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Larry Owens

1956 / Class of 1997 / Type: IgA / Updated: 3/02

When I was 41, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. This came about after playing a round of golf and my back and ribs were hurting so bad I had to go see my doctor. It took four months before and MRI was conducted and it was discovered I had a tumor and compression fracture of my T-7 Vertebrae. I was then referred to my cancer doctor, Dr. Dennis Moore, Jr., Kansas Cancer Center. Dr Moore conducted a bone marrow biopsy, Bence-Jones protein test, Myeloma panel, etc., and discovered my IGA was well above normal at 622. He suggested we do the SWOG protocol and sent me to Texas for this. I took four rounds of VAD, followed by high-dose chemo, and T-cell transplant. 

This was in January, 1998. I was in complete remission until present day, where I have started having severed back pain again. Yesterday, 27 Aug 2001, I had an MRI and the doctor told me the cancer has probably gone into the T 6, 8 and 9 vertebrae. It will be confirmed the Sept 1st after a bone biopsy is done. 

I grew up in the state of Arkansas and joined the military in 1976, Air Force, and was medically discharged in Dec 1997. I have never been sick a day in my life until this occurred. I have had to have a right hip replacement in Aug 1999 from the steroids (Prednisone) I was given because it caused a vascular necrosis. The high-dose chemo left me very sick, but was only hospitalized 5 days, and engraftment from the T-cell transplant was on day 8. I went home on day 27. This treatment for me was very good and helped, but I believe the fight is on again. 

I am married and have 5 children, 3 still at home, with the youngest being 8 years old. My wife and children are what keeps me fighting and I will fight to the end. I believe having a positive attitude helped me the most because I think mind over matter is the best thing for all. My faith in God and his power is my strength along with my family.

Sep 2001: It was discovered the Myeloma had returned and had gotten into my Lumbar Spine. My doctor started me on regime of Thalomid and I had complications of dizziness, passing out, etc., and this regime was stopped. My siblings were then tested to see if they were a match for an allogeneic transplant and my sister was a perfect match. I was scheduled to have the transplant on 10 Jan 2002 but she came down with the flu so my new date is 24 Jan 2002. I have said numerous times that the Lord will protect and guide me through all this and I know without a doubt I am being held in his hands at all times. My family, friends, and everyone who knows me, knows this journey I am taking has made me stronger in the lord and I will give him all the glory and praise. If by any chance someone comes to know Christ through this journey I am taking then the reward is well worth it. Pray for my family and I as this journey begins its new chapter.

Mar 2002: I am still waiting for my allogeneic transplant. Some things have happened to put things on hold. I started having severe back pain again and through and MRI it was discovered I had a tumor on the L4/L5 vertebrae with a slipped disc on the L2 causing numbness in my legs. My doctor wants to get these problems straightened out before the transplant so I am taking 16 rounds of radiation and then a possible back surgery to fix the disc. My faith will never waver and I believe God will take care of me no matter what.

For anyone facing this fight, my prayers will always be sent up for you and your family. Support is the best thing in my mind to help you rest your mind. If anyone wants to contact me please do and I will talk very freely about my story or listen to yours.

Thanks and God Bless, Larry


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