“I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in September of 2015. It was found completely by accident after I had blood work done checking for rheumatoid arthritis. My first reaction was ‘Don’t be silly, I have no problems with my skin.’ Well, multiple myeloma is much worse since its an incurable blood cancer. A tidal wave of emotions and panic hit you.
I don’t fit the so called normal criteria for this type of cancer. At the time I was 47 years and still had one of my three children at home in school. I went through five months of chemo at the infusion center at St. Luke’s and then I was approved for a stem cell transplant.
Cancer is a long and hard journey for many of is that doesn’t just end when we put the beast to sleep. The stem cell transplant required me to stay in isolation for two weeks at Fox Chase Temple. Then, when I came home, it’s many months you are restricted from being around others.
I was able to use cancer support and attend some of the support meetings they offer. This is a great place because it really lets you know you are never truly alone. In March of this year I celebrated my 2nd re-birthday as we call it when you have a transplant. Its a glorious day!!! I made it the two years and my cancer is in remission. No, I’m not cured, but the Beast has been put to bed hopefully for a long time. I am one of the lucky ones and i am grateful I live in an area that has such great doctors, hospitals, and treatments available.
Along my journey I have made many new friends some of who are no longer here. This has taught me that being a survivor not only means surviving for myself but surviving for those we have lost along the way. Anytime I have a really bad with long term maintenance chemo drugs I remember the ones we lost and how they would give anything to be here to see the sunrise one more day. So, I survive knowing every day is a gift that should never be wasted! Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley was a big help for me to realize that after I let go of the anger.
I just celebrated my 50th birthday a week ago and i am still surviving Multiple Myeloma against the odds!” – Jeanine Schantz