When I started writing a weekly blog post in January 2021, I had no idea that I would be diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma cancer three months into the year. I simply wanted to stay better in touch with friends and tell more of my story by writing and posting something once weekly.
I started out with some short blog series that were a little more “teaching” and then, partly because of your input and partly because it simply seemed as if it was the better way forward, I shifted a little more to stories as the year went on. Through the year I did some topical posts and series as well. I’d love for you to feel free to revisit the things I’ve written this past year. Feel free to share them. I think there’s some good stuff there friends! You can find it all here: https://www.jimastephens.com/
It was a big disappointment in September when we began making preparation for the Stem Cell Transplant to treat my cancer and then faced a postponement due to ICU beds at OHSU being unavailable due to COVID. We were able to complete the stem cell harvest right at the end of September, but then went on hold until the beds began to be available again and the backlog eased.
Today I began again the process of moving forward on the preparation for the transplant. All of the tests and evaluations that we did in September will need to be done again and my January calendar is already starting to fill with appointments. The first and possibly least enjoyable is another bone marrow biopsy (This’ll be my third one, so I should be getting used to them by now!). Then there will be a variety of scans, EKG’s, pulmonary tests, and weekly lab work and other tests as we move ahead. I’ll be able to do almost all these tests and evaluations here in Bend, so we can stay at home until the final week or so of January.
On January 23, we’ll travel to Portland to sign the consent forms and meet with the oncologist overseeing the transplant. I’ll check in at OHSU on January 31 and have the first day of outpatient chemotherapy. The following day, Tuesday, February 1, I’ll have the second day of chemo, then be admitted to hospital. Wednesday, February 2 is Transplant Day!
Following the transplant, I’ll expect to be in the hospital for about two weeks as my system stabilizes and my stem cells start becoming my new immune system! After release from OHSU, I’ll need to stay in the Portland area for a few more weeks for outpatient treatment and any necessary tweaks and adjustment. So by early springtime I’ll be back at home in Bend. While in Portland we’ll stay with our daughter Stephanie, her husband Philip, and our grandson Jesse in Gresham.
We would really appreciate your prayers that there will be no more delays or postponements to the process and that the transplant will be effective and give me as long as possible a period of remission from the cancer before we need to begin treating it again.
As we go through this process, there may be some time in February when I’ll not be able to write and post to my blog each week, but we’ll see how it goes!
As always, I’d love to hear from you and I welcome your comments and questions. If you’re reading on the blog, leave a comment below. If you’re reading from the email, click “Reply” and tell me what you’re thinking.
Thanks for reading!