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Our Story

Love, Loss, and Lessons Learned:

Our Story with Multiple Myeloma

“Health is not valued till sickness comes.”

— Thomas Fuller

If you or someone you love has ever been ill, you’ll understand that good health is underrated. And when this involves death, it could be life-altering—shattering, even.

I know because my husband of 25 years died of multiple myeloma a few weeks to our 26th wedding anniversary. And since his death, life has not remained the same. This event has transformed my appreciation of life, love, and the moments we often take for granted.

Let me tell you all about it.

 

Cherishing Every Moment:

Our Life Before the Storm
I met Edward in the summer of 1995 and we got married in the spring of ‘97. Edward taught me a lot about life, love, and what marriage meant. He was so full of life and energetic, with a sense of humor that was second to none. Little wonder he was loved by everyone.

There are a few memorable moments in your life. These are moments you can never forget—happy or sad. For me, some memorable moments were graduating from middle school, landing my first job, and getting married.

I remember how nervous and excited I felt on each of these occasions knowing I was starting a new chapter of my life. I looked forward to them and on some nights, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep.

But one event I never saw coming nor looked forward to was the trip to the ER.

The Unforgettable Trip to the ER

I still remember the trip to the ER like it was yesterday. The day had started like any other day. But later that day, Edward complained of some pains. It seemed to be the kind of pain you feel when you get older—you know, the type that lets you know you’re not a kid anymore.

That night, Edward called me on his way home. Immediately I answered the phone, I felt the pain in his voice and knew something was wrong.

He then told me that he was in excruciating pain and could feel the pain most in his ribs. He said he couldn’t lie down, sit straight up, or bend fully.

Then he said something that sent shivers down my spine: “If I don’t make it home, remember I love you.”

I asked where he was so I’d come and get him. But he insisted on driving home. So, I stayed on the phone with him while he drove home to be sure he was okay.

When he got home, I was waiting. I told him we were going to the hospital because he had never felt this type of pain. He tried to brush aside the pain and discard it as nothing. But I insisted on going to the hospital despite his protests.

The Diagnosis that Changed Our Lives Forever…

After living, loving, and learning for 20+ years, our world was forever altered by that trip to the ER.

At the hospital, they ran blood tests. The results came back incredibly fast, unlike any other time I’d been to the hospital.

“I believe you have Multiple Myeloma,” the doctor told Edward.

I was scared, hurt, and upset, all at the same time. It showed all over me. My husband looked at me and, in that way, only he could, said “Don’t be scared. I’m going to beat this. We are going to beat this.”

From that moment, I dedicated myself to learning everything I could about Multiple Myeloma. I found that the mortality rate depends on the stage of the disease diagnosis. His was stage 3—the final stage.

I never expected that we would be faced with a battle that would change our family in unimaginable ways. This was the time in our lives when we were just starting to enjoy our kids and grandkids.

Five Years Left to Live…

How can you put a limit on a life and love meant to last a lifetime? Well, multiple myeloma did. It gave Edward five years left to live. Five years left to laugh. Five years left to hug, to kiss, and to cuddle.

But it was also five years of excruciating pain, frustration, and stress for Edward. He fought to beat it as he promised. And to a degree, he did beat it as he told me he would in the hospital room. They gave him 5 years and he went on to live for 5 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day. So, my Edward beat Myeloma by over 4 months.

Throughout those times, he fought so hard. He lived through a stem cell transplant, bone marrow biopsies, harvesting, radiology, MRIs, CT scans, chemo, and clinical trials. He even survived sepsis twice.

Despite all of what he endured, he did it with smiles, laughter, and gratitude for every day he had with us. There were people in our lives who never knew he had myeloma because of his joyful positive attitude.

We Should Prioritize the Health of the Men in Our Lives

So, why am I telling you all this?

I’m sharing our story because I never want another wife to lose their husband, another child to lose their father, or another parent to lose their son.

Let’s be honest. Black men carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. The world expects so much of them, yet cares little for their health.

This weight includes being judged for all the decisions they make and the ones they seemingly neglect. It includes the ridicule they face for being either too hard as a father, son, husband, and sibling or too soft.

Sometimes, we judge the men in our lives so much that we forget to live and enjoy the moment. We choose to look past their good and blame them for every seemingly wrong decision. We forget to love them. This has to change.

Myeloma Multiplies Cells Yet Subtracts Lives…

Black men need support like women do—especially when it comes to their physical health. Black men and the people they love need to prioritize their health.

We need to encourage annual check-ups, early cancer screening, and full CBC count to get ahead of this cancer that is costing us our fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, sons, and husbands.

With awareness and early testing, we can detect it in time and most importantly beat it! So, talk to your loved ones about preventative care and early screenings for multiple myeloma and other types of cancers. Let’s show the men in our lives that we care!

