Most everyone is aware of the importance of seeing your doctor for a yearly physical. Even if you are healthy, annual physicals can help set a baseline of what is healthy for you and your body. For Jon Ludwig, remembering to go to the doctor each year helped catch the early signs of illness that developed into early stages of myeloma.
After a trip to the doctor several years ago, Jon’s practitioner noticed some fluctuations in his blood panel. While not an immediate concern, Jon’s doctor referred him to Lutheran Medical Center for further observation and treatment. Under the specialty care of Dr. Michael Bergen, Jon and his medical team developed a plan to keep an eye on Jon’s health as his blood panel was showing early signs of myeloma. Myeloma is a form of cancer that develops when plasma cells become cancerous and grow erratically. Plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of a healthy immune system. Dr. Bergen and Jon saw each other regularly over the course of three years, monitoring his blood counts. Unfortunately after deteriorating blood panels, Dr. Bergen diagnosed Jon with myeloma and together began exploring the treatment options that were available.
Jon and his family decided that the best course of treatment would be to undergo a stem cell transplant at Presbyterian St. Lukes, one of two hospitals in Colorado that offer such treatment. After undergoing his transplant and first course of chemotherapy, Jon decided to continue his treatment at Lutheran.
“The staff felt like family to me” Jon remarked, remembering the compassionate care provided by each staff member he came into contact with. Through his treatment, Jon was supported every step of the way. “Support is an important part of going through cancer, you cannot do it alone”. With his family by his side, and by attending the occasional support group, Jon always had a strong shoulder to lean on. Speaking with other survivors helped him connect with people that were going through the same experience.
Jon is currently in full remission and feels blessed to have had the opportunity to catch the early signs of his cancer. He and his wife now look forward to many more years of time with their two daughters and two granddaughters and visits to their cabin in Grand Lake.
Jon, his family and so many others would not be able to receive the best quality cancer care without the support of this community. The Heroes of Hope race is one small way that friends and families can come together to support the lifesaving work of Cancer Centers of Colorado at Lutheran Medical Center. Funds raised through the Heroes of Hope race help to provide patient navigation, genetic counseling, financial aid to un-and under-insured patients diagnosed with cancer, and so much more.
Be a hero for hope in our community, join us on June 4th and celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day with hundreds of individuals who will be joining us to celebrate, honor, and remember all our courageous cancer survivors.