Welcome and Purpose

Becky Voelkel a Strong Christian woman, Mother of seven and Grandmother of six, has always put people before herself.  Becky was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2008. This cancer is a very aggressive form of Multiple Myeloma that dramatically shortens her lifespan. So as her family and friends we are asking for your help. As you know doctor bills are very high and insurance doesn’t cover everything. We need to Raise a lot of money and don’t have much time. Please help us out and donate what you can, anything will help.  You can also donate at any Wells Fargo Branch into the Becky Voelkel Benefit Donation Fund. Thank You for your help

With this blog we hope to give updates on Becky’s condition and connect those who want to support Becky during this battle against Multiple Myeloma. Follow this blog regularly to keep up-to-date with Becky’s procedures and learn about how you can help. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. 


I’m hoping that 13 is a good number for us today, in that grafting will begin. No sign yet from the bloods today. Neutos still at 0. Doctor today said it was early days yet and wait for the end of the week. Jeanette was born on the 13th, we got engaged on Friday the 13th, we moved house on Friday 13th and, as you know, we live at No.13. So No.13 doesn’t frighten us.
I can’t believe my daughters are 18 and I’ve never had them eat snails before. what a huge lapse in my responsibility as a parent. I urge you all to take your kids out at once and serve them up with a dish of snails. Delicious.
I see a marketing opportunity for Pimms in the US. It’s got to be better than iced tea surely? Anyone want to go into business?
As far as medical stuff goes, as I said my neutrophils are zero, platelets are 7 (183 when I came in) so I’ll be getting a bag of those later. Haemoglobin (Hb) is 11.4 – but I had 2 units yesterday. White blood cells (WBC) =0.
DL, you really know how to frighten a man. For a moment there I thought he knew where I lived. The hamster was the best so far.

Day 12

Late again, but judging by the look of the weather outside you’re going to be too busy drinking Pimms and lighting Barbeque’s to notice. My time will come I’m sure.
A bit like Mr Button today who romped away with the Monaco. Another reason it’s late.
Quite a busy day today. 2 units of blood, 1 still running through. Saline drip overnight and this morning, so I’ve ben a bit tied. But at least the blood should give me boost.
Thanks for all your posts and mails.

Day 11

A bit late on posting this today. Sorry. Last night I was moved again to a room with a view of the wheat fields. Amazing how the rows in the field of Sugar Beet have closed up and the number of fields that are yellow have reduced. Must mean that the OSR is almost finished flowering.
I had a bag of platelets the day before yesterday and am due some blood as soon as they have matched me up. I’m a bit anaemic. My neutophils are still zero, but any day now I hope.
I have had a bit more sickness today, but it seems to be under control at the moment. Such a pain as I really don’t feel like eating as a result, either.
Sorry, that’s about it. I’ll try and be more inventive tomorrow

10th day post transplant

Good nights sleep last night. I think the worst of the effects of the chemo on zero-1 must be wearing off. Mostly. So it’s a rather boring waiting game from here on in.
What I miss most at the moment, is the outside world. Here I mean ‘things wot grow’. I’m constantly asking my family for details of such and such a plant, and what is it doing. A colleague sent a brief rundown of how our fields are at the moment. It was excellent; I was able to imagine my way round for at least half an hour. I’ve been glued to the RHS Chelsea flower show. I suppose I’ve spent my working life involved with the ‘outside’ so it must be second nature. Even though I seem to spend 80% of my time behind a desk these days, there’s no substitute for pulling on your wellies.
No other news I’m afraid, although I believe the Cambridge beer festival is on at the moment.

Ready for the Dunes!

Things continue to go great for Mark. As of yesterday, he is no longer taking the Dexamethasone and Velcade, and the good doctor gave him permission to go have some fun.

Mark spent the past week packing up his trailer — something that usually only takes a couple of days. He is so excited to be going to the Dunes with his brothers and friends.

He’s had an issue with his knee and has been using a cane. They will look into it further after Memorial Day. According to the doctor, it’s nothing that should stop him from heading out for the weekend. Dianna has been questioning the doctor about a medication that Mark has been taking called Levaquin as it can cause weak and ruptured tendons. However the doc says he is not taking a strong enough dose to cause any harm. Just cross your fingers that it’s not the Myeloma that’s attacking a weak spot.

