Stories of Compassion

This section is really personal, as I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma three years ago and have experienced various treatment phases. My diagnosis came after a 20-year history of chronic pain that was addressed medically with minimal success. I practiced as a maxillofacial trauma surgeon for thirty years. I had to cease treating patients at age 59 due to neurological pain and the inability to use my hands for surgery. Over the next thirteen years, my physiological condition fluctuated, leaving me with severely limited abilities. At the age of 73, I was diagnosed with acute kidney failure, hospitalized, and given the definitive diagnosis of stage III multiple myeloma.

That instant, my entire world changed. I began my journey to wellness by undergoing many operations, including two back surgeries, a titanium rod implanted in my right femur to prevent fracture, radiation therapy, and three years of chemotherapy during which I was unable to achieve remission. After five types of chemotherapy, oral, intravenous, and targeted antibody therapy, it was decided to proceed with a stem cell transplant, which occurred in May of 2022. At the present time, I am in remission.  To maintain my disease in remission as long as possible, I am currently on oral chemotherapy, physical therapy, and many other support measures to treat the pain, mental confusion, and other remaining vestiges of the disease.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable form of cancer of the bone marrow. I still have residual symptoms of my disease, which will be with me for the remainder of my life. Walking is tough at best, and I rely on my wife for most, if not all, of my daily tasks. My stamina and balance are a continual issue, yet despite my illness, I am living my life to the fullest extent possible with a chronic disease. I have always been an optimistic person and continue to be so to this day. It is my passion to assist those afflicted with any such illness to live as fully as possible.

I created “Compassionate Voices” to reach others who are undergoing life-threatening diseases, especially multiple myeloma, to share with them my journey but also to encourage them to enjoy their life in spite of the limitations given to them by their disease process. Yes, my life has changed but I find I can inspire others in ways I never felt possible before. In many ways, multiple myeloma is the greatest teacher I’ve ever experienced. It has shown me who I am and how I can overcome many obstacles that are placed before me. It has given me the courage to speak to others to help, console, or have fun. Life with cancer is not a death sentence but can be a teacher of living beyond your greatest challenge. I am hopeful those of you who are living with multiple myeloma or other life-threatening diseases will contact me with your stories so I can share them with others so they can see the potential life can be even with a chronic or life-threatening disease. 

What follows are videos, audiograms, and other positive vehicles to help those who have come to this site understand how the disease affects others and how they themselves can overcome the obstacles that life may place in their way. This site contains many voices that tell stories about ways to overcome obstacles in order to live a satisfying life. 

Dr. Ronald Bissell

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