GARY RUDMAN’S STORY FOR MULTIPLE MYELOMA AND OSTEOSARCOMA (31 July 19)
I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (non-curable blood cancer) in Apr 15. On 4 Aug 15, I had an autologous stem cell transplant. On 28 Aug, I was told by my stem cell doctor that I was in Complete Remission. This was a day my wife, my best friend, my family, and I will never forget.
In Nov 15, my MD Anderson oncologist said I would be an excellent candidate for an immunotherapy clinical trial. I started the clinical trial (my third) on Jan 16 and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston quickly became my second home. I was traveling to Houston weekly in the beginning. At the 2 month point, my Empliciti (Elotuzamab) infusions/travel were every other week. Relief came at the 4 month point. Empliciti infusions and travel were once a month.
In Nov 18, my cancer pain increased exponentially. After putting my foot down and telling my doctor I’m not leaving MD Anderson until this is figured out. After a re-biopsy of my sacral tumor, and presentation/evaluation at a Sarcoma Tumor Board (MDA), I was diagnosed with “Radiation Induced Osteosarcoma”. My wife Robin and I were shocked. Definitely not expected.
In May and October 2014, I received two separate courses of radiation to shrink my sacral tumor (pelvic area). The tumor was a precursor to Multiple Myeloma. The radiation treatments did not have any effect. Thus, the tumor did NOT shrink. Four years later, we were told by our Sarcoma Doctor that the radiated tumor morphed into osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Lovely….
Back to November 2018. We met with our Sarcoma Doctor. While I don’t recall much of the discussion, I do distinctly remember the word: osteosarcoma. The appointment concluded with: “Go home, enjoy thanksgiving and be back Monday with the expectation to be admitted to the hospital on Thursday for high dose chemotherapy. At this time, due to the tumor location and complexity, surgery was NOT an option. In short, there was a number of nerves involved in the tumor. An accidental or purposeful cut to remove not a piece of the tumor, but the entire tumor plus margins could produce irreversible consequences. One of the potential issues was cutting the nerve which defined walking. As an endurance athlete plus normal person (if I can say that), use of my legs in many functions was something I did not want to lose. At a later appointment with our Sarcoma Doctor, I told him I did NOT want to have surgery. He concurred and we discussed “what could have been” for a very, very short time.
After the second chemotherapy cycle, my doctor said we could go home for treatment. A small victory, and yes we were relieved of only for a little bit. Baby steps. Small victories. You take all victories now matter how small, mo matter how big. A positive gain is just that. And, being and remaining positive is a huge complete to successfully squash cancer.
I am presently near the end of my 4th chemo cycle. The first chemotherapy was Cisplatin. This interfered with my kidney functions and continued Cisplatin usage could have resulted in further kidney damage. The second drug is Doxorubicin, or the Red Devil as some call the drug. Why? Because the drug is RED and for a while after injection, all bodily functions become RED. This could be quite traumatic if the Patient was NOT informed. Doxorubicin produced minimal side effects with exception for fatigue.
Living My New Normal Life. I continue to do what I love to do. I haven’t cycled as much as I would like. Mostly since I was dozing off on my bike while riding outsidesThis was not good and any outcome with say, a car, would be bad.
I am an endurance cyclist.
I did start late if life but I have been cycling for the past 10 years. Even with cancer, I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa on 27 Feb 17 with a team inclusive of 6 Multiple Myeloma Patients. During March 2018, I trekked over 80 miles to Everest Base Camp in Nepal with Embark Exploration Co., and a great than great guide, Erik. Erik was with me on Kilimanjaro and on EBC. Extremely knowledgeable of the area, Trek, and of each adventure team member. There was one other MM Patient with me on the trek, Brother Jeff. The organization I trekked with was the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (#MMRF). The umbrella group is called Moving Mountains For Multiple Myeloma (#MM4MM). Cure Magazine (cancer magazine) is an driving sponsor. Marty is one of Cure Magazine’s Directors and IS, emphasize IS, a key reason why the #MM4MM treks, adventures occur. A great man with a huge or larger than huge heart. Look for #MM4MM on Facebook and scroll to the video section. The videos tell compelling life stories of Multiple Myeloma Patients. Marty IS the reason the videos occur. Uncage The Soul is the production company. John and Ben turn videos into a living, inspirational product.
Nearly a year later I was thrown a loop with osteosarcoma. My motto is Never Quit Never Stop Not Today Not Ever (R). The motto is a registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). My Facebook site to “Help Patients In Any Way” is called Never Quit Never Stop Not Today Not Ever (R). Please take a look at my Facebook page and share with other Patients and Caregivers. If you like what you see, and I believe you will, “like” the page to become a follower.
For Never Quit Never Stop Not Today Not Ever®, I have 2301 followers. I have no sponsors. The Purpose remains to Provide motivational, inspirational, and educational materials, with discussions and short, themed videos To Help Patients In Any Way.
All I ask for in return is a SMILE
Thank you to all my followers for your comments, information sharing, phone calls, texts, and emails. It is my pleasure and honor to help YOU and my #MMRFamily.
L. Gary and Robin, Multiple Myeloma Patient and Myeloma Warrior
- Osteosarcoma Patient
- Multiple Myeloma Patient Advocate
- FB: Never Quit Never Stop Not Today Not Ever™– Spreading Awareness for Multiple Myeloma – Helping Patients In Any Way