My Story: “Multiple Myeloma Doesn’t Mean Death”
For Robert Dale Lasco, a 56-year-old resident of Charlotte, the trials of living with multiple myeloma have also served as the foundation for one of his greatest triumphs: creating a nonprofit organization to help others. The Lasco Cancer Fund provides multiple myeloma education and inspiration, while dealing with “the total man’s spirit, soul, and body.” Robert shared his story with BlackDoctor.org in his own words.
I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on February 19, 2013. I went to the emergency room on February 14, 2013 due to back pain, loss of mobility, swelling in the feet and loss of lower extremities. An MRI was completed and it was found that I had a Plasmacytoma tumor on my T-8 and T-9 vertebrae. They performed emergency surgery, decompressive laminectomy, on my spine to remove the tumor. On February 19, 2013 the doctor performed a bone marrow biopsy which discovered that I had multiple myeloma.
I had never heard of multiple myeloma prior to my diagnosis. I later found out that a cousin of mine had died with multiple myeloma, so it was in my genealogy.
For one week I was hospitalized at Novant Hospital. Afterwards I was transferred to CMC Rehabilitation for chemo and rehab. I was paralyzed from the waist down, bedridden and unable to go to use the bathroom. They took me through extensive rehab so I could learn to use the wheelchair and retrain my bowels. After 7 weeks of therapy I went home and received outpatient treatments for rehab.
Prior to my diagnosis I was working at the City of Charlotte as a manhole inspector. I retired from the City of Charlotte and was placed on permanent disability. I had also started my own ministry called “Bold Lion Ministries.” My ministry was also halted because I wasn’t in the right mindset to continue pastoring.
I went into remission in September of 2013 and in December of 2013 I went to Chapel Hill to receive an autologous stem cell transplant. My wife and I were there for 21 days.