In July of 2021, Grant Gieseler and his wife Jenni, and their 2 boys (6 and 8 years old) were on a ride at an amusement park. In the middle of one of the rides, Grant fractured his T9 vertebrae on his spine, which was shocking and the doctors knew something was wrong.
10 days after the ER visit, Grant noticed something particularly worrisome on his chart from the Radiology department at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, "possible tumor, possible malignancy." They were told to contact their primary care physician and the onslaught of tests began, including bone scans, bone marrow biopsies, CT's, MRI's, and bloodwork.
Grant was diagnosed with an incurable, but treatable, cancer called Light Chain Multiple Myeloma. Myeloma is a blood cancer of the plasma cells. Approximately 80% of his plasma cells are cancerous. The oncology team at the VA is planning to start 4-6 months of chemo. If the chemo can kill the majority of the cancer cells and get them down to < 5%, he will be able to participate in stem cell transplants into his bone marrow. This process would take approximately 3 months and would be done in Nashville. Grant will be in the hospital for a minimum of a month during the transplant and recovering at home for 2-3 months following the transplant if it’s successful. The oncologist is optimistic that he can get the cancer into remission with aggressive treatment. Grant will most likely have to go through several cycles of chemo off and on and will always remain on a “maintenance” dose of medicine to keep the cancer away.
Myeloma accounts for approximately 1% of all cancer diagnoses, and less than 1% are in people younger than 50 years old. At 34, Grant is one of the youngest patients they will be treating. Please consider a shirt purchase or donation to his online fundraiser.
Dave Cervi was born and raised in Buffalo. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University at Buffalo. He currently works as an illustrator and social media manager. If you would like to contact Dave directly for work, find him on Twitter @davidjcervi or email davidjcervi [at] gmail [dot] com.
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