The next appointment is on Tuesday with Dr. Zangari. They will also go over the treatment schedule then but it looks as though the second transplant could take place on June 1st. Mark will have his port put back in on Wedneday.

Mark and Dianna are very optimistic and looking forward to a summer of car shows and playing at the Dunes.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kim and Denese. Kim has been very sick and in the hospital after having his second transplant.

Also, good luck to Kevin and Jackie with his transplant.

Hope you all have a great Memorial Weekend.

Day 8

The day dawns and I feel so much better – with provisions of course-. Sickness seems to be under control, but if it’s not one end it has to be the other. No details will be provided. A gentleman must have some secrets. At least I can eat. I would recommend the ‘C10’ diet, I’ve managed to drop 8 kg since I arrived (that’s about 18 Lbs for our imperial cousins over the pond). This is probably the lightest I’ve been for about 20 years, which just shows how fat we get without really thinking about it.
There’s a wee man in my toilet today. Just to confirm it’s a workman fitting some new grab handles.
I’ve managed some lunch today – Shepherd’s pie, and it’s stayed down… so far.
A nice day over the Gogs, the wind seems to have dropped today judging by the trees. The Wheat isn’t in ear yet, but it’s couple of weeks early yet, I may just see it before I go.
Right, off to my Stats package to construct some data for you…..

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Day 6

Day 6 is up and running. Better today with less sickness, although the dawn chorus was accompanied by the sound of retching. Strange, it passes me by and I carry on afterwards as though it was quite normal. Perhaps it is, although I thought I came from family of ‘sensititive sickers’.
I had meant to listen to the end of the ‘Test’ but I fell asleep and I missed it, I’m sure there will be opportunities later in the season.
My bloods came back earlier and I’m officially neutropenic (zero neutrophils), so from here on in it’s a waiting game for my transplant to graft and my counts to comeback up, usually about days 10 to 14. I will be keeping a graphical record of these and probably publish them here if anyone is interested.
Busy day today with lots of visits, both personal and official, which passes the time, but is exhausting.

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May 2009 Update, it’s now active Multiple Myeloma

Hi all,

I went for my follow up appointment yesterday to get the results of my bone marrow biopsy and other tests. My case had been put to a panel of cancer specialists and it has now been decided that my new diagnosis is full blown active Multiple Myeloma. I start chemotherapy on June 25th 2009, I have been allowed to go on holiday for a month before I start the treatment, so I am off to Ibiza (Spanish Balearic Islands).

My diagnosis has been based on my free light chain ratio which has been doubling ever month since November 2008, my bone marrow plasma cells which are now 60% (normal is 5% or less). I also have Bence Jones Protein in my urine which I have not had before and my haemaglobin is borderline and so is my albumin.

The chemotherapy will last about six months and the protocol they are using is called CTD, it is all taken in tablet form. The CTD stands for the three drugs they will use which are Cyclophosphamide (chemotherapy) Thalidomide (immunomodulatory) and Dexamethazone (stong steroids). After the six months chemotherapy I will be given a stem cell transplant using my own stem cells, followed by a second stem cell transplant using related donor stem cells which will come from my Mother or Father because unfortunately I do not have Brothers or Sisters which would be the preferred choice for the transplant.

I am in really good spirits and carrying on with life as normal and still doing my degree course and my hobbies. What’s the point in worrying it will change nothing. I am a happy cheerful person with a zest for life and my illness will not take that away from me !!!

I will update again with more info very soon, best wishes to you all xxxxxxxxx

Gaining Weight!

Mark had an appointment on Wednesday at the hospital and everything went well. Besides being a little grumpy, Mark is doing great. His appetite has come back with a vengeance and he has gained 11 pounds in a week! Blame it on Mexican food, ice cream and chocolate donuts.

Mark, Wes, Shane and Colton went to the Dunes last weekend for about 4 hours and it sure got Mark juiced up for Memorial weekend. We’re told he was a good boy and stayed off all the toys.

Good luck to Kim. His second transplant is today.

A note to John & Evelyn Montoya — If you see this post, please contact Mark & Dianna.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you “mamas” out there.