Over a year ago Rex starting suffering from Anemia (a lack of red blood cells to carry oxygen to the bodies tissues and organs). Last winter he started experiencing pain in his back and rib-cage which greatly interfered with his work. After a year of testing everything imaginable doctors ordered up a bone marrow biopsy. This was finally performed in May. The biopsy revealed that Rex has Multiple Myeloma --a rare type of blood cancer that affects the plasma cells. MM causes malignant plasma cells to accumulate in the bone marrow (the soft spongy tissue at the center of your bones) and crowd out the normal/healthy cells. MM makes it very difficult for the body to fight infections. What's more, it triggers chemicals that eventually dissolve bone. As a result, Rex has been experiencing a tremendous amount of pain due to compression fractures in his spine, ribs and elsewhere.
In June, Rex met with Dr. Brinker at the Lemmen-Holten Cancer Center. Dr. Brinker told us that there have been numerous studies on Multiple Myeloma and new treatments have been developed to help get Rex into remission. Rex has been under going rounds of immunostimulants (drugs that strengthen ones ability to fight disease and infections). His body has responded to these treatments very well and have been helping his blood count numbers to improve greatly. As of today there are no cancer cells in the blood marrow (Praise the Lord) making Rex ready for the next step in the healing process --a stem cell transplant.
Later this October Rex will be facing a couple days of harvesting his own healthy stem cells. After that (hopefully some time in the first week of November), Rex will be admitted to Spectrum/Butterworth Hospital for 2 weeks whereupon they will kill any remaining cancer cells with a harsh chemotherapy treatment. They will then return his own stem cells and wait for his blood count to return to normal. After Rex heals from the transplant treatment doctors will repair the compression fractures in his lower back by cementing them together. Ugghhhh!
Sadly, there can be no visitors other than his immediate family during that time. In his weakened state, any germs could be extremely serious for Rex. He will have the immuno-system of a newborn infant. After a two week hospital stay, Rex will come home. He will be confined to the house for at least the first month. While Karin will still have to work during this time, Dustin will be home most of the week to take care of his Dad.
The doctors think that Rex should be feeling better after 3 months of being careful. He will be very weak and tired during his confinement at home. Rex hates not being able to get up and take care of things. This will most certainly drive him bonkers! If all goes well, he should be able to go back to working part time in March of 2019.
The stem cell and the spinal cementing procedures are extremely expensive. Rex and Karin simply cannot pay for it without your help. They will also suffer the loss of Rex's income as he is unable to work throughout his treatment and recovery (6 months). Any funds raised will help cover the balance of medical costs not covered by insurance for the stem cell transplant and spinal cementing procedures as well as replace Rex's much-needed work income.
Here is how you can help:
Please pray for healing for Rex. Every breath is a gift from God. This is both a physical and spiritual battle. Ask Father to give the doctors and nurses wisdom beyond their training. Pray that Rex will be patient with his healing process. Pray that we, his family, find the energy, strength and wisdom to help him heal. Mostly, pray that the entire family experience the Light, Love and Life of the Lord Jesus Christ in every way imaginable. His loving Presence is our greatest need.
Please give as the Spirit leads you. We sincerely appreciate any financial assistance you are able to provide. Any funds raised through this site will be used to cover our medical and lost income cost(s). While it is difficult being in a place of such great need we know that our Father God (the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills) will provide. This is a truly humbling experience for us. Our story is enveloped in His story. Thankfully, His story is now our story.
Please share our story with three others in your relational neighborhood. We won’t be able to reach these goals without the help of a large village of supporters. Please consider sharing this with your friends and family, either via social networks, email, or word of mouth.
Rex, remarkably, has had an optimistic attitude since day one. The doctors and nurses have noticed this as well. They have asked that Rex consider returning to the Lemmon-Holt Center upon his recovery to help others who are suffering with an encouraging Presence. We are hopeful, confident and expectant that, in the loving hands of God, these treatments will restore Rex so he can continue being the loving husband, father and (now new) grandfather he was created to be.
Postscript: From Rex's wife Karin
Our family would like to thank everyone for their kindness and support. Your prayers, financial donations and sharing Rex's page are very special to us. There is great comfort in knowing other people care!
We have been on a roller coaster ride since August of 2017. It feels like it has been one thing after another. It has been very difficult for us to catch our breath. Nevertheless, God has been faithful and has blessed our family greatly throughout this past year.
Our first grandchild was born nearly a year ago --just before Rex's diagnosis. Jack was truly sent from God to bring comfort and laughter into our lives. Rex adores this little guy! Even on days when Rex's back is killing him, he always finds time to hold and play with Jack. It is hard to be downcast when Jack's laughter and sweet smiles warm our hearts.
One of Rex's prayers is to be able to coach Jack in Little League baseball. God's grace along with your prayers and financial support are the only way Rex's dream will be realized.
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