Deana and Deborah Dietzler

Letters of Thanks
Thursday, July 13
Dear Deana,

As our Mount Fuji adventure draws nearer, I’ve been reflecting on this journey and how thankful I am that you agreed to take this trip. The climb is a wonderful metaphor and I expect that as we are in the midst of this challenge, we’ll think about how far you have come. It is an honor to be able to represent your fellow multiple myeloma warriors and caregivers – and I particularly look forward to unfurling the banner at the summit to acknowledge those for whom we are moving this mountain.

You inspire so many people each and every day with your courage and determination. Yes, I say this often, but I am so very proud to be your sister.
The moment that we, along with Darrie, heard the confirmation that you had multiple myeloma is indelibly etched in my memory. My immediate thought was that this disease picked the wrong family. There was simply no way that any outcome other than taming this beast would be acceptable. While we may never know God’s plan for trusting that we had the right stuff to take this on, I would have been fine if He would have seen fit to let us sit cancer out – and I’m pretty sure you agree! Nevertheless, supporting you has helped me to learn and grow in unexpected ways and for that I am grateful.

Exchanging emails, texts and calls as we prepare for the trip – along with the fun we had during the training climb a few weeks ago – has added to my excitement. I do hope that we’ll have all that we need when we get onto the mountain. (Or, I hope that we won’t miss whatever we may have forgotten!)
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the many wonderful health professionals who have been critical members of our BTHOMM team. From Nurse Linda to Dr. Agha and his team at UPMC, to Drs. Lonial, Kaufman and Nooka and everyone involved with the multiple myeloma group at Emory’s Winship Cancer Center, we have been blessed to have been in caring hands from the very beginning. It is hard to imagine where you (or we) would be without them, although it is doubtful that we’d be taking on Mt. Fuji.

With thanks to our family and our many friends for their love and support throughout the last six years and the tremendous generosity that has been shown through the many contributions that have been made to the life-saving work of the MMRF, I eagerly await our departure this month.

Love,
Debbie

 
Dear Debbie,

So this afternoon I was unloading groceries and the plastic bag ripped open. A can fell on my foot. It hurt pretty bad. Still does now. I have a cut and a bruise. But my first thought was, "Oh my gosh, I hope I didn't break one of the bones in my foot". A thought I wouldn't have had six years ago before I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I feel fortunate I do not have bone involvement, but it is times like this that these thoughts go through my head. If I did break a bone in my foot, I have no doubt you would be here immediately to take me to the doctor, get an x-ray, and get it taken care of. If that meant taking me to the best foot doctor in the world, you would do it. Because that is what you do. You have been the consummate older sister, always looking out for me.

Right from the beginning you have been there for me, taking charge, making the decisions so I didn't have to do anything but focus on getting better. You found the MMRF to provide us with information - accurate information, and hope that multiple myeloma will someday have a cure with all of the fantastic work they do.

When you told me you put in applications for Fuji, I truly thought you said Fiji. Then when you were talking about a mountain, I was confused because all I was picturing were those little huts out in the water with the see through floors. That's when it hit me - you said Fuji. As in Mount Fuji. As in Japan.

The hike will be a challenge, I am sure, but we have been faced with challenges in this myeloma journey: preparing for transplant, neuropathy, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, coming out of remission, trying therapies that did not work....hiking almost sounds easier compared to that. You go up and then you come down.

I feel fortunate that I feel well enough to take on Mount Fuji. While walking I will keep in mind all of my fellow multiple myeloma warriors who are not physically able to. If I get tired, I will go on for them. And when we are done, then we can go to Fiji.
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