My name is Michelle and I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2010. I had always been an active person who maintained a healthy lifestyle through exercise and a good diet.

When the back pain started in 2009 I was told by my Primary Physician it most likely was a strain and sent to PT.  In 2010, while on a RV trip with my husband Dan in Oregon I again had unbelievable back pain. During a hike noticed tingling down my leg and I was unable to lift my left leg. I ended up in the ER in Bend, Oregon, and a MRI confirmed I had a collapsed vertebrae and a small bone fragment was pushing on my spinal cord. The collapsed vertebrae at the T12 which was caused by a plasmacytoma (a malignant plasma cell tumor).

After two surgeries and a 10 day hospital stay I departed Bend Oregon with a brace on for my back and the diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, CANCER. How could I have cancer? One month prior I had ridden my bicycle 100 miles around Crater Lake. I was a healthy person, cancer! I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Elbert and others, mountains all above 14,000 feet. I had ridden my bike up Mt. Evans, over 14,000 ft. in a race. Physical activity was part of my lifestyle. How could I have cancer?

In 2012 I entered treatment. I spent the summer months in treatment all the while remaining as active as possible. Riding, swimming and hiking. I had a Stem Cell Transplant in September 2012 and achieved complete remission.

I spent 6 months on Revlimed maintenance but discontinued use as I was having problems with a high Eosinophill count and constant low WBC.

I ride my bicycle, hike, yoga, swim and love the outdoors. This summer we’re off to Colorado to climb some awesome peaks and ride our bicycles to high places. I will not let cancer win and will continue to look forward, not back. My motto is “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”

— Michelle

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