In Loving Memory of Edward

I lost my husband, but I can’t forget him while I live. And all I do now is for him. I hope that sharing our story will help others prioritize preventative care and early detection. Let’s help spare other families from experiencing this painful loss too soon.

I know that Edward’s spirit lives on through his legacy and my efforts to help those facing multiple myeloma beat the odds.

 

I met Edward in the summer of 1995 and we got married in the spring of ‘97. Edward taught me a lot about life, love, and what marriage meant. He was so full of life and energetic, with a sense of humor that was second to none. Little wonder he was loved by everyone.

There are a few memorable moments in your life. These are moments you can never forget—happy or sad. For me, some memorable moments were graduating from middle school, landing my first job, and getting married.

I remember how nervous and excited I felt on each of these occasions knowing I was starting a new chapter of my life. I looked forward to them and on some nights, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep.

But one event I never saw coming nor looked forward to was the trip to the ER.

I still remember the trip to the ER like it was yesterday. The day had started like any other day. But later that day, Edward complained of some pains. It seemed to be the kind of pain you feel when you get older—you know, the type that lets you know you’re not a kid anymore.

That night, Edward called me on his way home. Immediately I answered the phone, I felt the pain in his voice and knew something was wrong.

He then told me that he was in excruciating pain and could feel the pain most in his ribs. He said he couldn’t lie down, sit straight up, or bend fully.

Then he said something that sent shivers down my spine: “If I don’t make it home, remember I love you.”

I asked where he was so I’d come and get him. But he insisted on driving home. So, I stayed on the phone with him while he drove home to be sure he was okay.

When he got home, I was waiting. I told him we were going to the hospital because he had never felt this type of pain. He tried to brush aside the pain and discard it as nothing. But I insisted on going to the hospital despite his protests.

After living, loving, and learning for 20+ years, our world was forever altered by that trip to the ER.

At the hospital, they ran blood tests. The results came back incredibly fast, unlike any other time I’d been to the hospital.

I believe you have Multiple Myeloma,” the doctor told Edward.

I was scared, hurt, and upset, all at the same time. It showed all over me. My husband looked at me and, in that way, only he could, said “Don’t be scared. I’m going to beat this. We are going to beat this.”

From that moment, I dedicated myself to learning everything I could about Multiple Myeloma. I found that the mortality rate depends on the stage of the disease diagnosis. His was stage 3—the final stage.

I never expected that we would be faced with a battle that would change our family in unimaginable ways. This was the time in our lives when we were just starting to enjoy our kids and grandkids.

How can you put a limit on a life and love meant to last a lifetime? Well, multiple myeloma did. It gave Edward five years left to live. Five years left to laugh. Five years left to hug, to kiss, and to cuddle.

But it was also five years of excruciating pain, frustration, and stress for Edward. He fought to beat it as he promised. And to a degree, he did beat it as he told me he would in the hospital room. They gave him 5 years and he went on to live for 5 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day. So, my Edward beat Myeloma by over 4 months.

Throughout those times, he fought so hard. He lived through a stem cell transplant, bone marrow biopsies, harvesting, radiology, MRIs, CT scans, chemo, and clinical trials. He even survived sepsis twice.

Despite all of what he endured, he did it with smiles, laughter, and gratitude for every day he had with us. There were people in our lives who never knew he had myeloma because of his joyful positive attitude.

So, why am I telling you all this?

I’m sharing our story because I never want another wife to lose their husband, another child to lose their father, or another parent to lose their son.

Let’s be honest. Black men carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. The world expects so much of them, yet cares little for their health.

This weight includes being judged for all the decisions they make and the ones they seemingly neglect. It includes the ridicule they face for being either too hard as a father, son, husband, and sibling or too soft.

Sometimes, we judge the men in our lives so much that we forget to live and enjoy the moment. We choose to look past their good and blame them for every seemingly wrong decision. We forget to love them. This has to change.

Black men need support like women do—especially when it comes to their physical health. Black men and the people they love need to prioritize their health.

We need to encourage annual check-ups, early cancer screening, and full CBC count to get ahead of this cancer that is costing us our fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, sons, and husbands.

With awareness and early testing, we can detect it in time and most importantly beat it! So, talk to your loved ones about preventative care and early screenings for multiple myeloma and other types of cancers. Let’s show the men in our lives that we care!

I lost my husband, but I can’t forget him while I live. And all I do now is for him. I hope that sharing our story will help others prioritize preventative care and early detection. Let’s help spare other families from experiencing this painful loss too soon.

I know that Edward’s spirit lives on through his legacy and my efforts to help those facing multiple myeloma beat the odds.

Connect, Share, Thrive:
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Connect, Share, Thrive:
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