Name: Steve Albano
Age: 54
Hometown: Menlo Park, CA
Link: https://endurance.themmrf.org/2017Fuji/SteveAlbano
 
I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the summer of 2011. I had begun noticing increasing fatigue and shortness of breath during my regular weekly basketball games, and also had two broken ribs.  These are symptoms that I now know were the telltale signs of myeloma. After a series of blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy, my doctor confirmed the diagnosis, and explained to me that myeloma is a treatable but incurable cancer of the bone marrow. Needless to say, it was a huge shock to be diagnosed with a potentially fatal cancer at age 48.
 
Following diagnosis, I was treated with the novel chemotherapy agent Velcade (bortezomib) for about nine months, and then with Revlimid (lenalidomide) for an additional eight months. These treatments reduced the amount of myeloma in my bone marrow substantially and alleviated my anemia and allowed my ribs to heal and strengthen, but did not get me into a complete remission. 
 
Chemotherapy was followed by a bone marrow transplant at Stanford University Medical Center, which put me into a complete remission, and I have remained in remission since. I am still on a low dose “chemo maintenance” drug and I have some lasting treatment related nerve damage in my feet, but other than that my life has returned to normal. I still work full-time, but have taken more time off to travel and have upped the basketball playing from one day a week to two or three games a week. 
 
The Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program is important to me for many reasons. First, we myeloma survivors owe our lives to medical science and the funding which supports that medical science. And, although treatments have improved dramatically, a complete cure remains elusive. Many patients continue to struggle with the disease, and relapse remains a near certainty even for those of us who are lucky enough to be in remission. The prospect of great additional progress, or even a complete cure, means that myeloma research and funding are more important than ever.
 
The Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program is much more than just a fundraiser. From my perspective as a patient, I think it’s a chance for me to prove to myself and to other patients with, especially newly diagnosed patients, that life doesn’t end with a myeloma diagnosis. And, I think the physical act of climbing a real mountain symbolizes that nicely. 
 
I also think that it must be gratifying for myeloma doctors and researchers to see their patients atop Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Fuji rather than debilitated by the disease. I’m very much looking forward to going to Japan and climbing the mountain with fellow patients, caregivers and doctors. 
 
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