LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM KELLY BURROWS

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Kelly Burrows writes about the fight of his life having been diagnosed with multiple myeloma

“My Battle To Stay Alive”

Address to the BMT Tenth Annual Reunion

FEBRUARY 4 2017

“I’ll begin today and throw away the past.

And the future I build will be something that will last.

I will take the time I have left to live, and I will give it all I have left to give………

And I will thank the lord and remember when, I was able to begin again!!!”

In the seasons of life I have had more than my share of summers. A long run of sunny days and adventures nights filled with lucky stars, uninterrupted by great personal calamity, rewarding in ways I could not have imagined in those formative years growing up in Nassau that was never clearer than when in my late fifties making no attempt to prepare me for what was coming

When it comes to cancer, all knowledge is power—even when that knowledge is scary. Knowing as much as you can about cancer lets you and your health care team act decisively in devising your treatment strategy. Even more important, it lets you act specifically in selecting treatments or clinical trials that might be best in treating your disease. For example, there are at least 12 sub-types of multiple myeloma the rare cancer that I have. Each one can be defined by a complex interplay of genetic mutations and other molecular abnormalities, some of which are shared with cancers that originate elsewhere in the body.

For me, learning everything about my disease has been essential to discovering how to attack and treat my cancer and, I believe, why I went into a surprising but welcome long lasting-remission.

KNOW YOUR DISEASE.

I first had my bone marrow analysed in 2006, shortly after I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. A disease of the blood and bone marrow, which can also be called degenerative bone cancer. It was in very good partial remission, due to early detection.

The procedure used, was the gold standard test at the time to detect certain mutations that might shed light on my prognosis and treatment.

I will never forget how terrified, how heartbroken. I felt when I learned that a genetic mutation called “4:14. It meant that parts of two different chromosomes had switched places” my already fatal disease was of a particularly aggressive subtype. My remissions would be short, my relapses frequent.

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