MINNEAPOLIS — The cancer journey is never a straight line — our Boyd Huppert can testify to that.
Since his multiple myeloma diagnosis last September, he's been in the fight. He's had some good days, but some really bad days, too.
But now, he says he feels like he's turned a corner — but only after he hit rock bottom.
There is no cure for this blood cancer, and the treatment to put a patient into remission is brutal. Boyd is a few weeks out from his bone marrow transplant and "hope" is his message Monday night.
It appears the worst is behind him, following a long eight months of chemo treatments to put his multiple myeloma in remission, all in preparation for that life-saving bone marrow transplant on April 15.
“These are your stem cells, it's a big day! It is a very big day; very exciting. You've worked really hard to get to this point, it's a big accomplishment,” said two nurses caring for Boyd during his recent transplant.
Nine days earlier, 6.3 million stem cells were taken from Boyd's body, frozen, and then put back in his body only after he was treated with a very aggressive chemo.
The new stem cells replaced the bone marrow damaged by the cancer and treatment, essentially giving Boyd a new lease on life.
“April 15 will forever be my second birthday. The clock started ticking that day. I'm getting my life back and the promise of more days with my family. So that is a date that will be celebrated every year in our house,” said Boyd.
“What was the hardest part?” asked KARE 11's Randy Shaver.
“My lowest point — we were on our way to my daily appointment at the U of M, and I walked out of the house to get in the car and threw up in the driveway. And I remember thinking, 'I don't think it can get any worse than it is right now,'” said Boyd.
“I will never not be grateful for another day, and the sun coming up because I felt some pretty dark ones in the past few weeks.”
But through it all, Boyd has been a fighter for many reasons, both big and small. He met his new granddaughter, Tess, just days before the transplant.
“I took Tess's picture to the hospital with me during both my hospital stays and they sat next to my bed and now she's one of the things that kept me going because I can't wait to see her again,” said Boyd.
But he'll have to wait a bit longer to hold Tess again.
The transplant wiped out his immune system and he'll need to be immunized for everything, including COVID, in the near future.
“Is this a normal recovery rate?” Shaver asked Boyd's doctor.
“It's very normal; it's a little quick. That's not a bad thing. But his motivation and his being in good shape before he got ill all is in his favor,” said Dr. Daniel Weisdorf, M Health Fairview oncologist/hematologist.
For Boyd, who is so thankful, the road ahead is now shorter than the road behind.
“I am most grateful to Sheri," Boyd said about his wife. "She has been my rock through this. I could not take care of myself, and she was there. I don't know what I would have done. I couldn't have got through this on my own."
Adding, "I'm going to be living life differently. Because I truly know now what a gift life is. And I'm not going to waste a day of it — not one day,” Boyd said.
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