Multiple myeloma survivor finds success with stem cell transplants

Multiple myeloma patient Don Kendall had a pretty good idea what to expect when he began his stem cell transplant in January 2014. That’s because he was undergoing his second transplant within six months as part of a clinical trial at the MD Anderson Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Center. Don, 64, was able to complete virtually all his treatment as an outpatient and almost two years later is managing his cancer much like a chronic condition such as diabetes. “I’m back to long-term maintenance mode at this point,” Don says. Choosing treatment at the MD Anderson Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Center allowed Don to aggressively treat his cancer while running his financial business from home and maintaining involvement in the multiple wildlife conservation nonprofits that are his life’s passion. “There are a number of good institutions here in Houston,” Don says. “From the research I did, I believed I would have a higher probability of successful multiple myeloma treatment at MD Anderson.” A multiple myeloma diagnosis Don, an avid cyclist with several long-distance races under his belt, began experiencing back pain in August 2012. An MRI showed a compression fracture. After Don saw a slew of specialists, including spinal surgeons, a physician recommended a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. He said multiple myeloma, a type of cancer formed by cancerous plasma cells, weakens the bones and could explain the fracture in an otherwise active, healthy man. Test results confirmed that suspicion. Don was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. “Then the focus was, ‘What do we do about it?’” Don says. Ever the pragmatist when approaching decisions,...