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Steven Howell


1962 / Class of '96 / Plasmacytomas in head, SCT, Thal  / Updated: 5/03

My name is Kimberly Howell ( My husband Steven has had Myeloma since he was 31 years old, several years before diagnosis. It started with his bending over the couch, and he said," I broke my rib." We took him to the hospital and they did a rib scan, and said every thing was fine, just muscle strain. A year went by and he was in terrible pain, so we went back to the doctor, and they said he had a tumor and that a rib was gone. They did surgery and found another spot on his spine. Before he woke up, the doctor came out and said it was cancer. I wanted to die right there. I had to tell the man I love more than anything in the world that he has cancer. That was, and always will be, the worst day of my life.

He immediately got a port implanted in his chest. When the doctor called, he said he had to get a port put in. We had no clue what he was talking about. You sure learn fast about all kinds of things. So he had chemotherapy , in the hospital, 5 days straight, 3 weeks off, for 6 months, along with lots of radiation. Then a few months went by and his eyes felt stressed, so we went in to get it checked out. They said he had a tumor as big as a golf ball, pressing on his brain, and half his scull was missing. So they took the tumor out, slapped some plastic in its place, and he was wanting Taco bell food the same night and went home the next day.

A few months later, his neck started hurting and he had tumors on the upper part of his spine. So he had more radiation, but it didn't work, he had tumors up and down his spine. We went to Moffitt, a cancer center in Florida where we live and they worked him up to a stem cell transplant, with a year of chemo. Six months after the transplant, we found out it didn't work. But thank God for research, the drug that once deformed babies, thalidomide, is now curing bone cancer.

One-and-a-half years, and my husband is clean, free of cancer. He now has neuropathy, nerve damage. He has battled a year of shingles, pneumonia, and much more. It is May 2003, and he still loves the sweet sound of a hot rod burning rubber down the road, he now does a lot of car reading, magazines, books, anything he can get his hands on. He hasn't worked since his first surgery. His feet are so bad he doesn't do much, but he still has a good attitude, and still has hopes and dreams. As far as me, I write a lot of poems (cancer poems, of course.) Day by day, that's how we survive.


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