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Survivor Stories





At age 51, Vicki Jones was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (MM), an incurable cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Having learned that only 51% of MM patients are still alive five years after diagnosis, she made urgent plans to get her affairs in order. She began deciding who would receive her favorite possessions when she died. “I’ll never get to see what kind of an old lady I’d be,” she lamented.

In June 2024, at age 71, Vicki celebrates the 20th anniversary of that diagnosis!  “I love every wrinkle on my face and every gray hair on my head!” she laughs. "Against the odds I’m here!  I’m alive!"

Living this long with multiple myeloma is extraordinary.  But it hasn’t always been a smooth journey for Vicki.  Following her diagnosis in 2004, she was referred to Cancer Care Northwest (CCNW) Medical Oncologist and Hematologist, Dr. Hakan Kaya, and began rigorous treatment right away. She’s been on more myeloma targeted medications than you can count on both hands, including antibody blocking medications, steroids, and immunosuppressants, each with its own side effects.  In 2007, she underwent an autologous stem cell transplant, the 7th transplant performed by Dr. Kaya and the Inland Northwest Myeloma/Lymphoma Transplant Program. Additionally, Vicki has received radiation therapy and suffered breaks in her myeloma-weakened bones.  On her current regimen she lost most of her sense of taste and half of her fingernails.  “In spite of it all, believe it or not, my quality of life has been pretty great!  My husband and I winter in Arizona, we travel, we learned pretty quickly to seize the day.  Most people have no idea that I have cancer."

CCNW Multiple Myeloma patient, Vicki Jones, and her husband at the Eiffel TowerTo what does she attribute her first 20 years of success? "I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my wonderful, supportive care-partner husband, Dan.  Failing to give him credit would be like winning an Oscar and not thanking your director. Beyond that, my body has luckily responded well to most of the drug regimens I've been on. But nothing works forever.  Myeloma always comes back.  And I truly think I might not be here without Dr. Kaya, his medical team, and the all-around superior care I've received at Cancer Care Northwest." Vicki talks animatedly about how special she believes our facility is. "I love going there. I've been to many other cancer clinics over the years, both big and small.  None hold a candle to CCNW!"  She shakes her head, "Don't even get me started about how much I love and respect my doctor!"

Dr. Kaya continues to closely monitor Vicki’s disease. From the very beginning, and with every new medication, Dr. Kaya begins with the protocol dosage, and modifies as needed depending on Vicki’s response to the medication. “He didn’t just put me on a treatment and leave it, he was continuously monitoring and adjusting my treatment, to ensure the best possible outcome while aiming to minimize side effects.”  Because the myeloma becomes refractory to any medication, Vicki’s treatment plan will be forever evolving.

CCNW Multiple Myeloma patient, Vicki Jones, attends Hematology Conference.

Through the years, Vicki has learned everything she could about myeloma.  She attends seminars, networks with other survivors, she has appeared in educational videos and been featured in various healthcare articles.  Since 2019, she has been a trained volunteer for the HealthTree Foundation as a Myeloma Coach. To date, she has helped over 70 MM patients around the country and even internationally to understand and cope with the disease. 

When asked about what she’d tell someone newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Vicki emphasized the importance of being an advocate for your health; ask the questions, listen to your body, and collaborate with your healthcare team! Additionally, Vicki suggests you discover all you can about your disease but remember to set it aside and live your life. “If you’re fighting to stay alive, make sure to live!”

Patient Vicki Celebrates her 20th Multiple Myeloma Anniversary with Dr. Kaya