To my dearest family and my friends, this is Buddy on Friday morning, April 19, 2013. Ria noted below my diagnosis. Here is a brief description.
Amyloidosis (am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a disease that occurs when substances called amyloid proteins build up in your organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein usually produced by cells in your bone marrow that can be deposited in any tissue or organ. Primary Amyloidosis is rare, affecting about 8 in One Million people.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, found in bone marrow, the blood-producing tissue that fills in spaces within bone. In people with multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) multiply in the bone marrow, the factory of the blood. The result is fewer healthy blood cells (red cells, white cells and platelets). These plasma cells also produce an abnormal protein (a monoclonal, or M, protein) that can cause damage.
15% of Amyloidosis patients have myeloma. Do the math and the frequency of this is one in a million people have the combination of these two diseases. I'm THE one!
Before we made this posting, Ria and I wanted to talk with our kids. We told Luis and Nadya last night. I told them that daddy had cancer. I already told them that I took the first dose of Chemotherapy (yesterday, Thursday) and they gave me a thumbs up and said "Go daddy!". I talked to Bianca this morning and she asked me, "Do you have cancer daddy?". I said "Yes, baby, daddy has cancer". Ria and I agreed from the outset that we would tell our children everything. I think they understood the situation and they're taking it well. Many of you are parents and when your 7 year old says "I really miss you daddy", it's a bit hard not to well up a bit.
Yesterday was the kickoff, I had the first shot of chemotherapy at 345pm. No immediate side effects. I also had my first dose of Prednisone (corticosteroid) as well as a beta blocker for my recent heart problems. Today I will be going through 10 tablets of an oral chemotherapy, nausea reduction medicine, along with a couple of antibiotics. The first "series" of chemotherapy will last for 3 months. My cousin Dr. Ruffy (Festin) has also set me up with a local doctor to help administer the chemo shots so we don't have to go to Rochester every week.
My spirits are great. How can they not be with the family and friends we have? My wonderful wife has now graduated with a Class A wheelchair driving license. She's the reason that I can't stop smiling every day (whether I have bone cancer or not!). I also can't say enough about my 83 year old father, who has more physical strength than many people 1/2 his age. My 77 year old mom can drive better through a Minnesota winter storm than any "Manong Driver" I know. My brother who takes quick day trips to MN to see me before he heads to Paris. My wonderful kids and my in-laws who are taking care of them. I also can't say enough thank yous to my extended family and friends who call, Facetime, Skype, text, comment on the blog and send their prayers. My love and hugs to all of you for your support.
Cancer is a very serious issue. We all know that and we've all been touched by it at some point in our lives. I've found that prayer and faith in our Lord has always been at the forefront in treatment of Cancer. Yes, I'll have to take all the chemotherapy, corticosteroids, antibiotics, beta-blockers, etc.., but none of that will mean anything without all of your prayers, your love and well wishes.
I've also found that a positive attitude and being able to laugh and enjoy life during this "journey" is important. To complement the theme of "One in a Million", please click on the video below. Many of you (like Ria and I) grew up in the 80's generation (you know who you are). My request is in addition to sending your prayers, that each of you click and watch the video. Sing the lyrics (you know them!), dance along with the music (ladies of the 80's, please bring back your left-right step from 2:54-3:05!). You will be reminded of the feathered hair, big collars, and everything that was wonderful about music back then. Yes, your children will look at you funny.
I know you are laughing and smiling!
More to come soon!