Today I am introducing a series about a number of multiple myeloma survivors and patients. Most are living normal or near normal lives following their cancer diagnosis. A few are still having a rough time. I will also be going back into our archives, reviving inspirational stories of myeloma patients I have met and reported on in the past.
Why? All of this in response to a thoughtful suggestion by a reader over the weekend. Their request:
…I would personally like to see more experiences from others that highlight their overall health improvements while going through this short term condition known as multiple myeloma.
Yesterday I noted how I, like many medical writers, get caught up in the stats and latest research developments. But what about the patients?
Today I would like to kick-off my series by writing about a true multiple myeloma success story: Karl Vollstedt. Karl and his wife and caregiver, Lorraine, live in Hastings, Minnesota, located half way between Minneapolis and Rochester, Minnesota, home to the Mayo Clinic. Karl was initially diagnosed with smoldering myeloma. He started a support group in Stillwater, Minnesota, a river town northeast of the Twin Cities just across the border from Wisconsin. Several years later, Karl’s myeloma became more active. Following an allergic reaction to Revlimid, Karl slowed his myeloma using a combination of Thalomid and dex. Later he tried Velcade, and has also had good luck with that. Karl in in his 70’s, but you wouldn’t know it! A large guy, Karl is always smiling. He is outgoing and very active in the multiple myeloma community, working with the IMF. Karl and Lorraine donate to the IMF, as well as a Minnesota based research group called “Bank on a Cure.” You would never know Karl is sick. He doesn’t let his cancer slow him down—he has embraced it and has turned his negative experience into a positive—reaching out to other multiple myeloma patients in need. Despite a few hiccups, Karl continues to do well today. I am proud to call Karl and Lorraine Vollstedt friends! The world is a better place because they are here.
Think this story is exceptional or unusual? You would be wrong! I have met many, many others like Karl and Lorraine since my diagnosis in April of 2007. I will be sharing more about some of these people’s exceptional lives over the next few weeks.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat