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Read Stacey’s Myeloma Story & Meet Her at the HealthTree 5K/1M!
Posted: May 20, 2024
Read Stacey’s Myeloma Story & Meet Her at the HealthTree 5K/1M! image

“When I was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, I had no idea of what it was and who it affected. So, like most people do, I went on a Facebook search. I had no idea how many African Americans were affected by myeloma and that there was a place that we could go to for encouragement and knowledge, a place where you don’t feel alone on this journey. I found all that and much more by joining this group.” - Stacey. 

Click Here to Join the Black Myeloma Health Group

Stacey’s Myeloma Diagnosis and Treatment 

Stacey was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in May 2022 at the age of 51. 

After experiencing excruciating back and hip pain for a long time, with encouragement from her daughter Bree, she visited the emergency room. The doctors suspected cancer and transferred Stacey to Riverside Medical for surgery, placing a titanium rod and pin in her leg to support her femur as well as treating Stacey with radiation. At Riverside Medical, Stacey was informed she had multiple myeloma. 

She was shocked to hear about the myeloma diagnosis. She initially thought her diagnosis was a death sentence, not wanting anyone to know about the cancer as she wasn’t ready to face it.  

In December 2022, Stacey underwent a stem cell transplant and stayed at the hospital for three weeks. The prospect of losing her hair caused her a lot of anxiety. Taking control of the situation, she cut her hair short in anticipation of losing it. Eventually, she got used to her new look. At one point, her brother visited and shaved her head. It was a precious moment for them to talk about Stacey’s myeloma.

Support and Faith 

Over time, Stacey started opening up about her diagnosis by talking to her church family. They were very supportive, providing gift cards and food galore. 

Stacey took a little over a year off as a Quality Assurance Specialist to focus on her health. Her co-workers were encouraging, and the long-term disability insurance helped during that time. 

Stacey’s three adult children, ages 23, 26, and 30, ensured she attended her doctor appointments. Her parents were also very supportive, having her stay with them after surgery, which was a humbling experience for her. 

Although Stacey still faces challenges living with myeloma, such as discomfort walking or sitting from the titanium pin in her femur and often traveling for bloodwork during maintenance therapy on lenalidomide (Revlimid), she leans on her faith each day to get her through. 

Her Sisters in Christ inspire her. She loves listening to her favorite music and hymns: Because He Lives! And she lives by the scripture Jeremiah 29:11: 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Stacey’s Motivation and a New Approach to Life 

Things in Stacey’s life that motivate her include spending time with her four grandchildren, ages six months to seven years old, and her dog, Luna. 

Stacey’s approach to myeloma now is learning how to live with it. She understands it doesn’t define who she is. The disease doesn’t have control over her. Stacey is proactive about listening to her body. If something feels off, she acts right away and advocates for herself. 

A phrase that stands out to her is, “At the right place, on purpose for a purpose!”

Stacey currently works at the hospital where she had her transplant, on the same floor where she used to go for her appointments. She loves being able to encourage patients and have an impact on them. She guides those who are newly diagnosed and talks to them sincerely. 

Stacey would advise other patients that this is not the end but the beginning of a new life. Look at the people who are still here. Have your moment, but don’t get stuck in it. 

Support Stacey at the HealthTree 5K/1M! 

Join Stacey at the HealthTree 5k/1M on June 8th, 2024, in Columbus, Ohio! All funds raised will directly go to critical blood cancer research. 

REGISTER TO HEALTHTREE 5K/1M TODAY!

The author Megan Heaps

about the author
Megan Heaps

Megan joined HealthTree in 2022. As a writer and the daughter of a blood cancer patient, she is dedicated to helping patients and their caregivers understand the various aspects of their disease. This understanding enables them to better advocate for themselves and improve their treatment outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, sewing, and cooking.

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