Daryl Olson
Daryl Olson

If She Can Battle Cancer, I Can Climb a Mountain
Wednesday, January 25
Janice, my lovely bride, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on April 14, 2014. Janice’s doctor had been treating her for back pain for months, not recognizing her symptoms as multiple myeloma. We finally decided to go to the ER on April 14th, and Janice was admitted to the hospital. The tests showed two fractured vertebrae and two collapsed vertebrae; her blood calcium levels were 13 times normal levels (due to calcium leaching from her bones) and her kidneys were reaching the point of failure – multiple myeloma had worked its evil. It’s tragic that the symptoms of multiple myeloma are not more quickly recognized by physicians.
My Janice was very sick—our lives had been turned upside down. A hospital bed was delivered to our home along with many new medications. It was a huge challenge to manage the medications, side effects, shock of the diagnosis, and to get a grip on life’s new paradigm.  Those first few months were tough.
Janice was inspiring as she faced her challenge. I was amazed that she was (and still is) so concerned about my welfare and how I was doing, while facing her struggle. When the side effects from the drugs led to anxiety attacks, she would listen to inspirational music and pray.
As Janice started getting better, we became more and more thankful for the obvious advancements in the treatment of multiple myeloma and for the work of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Several new effective drugs have already become available since her diagnosis.  There is no cure yet, but amazing progress is being made.
We can now truly better understand the tears and heartbreak of the millions who have gone before us and appreciate the sacrifice of so many to find a cure.   Cancer has chosen to knock on our door; therefore, we want to do our part to make sure that future generations have the ability leave their own doors shut when cancer comes knocking. Therefore, I have chosen to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in my effort to make a difference, raise funds for research, and say, “Let God’s will be done.”
Caregivers Climbing for a Cause
Wednesday, November 30
Whoa, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for multiple myeloma research? I was perusing the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website, and my eye caught this crazy climb invitation. I knew the moment I read the article that this was something I needed to do!  It was all about not quitting, living life abundantly, not being afraid, facing life with courage and finding a way to make a difference.
My wife, Janice, had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in April of 2014. She was a late-stage cancer case and was very sick. She is a fighter, and she has a strong faith. Together we took up the fight to learn as much as possible about multiple myeloma and how best to treat it. It was not easy, but the good fight results in unintended blessings. We have learned to number our days and to come to the keen realization that all of us have a terminal condition called life. It is not about the number of our days, but how we use each day.
In 2003, my best friend Bill floated the idea of traveling to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. We had climbed several peaks together in Washington State including Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, and others. That same year, Bill, Jeff, and I had already purchased our airfare for a climbing adventure in the Alps, which was to include the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mt. Blanc.  A few months before our July departure date, Bill tore a tendon in his arm, so the trip had to be postponed. A few months later, Bill was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was in chemo. Bill put up an amazing fight that was nothing short of inspiring, but three years later, he passed on. We never could climb again after his diagnosis.  
At the same time as Bill’s cancer diagnosis, I began having major trouble with my knees from osteoarthritis. I had three surgeries, and I thought my climbing days were over. But a few years later, I’d mostly worked through this issue. Then, at the same time Janice was going through her stem cell transplant in 2014, I experienced deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism. This set off significant atrial fibrillation. In July 2015, I had a heart ablation procedure, which was successful to relieve the AFib.
So yes, I’ll climb the mountain to raise money for multiple myeloma research, support Janice, and remember my friend Bill. To be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is a minor miracle for me.  
So now, for such a time as this, may the Lord bless you, may His face shine upon you, and may He grant you His peace.
Lyrics from Marty Goetz
“O how we love this time this place, but it’s not our destination. We struggle, we strive to run this race, with all of the strength we can bring. Then, in what is but the blink of an eye, we finish our years like a sigh. So, help us now, Lord, show us how we can redeem days that pass like a dream.
And teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Teach us to number our days, to be glad to rejoice in them. For a thousand years in your sight is merely a watch in the night. So, before they all fly away, teach us to number our days.”
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