that and hopefully get stronger!! Dr Pineiro indicated that he could see results anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This morning he was running a fever again but he said that he is gaining a touch of strength.

We have been blessed with each other and with a good prognosis!!! Dad will continue to fight with all he has because there is alot to fight for. I am thankful for him, thankful for Dr Pineiro and his guidance, thankful for all medical caregivers who are invested in quality care, thankful for research that continues to allow better outcomes, and thankful for everyone who has given us a hug, a kind word, a prayer, or a word of encouragement!

From the whole family - Larry, Paula, Val, Kaylee, Tim, Kim, Harrison

**Please keep my friend, Leslie, in your prayers as she and her sister Cristy lost their Dad last week. A Dad is a precious thing to a daughter and they need warm thoughts!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Life After Transplant

A quick update - since it's been a while...

Since having the stem cell transplant, life has had its ups and downs for dad.  Some days are great, and some are far from it.  We were pleasantly surprised when he started getting out and about, working, going to sporting events, etc pretty quickly after being released.  Also, blood tests and other tests have shown that the transplant has done what it was supposed to do and has the cancer presence moving in the right direction.  There have been a few set backs, though. 

A couple of weeks ago, dad was admitted at Providence for about 6 days with pneumonia-like symptoms.  He had breathing trouble pretty consistently - and the docs determined that it wasn't pneumonia but a disorder caused by the transplant that causes similar symptoms.  After being released, things didn't progress and get better like they should've.  This past Thursday night, dad was admitted again with a consistently high fever (above 103) and significant breathing problems (no relation to the Rangers heartbreaking loss in game 6 that same night).

They've run a lot more tests since he's been admitted this time and have found a couple of issues - but still waiting to find out exactly what is causing the shortness of breath and very easy fatigue.  They think it's some type of infection and have taken some tissue from his lungs to test.  Aside from that, they discovered that he's got a vocal cord disorder, where the vocal cords do not expand the way they should and occasionally spasm and seriously restrict air flow.  It's a treatable problem, but also a scary one. 

We will post another update when we know more about what is going on and what is discovered and done for the lung and infeciton problems.  In the meantime it looks like he'll be in the hospital for a little while - he's been doing worse since being admitted, but they have controlled the fever.  He's in room 486 at Providence.  Hopefully the next update is some positive news.  As always, thanks a ton for the support and prayers.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


After 6 days admitted in the hospital, and a total of 4 weeks in Dallas, on Tuesday of this week dad's blood counts and numbers started to rebound and he was released and allowed to come home.  We don't know yet how "successful" the transplant was in terms of remission - time will answer that question... and we will hopefully get some test work done and results over the coming weeks that will give us an indication.  In the meantime, we're incredibly proud of dad to have handled this process as well as he did - and incredibly happy that he was able to come back home.  Also, due to good timing (Harrison not yet having received vaccinations) he was able to meet his grandson right when he got home!

The recovery is still going to take a lot of time and a lot of continued doctor's visits, but this picture represents a turning point in a very long journey...... thanks to all for the continued thoughts and prayers!!!  They've meant a lot to our family.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Birthday

Post by Valerie:

Today is Dad's birthday. Yesterday he was admitted into Roberts Hospital, which is a part of Baylor University Medical Center. It is located next door to the Cancer Center. His room area is with several other cancer patients who have undergone the STC treatment. The admission was due to a variety of reasons: low blood pressure, low blood counts, and difficulty holding food and liquids.

Tim, Paula, and I are here with him today as we honor him on his 58th birthday :-) He's looking well today and is happy to have visitors!! His white blood cell count is still really low and he is receiving Neupogen injections to continue to boost those. He received platelets today also. Dad says he is feeling better and is able to hold food down which gives him some more energy. He is running a fever today so keep him in your prayers today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!! Stay strong!

Monday, July 25, 2011

LWP and Harrison

Post by Val and Tim:

This has been a big week for our family!! Dad's STC occured on Monday and Tuesday. For the rest of the week he went in to the clinic everyday for monitoring, hydration, and tests. They are watching counts for white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. The white blood cell count drops significantly with the chemo treatment and that is what we want. The other two have to be watched closely and if there is a drop too low then they are prepared for blood transfusions.

Each day, the numbers were doing what they are expected to do. The primary difficulties for Dad have been nausea and vomiting. He has been given a variety of medications to help with that but it is part of the process that sometimes just can't be avoided. Dad takes several antibiotics to prevent any type of infection, as that would be a big threat we do not want to face.

The past few days have been difficult for him. Tomorrow he will be going through his first transfusion and we are hoping that he will start to feel better afterwards!!!

Yesterday was the birth of Dad's first grandchild! Harrison Riley Payne was born in Waco, TX at 3:03pm. Tim and Kim are ecstatic and Harrison is such a sweet baby. He is so content experiencing the world and the love of his family. Dad and Paula were able to follow the birth events through the blessing of technology. Texts, phone calls, and video were exchanged. Of course we knew the possibility of Harrison's arrival and Dad's treatment would likely come at the same time so we were prepared for how to keep them as informed as the situation would allow!!!!

Welcome to the world, Harrison:

Dad, we love you!!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Positive Progress

Post by Tim:

I had the opportunity to get away for a few hours and head up to Dallas to visit Dad yesterday.  I couldn't have enjoyed the visit more, and it was somewhat of a relief for me since I can't get up there as much as I'd like to.

He received the transplant on Monday morning and Tuesday morning, and the chemo from the weekend has had a chance to catch up to him and start taking effect.  Even though he's seeing the expected side effects - nausea, unable to eat, low blood counts, etc - I was pleasantly surprised at his alertness and condition.  He was actually able to chat for a while and eat a little bit while I was there, and had a real positive attitude about everything.  Based on what I've heard and read (and even based on talking to him the previous day), I really didn't expect to be able to get much out of him... especially considering what he's been through and the amount of medication he's on (probably has enough stock to start up a small pharmacy).  I know we're not done yet and maybe haven't even hit the lowest blood counts yet - but I'd definitely say he's doing as well as could be expected. 

Hoping that things continue to progress the way they are and should.  If all goes well, hopefully he'll get to see his grandson right after he's born via the technology they call the "skype", or however you spell it - and then meet him sooner than later. 

Aside from that, his schedule now is daily monitoring and IV fluids at least until the end of the month.  Thanks everyone for the messages, e-mails, phone calls, facebooks, and any other form of communication that you may have used.  Dad really appreciates it - and so do we.  Please continue to pray for recovery and a good end result, and know that we all feel blessed and grateful for the support we're getting.  We will continue to keep you posted.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Collection complete

Post by Tim:

Dad's collection process is complete as of today - they just hit the target number on the last day.  He didn't get a break like we were hoping, but it's done. He's feeling pretty good - the collection part hasn't been too bad, just tiring.  Tomorrow is a big day - he will be getting high-dose melphalan (chemo) for a good part of the day that will kill as many cancer cells as possible (that will also unfortunately kill healthy blood cells as well).  In the meantime they're freezing the stem cells collected and will start putting them back in on Monday - which is the official transplant day, or day 0 as they call it.  Some people call it a "re-birthday".  The following weeks he'll have daily monitoring, IV's and transfusions as needed.  More info to come this weekend or next week.  As always, we all appreciate the thoughts and prayers you've been sending this way.