Posted by: givney42 | March 31, 2010

Reason part 2

So like I wrote before the walk idea was started well before my mom became ill.  Ever since the first time I went to France with my uncle and saw the unoffical starting point of the camino frances I wanted to walk it. That was back in 2000. Then when I returned home and found out my mom knew of the pilgrimage, and that she wanted to walk it some time.  So I started planning, I had just hoped it would be with her.  Instead it will be with Nigel and I plus anyone who wants to come along, or meet along the way. 

Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow. There is no cure for it, however it is treatable and many patients go on to lead full lives for years depending on how agressive the disease is.  It is a very individual disease. Sometimes it is slow moving, but can be more agressive too.  Multiple Myeloma involves the specialized white blood cells called plasma cells in the bone marrow. These cells are out antibody cells.  In my mom’s case the plasma cells involved are the protien cells also called light-chain protiens. What happned in her case is that cancer caused the bone marrow to make way too many of these light-chain protiens. These protiens cells cause their own trouble when there are too many of them. Including causing kidney failure by clogging up the kidneys the filtration system. Which is what happened to my mom. The doctors first noticed she was in end stage renal failure. Then they did ultra sounds, CT scans, kidney biopsy and found the kidneys looked normal on the outside. The urinalysis showed a massive overflow of protien in the urine. So after a bone marrow biopsy they figure out the cause of the renal failure and started immediately cleaning out the kidneys and blood by doing dialysis and plasmapheresis, and started her on Velcade ( a newer chemo drug), decadron (a heavy corticosteriod) and Revlimid (which is related to Thalidomide). All of these drugs do help to stop the growth of the cancer cells but also have nasty side effects.  Including strokes (mom had two), and severe anemia (12 blood transfusions).

My mom is a very strong woman to have endured all that she has with this disease.  My dad a much more quiet person, has also withstood a great deal with needing to do the daily care taking of my mom. The year before my mom became sick, my dad had, had a hemorrhagic stroke. He is much improved but tires easily.  I do what I can to help the both of them but they are very proud and do not ask for help as frequently as they probably should.

So in the many talks with my mom since her illness she asked if I was still going to take my vacation this year. I had been hesitate to do so because I never knew if I would need my time to care for her.  She asked me to take my annual leave and do something for me. I told her of my planning of this pilgrimage and she was quite happy, though scared too since I’m doing it relatively alone.  I then told her that I was thinking of making this trek not only a pilgrimage but maybe a way to raise money and awareness for MM. At first she said she didn’t think that would be necessary as she didn’t see it as helping her. But then she thought about it, and said if it would help another person from getting this, then it was worth it. While she was thinking about money going to MMRF, I asked her which group did she think the money if raised should go to. She said, ridgebacks of course.

So that is how we have ended up with the 6 feet walking 500 miles for 2 causes. One to help others find a cure for this disease, and the other to help Rhodesian Ridgebacks find their forever homes.

To anyone who wishes to give before the walk. funds can be sent via paypal, under my email address of All money raised will be split 50/50 with both causes.


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