My fight started on August 6, 2020. Life as I knew it would never be the same. Over 80 percent of my bone marrow was replaced by cancerous plasma cells. My diagnosis was multiple myeloma.
I am a Family Physician, practicing now for over 25 years. My perspective and understanding of what was about to happen was paralyzing. The second week of chemotherapy, I was hospitalized. The pain was almost unbearable. Mentally, I began to shut down. It became difficult to receive any of the information I was given. The irony was that everyone assumed I already knew it all. “She is a doctor you know.” Yes, but now I’m the patient.
At that point I felt numb. What was my purpose? Why was this happening to me? I know there is NO cure. So, what’s the point? The day my triple lumen catheter was placed in the right side of my chest for my first stem cell transplant was one of the lowest points for me. Why would I knowingly allow the few normal cells in my bone marrow to be destroyed? Who does that? My husband is my rock. He gently told me that this is our biggest battle, and I need to put on my armor and use the weapons that I have been blessed to have. God, my family, friends, doctors, nurses, caregivers, medications, the stem cell transplant, and yes, that catheter that dangled out of the right side of my chest are all parts of my armor. My new perspective is that procedures, no matter how painful, medications, no matter how many times a day I have to take them, and appointments, no matter how many are scheduled, are all part of my defense. All of these together will help me win the war. There is NO time to fear. I am on the battlefield.
Every day as I got out of the car to go in for therapy after my stem cell transplants, my husband would hum the theme song from Rocky. Walking into the building, I would raise my fist in the air as he hummed Rocky. The days that I was too weak to raise my fist, he would do it for me—warriors, more than conquerors. It’s time to fight. This reminded me of Moses in Exodus 17:11-13.
Learning more about this disease is also a part of my armor.
This is why I became involved with MMRF. MMRF has provided knowledge, support, strength, and opportunity. The Walk/Run was an opportunity for me to prove to myself that despite all, I am still strong. I prepared for months for this race. It felt like Christmas to me. There were so many friends and family that were there as support—such a joyful and humbling experience. The love was so strong it was palpable. This award symbolizes strength, opportunity, and most of all, HOPE. I am praying for the day there will be a cure for multiple myeloma.
To God, my family, friends, caregivers, the Kaiser family, and the illustrious women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc, Psi Omega Omega chapter, thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable but protected without judgment and with so much compassion. This disease will not define me. I Am Hope!!!
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize Dr. Hope Buchanan-Fields as the MMRF Spirit of Hope Honoree at the 2023 MMRF Team for Cures: Atlanta Walk/Run.
This award is presented at every Walk/Run to a patient, caregiver, or family who inspires hope through their resilience, perseverance, and dedication to the MMRF and its mission. Donate to Dr. Hope Buchanan-Fields’ “Dash of Hope” 2023 Walk/Run fundraising page to accelerate a cure today!