Last year I experienced persistent back pain for several months. The medical advice that I received was to stretch the muscles previously damaged by the open-heart surgery I underwent in 2014. However, in mid-November 2016 I suffered sudden, nearly complete paralysis. Emergency surgery at Harborview Medical Center removed a large lesion from my spine (one of four), and I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. Although there is no cure for multiple myeloma, there are treatments that can extend my life by several years. I have already completed a 6 month course of radiation and chemotherapy, which has reduced the number of cancer cells in my body. However, testing of my particular type of myeloma indicates that remission will be short-lived; without further treatment we expect the cancer to return within a year or two with a life expectancy of 1-2 years after that.
My doctors have proposed an expensive new treatment involving two back-to-back stem cell transplants. The first will use my own stem cells and the second will use stem cells donated by one of my siblings. Each transplant will be very uncomfortable with all the gruesome side effects associated with very high doses of chemotherapy; in fact, the risk of death is 20%. Following each transplant I will be isolated as my immune system regains the ability to protect me from infection. If successful, these transplants could potentially extend my life 14 years or more.
Because I will make daily trips to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance it is necessary for my wife and me to live in Seattle for 3 to 8 months while I undergo treatment and recover. Two apartment buildings in South Lake Union are available for SCCA patients, however, they are expensive – nearly $2,000 a month. While the cancer treatment itself will be covered by the excellent health insurance provided through Boeing, where I have been an Aeronautical Engineer for 35 years, patient housing is not covered. Thus, we are asking friends and family to prayerfully consider a donation to help cover this expense. We have established this GoFundMe account to make donating easier.
- Matt Muehlhausen
- Catherine Tellez
- Catherine Tellez