I want to thank everyone who has kindly commented, called or emailed me after reading yesterday’s post.  Your compassion and empathy have lifted my spirits and helped me cope.  So far, so good!

One of the reasons the news of my relapse hit me so hard: I learned that a friend with multiple myeloma had died earlier in the week.

Judy 2I first “met” Judy Malkiewicz last year when she emailed me, desperate for a lifeline.  She had been diagnosed with high risk multiple myeloma the year before, and nothing seemed to be working.  Yet through the pain and despair, Judy took time to send me wonderful family photos of her rugged mountain home, dogs and family.

Truth be told, I’m not a high risk myeloma expert.  So after making a few suggestions and exchanging emails, I asked MMB columnist and high risk survivor, Danny Parker, to see if he could help.

Danny began to correspond regularly with Judy, keeping me updated; all the while helping to comfort and counsel her.  The two seemed to bond instantly.  And it was easy to see why–Judy was so caring and likeable.

Unfortunately, all of the love and kindness in the world couldn’t slow down Judy’s raging and unforgiving cancer.  Nothing her doctors tried seemed to work.   And they tried everything, from tandem transplants to drug combinations like VD-PACE, and long shots like vorinostat.

JundyJudy was a true daughter of the West.  Born and bred in Idaho, she sought treatment in Colorado and Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale.  Towards the end, Judy was distraught.  How could she be fighting so hard for so little result?  I’m so thankful that–all the way from Florida–Danny was there to help comfort her.

Surrounded by family, friends and her dogs, Judy died at home on Wednesday.  She only lived 28 months, post diagnosis.

Hearing of Judy’s passing, the day before receiving the news that my myeloma had unexpectedly become active again, left me feeling vulnerable and exposed.  It also left me thankful that my myeloma seems to respond favorably to different therapies that my doctors have tried.

Judy was kind and brave.  No one should have to endure what she did for so little result.  Rest in peace, Judy.  You will be missed.

Even when it’s hard, always try to feel good and keep smiling!  Judy wouldn’t have it any other way.  Pat