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Topic: Intro and update on my health

  1. #1

    Intro and update on my health

    Randy made me realize I should bring this community of ours up to speed on something he kind of eluded to in one of my posts.

    I have not been as responsive as such to so many of the posts here (though I read them daily) as I have kept a lot of what's been going on with me private. Well, I feel it's time to share.

    Back in November of last year I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Back then I had never even heard of this. But it's a form of bone cancer which can cause masses to grow on your bone structure. I had 3 masses, all of them on my spine. The largest was on my sacrum and it was the size of a golf ball. Fortunately for me, this cancer was considered Stage 1. Also, I was considered young (58) for this type of disease and fairly healthy. I was, however, not able to work for quite awhile (November until the first week of March) as my oncologist was concerned of the potential for paralysis due the location the largest mass.

    Until the end of June I was on strictly medication for the therapy to combat the cancer. However, I recently went through a major procedure which, if all goes right, will keep the cancer at bay for good. I went through what's called a stem cell transplant. What they did was extract stem cells from my blood (this they did the last week of July). I was then admitted to the hospital on July 29th in reverse isolation and they gave me a massive dose of chemo. This is to kill all the healthy bone marrow and, hopefully, all the cancer. The next day they gave me back my healthy stem cells. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks and went through all of the fun stuff that happens when you get chemo. Amazingly enough, the 2 week stay was, from what I understand, unusual. Most patients stay in for 3 weeks. Well, I responded very well to the procedure. My blood counts have been excellent since being released and continue to improve. I have been in isolation here at home until today. Up until that time, I was able to get out, but only with a mask and never around people. Today I was able to finally drive around, do some shopping and do my morning walk without wearing a mask. I did lose my hair because of the chemo, though not all of it. I have this nice, short white fuzz on my head. Feels really weird when it's windy. About the worst things about the last few weeks is the occasion nausea and not tasting anything. Food has not been my best friend. Only the past few days have I finally started being able to taste some foods, otherwise food has tasted horrible. But it's getting better.

    I feel pretty good for the more part considering. Some days I feel as good as before I went in for the transplant. I am more tired which is why I don't always feel up to writing. I hope to return to work by mid-September.

    So that's it, everyone. This has been quite the journey. Speaking of which, I am working on a three movement symphony called The Journey and it will reflect on the journey I've been undertaking since first having been diagnosed.

    I have maintained as positive an attitude throughout this entire ordeal. I have looked at this as "a bump in the road." I will get through this and hopefully help others along the way. Take care everyone.

    Gary A.
    Serenity Musician (Gary A.)

    HP Pavilion Elite, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, 12 gig ram, 1 terabyte hd., E-MU 0404, Korg K61, Finale 2012, Sonar X2 Producer

  2. #2

    Re: Intro and update on my health

    Hey Gary,

    I have to say that is an experience that is never easy to face. I am glad that you are doing better and keeping positive. I didn't know any of this until I just read your post now. I can't wait to hear "The Journey" looking forward to it. Your a strong person, and keep staying positive.



  3. #3

    Re: Intro and update on my health


    You've been through a lot lately and I'm sure all of your colleagues here at the Garritan Community wish you well and a speedy recovery back to your normal health levels. Your progress has been amazing. It's not often that one can read about such masterful, medical approaches to healing, but I'm sure glad it happened in your case.

    I'll be waiting for the premiere of your "Journey" Symphony also. Take care and be careful. There are a lot of germs out there and you don't want a set-back.

    Jack Cannon--Toshiba laptop, 2.8 GHz CPU, 1.5 GB RAM, GPO4-JABB3-Auth. STEINWAY-Gofriller CELLO-Stradivari VIOLIN-COMB2-WORLD, FINALE 2009/11, RME Digiface, Cardbus, V-Stack---Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 8, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express.--MacBook Pro 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  4. #4

    Re: Intro and update on my health

    I certainly wish you a speedy recovery. Your composing is a great benefit and mental aid to you so keep on playing and composing.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


  5. #5

    Re: Intro and update on my health

    Gary -

    Thank you so much for telling the Garritan community the story of the incredible challenges you've been facing.

    For some time now, I've been so inspired by your ability to write your detailed, thoughtful, and always positive blog entries at Facebook. For quite awhile we were chatting and keeping in good, constant contact there. But you may have noticed I've almost disappeared from FB for close to two months now, having just hit some kind of wall that's removed FB from my daily routine. I take a peek every once in awhile, and I see you're still keeping in touch with friends there, and that I'm very glad to see.

    I think you must feel refreshed, like it's really a new day for you here at the Forum, now that you've shared all this with the group here. I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping you'll be able to drop by and join in as often as the spirit moves you.

    Something you didn't mention in your letter to us here is something I know from Facebook - that during your extended stays in the hospital, there were many days when you were able to keep working on your music. Now, if someone here needs inspiration, and actually, isn't that everyone?--I think that should do the trick.

    Stem cell transplant - what a miraculous advance in medicine. Your story is more proof of the urgent need we have for more research and development of stem cell technologies in every way possible. Let's stay positive and look forward to the day when the powers of reason overshadow the unfortunately large and very vocal groups who currently block progress of almost any kind.

    Gary, my friend. Thank you for blessing us with this post, and now, along with everyone who reads your post, I can look forward to hearing "The Journey."

    Take care!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: Intro and update on my health

    Thanks for sharing your journey and hope you have a speedy recovery.


  7. #7
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: Intro and update on my health


    It's amazing to me that you can describe this past time as a "bump in the road" - keep that attitude, that's it's just a temporary setback. Take good care, listen to a lot of music, compose when you can, and continue healing.

    Best wishes for a smooth and continued recovery.
    Ron Pearl





  8. #8

    Re: Intro and update on my health

    thank you Gary for sharing your journey with us. I will be thinking of you and praying for a full recovery!Dan

  9. #9

    Re: Intro and update on my health

    Wishing you a speedy recovery and hope you find the time to keep composing, or doing anything you love doing.
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