bone marrow cancer

IMG_2360Eudora News and

“Every day is a gift.”

Those are the sentiments of long-time Eudora resident Nancy Staples after her third bone marrow transplant in seven years.  She feels grateful for each day she has to enjoy her family, her friends and her church.  She is thrilled to just be alive.

Staples, 67, was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma—bone marrow cancer—in 2006.  She had her first transplant right before Christmas that year.  Before the procedure, she received chemotherapy shots in her abdomen for several months.  Then her bone marrow was removed, filtered and transplanted into her bones.  Enough bone marrow was frozen to use for her second transplant as well.  She received that second transplant in 2009 and the third in 2013.

The hardest part for Staples was the isolation required after a transplant.  It meant she had to be kept away from people for three months, a difficult thing for a woman who adores her four children and twelve grandchildren.  But even in that she found something for which to be thankful.

“If the doctors hadn’t been able to use my own bone marrow, I’d have had to stay away from everyone for 12 months!”

Few people are able to have three transplants, especially at her age.  In fact, Staples was the first patient for oncologist Sharon Soule to undergo the procedure three times.

“The older you get, the harder it is,” explained Staples.  “This last transplant was harder on me.  It wasn’t painful, but it made me nauseated and feel like I wasn’t there.  I don’t remember anything about the transplant or the first week afterwards.”

With each transplant Staples had to go through the chemo and the extraction, a long and exhausting affair.  With the third transplant they extracted enough bone marrow to use for a fourth, but she says that there is no way she would go through it again.  Remission usually lasts 3 1/2 to 4 years at the most.  She is going to treasure each day she has.

“Life is too short.  You don’t know what God has for you, so you just take one day at a time.  I don’t hold grudges.  I forgive.  I make the best of each day.”

Nancy Staples is a great example of someone who makes the best of each day.  Despite her health challenges and the loss of two of her brothers in this past year, she has a ready smile and a great attitude.

“With each transplant I grow closer to God.  I feel so thankful,” Staples expressed.  “I look at all the pictures of my kids and grandkids and I think, ‘Look what God has given me.’”

Now one of her goals is to help other people going through hard times.

“I want to take hope to others.  You can’t do this without God,” said Staples.

Her other goal is to leave a legacy for her grandchildren.  It seems as though she already has.