It may sound odd for someone to feel “chosen” for cancer but that’s how David Rolf feels after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma. For David, who works in Radiology, his cancer diagnosis strengthened his faith and his appreciation for life.
Like many people, David says he sometimes took for granted those most important to him: his wife, children and friends. “I would promise things to my wife and not keep my word,” David remembered.
Two years ago, doctors diagnosed David, now 52, with multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer. Support from family, friends and coworkers would help him fight the cancer that damaged his blood and bones.
David’s pain started in his spine. “Any movement caused me to cry,” he said. Doctors decided a stem cell or bone marrow transplant would give David the best chance at survival. At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, doctors replaced David’s unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy ones. They also used chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The transplant required David to isolate himself from the public for six months to protect his weakened immune system.
Side effects from cancer treatment left him unable to taste food. Radiation therapy caused his bones to be brittle. “It hurt even to go over a bump in my wheelchair,” David recalled. Emotionally, he experienced feelings of bitterness, depression and resentment.
While some people closest to David questioned whether he would survive, he always kept his faith. It’s even stronger today. “Never give up hope, whether you are fighting cancer or something else. Keep your faith and fight,” he said.
David is grateful he is a survivor. He recently celebrated his one-year anniversary of being cancer-free.