Nick Mendedis’ Survivor Story
There are many reasons why the staff members at Cancer Support Community love waking up every morning and coming to work. However, there is one reason that stands out amongst them all: knowing that we have made a difference in someone’s life for the better. Each year we welcome new cancer patients, survivors and caregivers into the CSC Community, but there is one survivor we are particularly grateful for: Nick Menedis. Nick has been a dedicated volunteer to our organization for the past 6 years. He leads our Multiple Myeloma support group, volunteers his time at our annual fundraisers and is always willing to help in any way that he can. When we asked him to share is remarkable journey with cancer as a feature on our blog, he graciously accepted and now we get to share it with you.
“What started out as seeing a number of different specialist to be tested for Anemia turned out to be several months to pin down my final diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma on August 6th, 2006. Of course I went through a very short period of “why me” and “the deer in the headlights” look that I think all cancer patients go through, but mine only lasted a few days. A church family told us about their 11 year granddaughter being diagnosed with Leukemia and I simply said at that time “why not me?” The turn of events from that point on was simply fortuitous. I went to one oncologist where they scared the hell out of me and basically told me that whether I had a transplant (which was very risky at that time) or went on whatever treatments were available, I was going to die. I left there and told my wife I was never going back.
I then went to the Zangmeister Center. Doctor Timothy Moore is a Hematology Oncologist. He had treated my first wife for Lung Cancer and I knew I could talk to him. He told me he had a number of Multiple Myeloma patients and we talked about treatment options. His head nurse walked in (I knew her as well) and told me about a clinical trial that I might qualify for involving a new drug called Revlimid. It had previously been used for patients that relapsed but never as a front line therapy. I agreed primarily because it was a pill, and about 8 months later I was in remission. I said then that this disease was not going to get me and so far I have been right.
A little over a year later I decided to attend a patient/physician seminar put on by the International Myeloma Foundation. While there, I learned the value of finding such a wonderful organization that knew everything there was to know about Myeloma. I was invited to attend a seminar for support group leaders in Dallas just to explore the aspects of running a support group in 2009. I was still in remission and had opted to have my stem cells harvested at the Mayo Clinic. I was doing well and went to visit the Greater Cincinnati Multiple Myeloma Support Group, which at that time, met at “The Wellness Center.” I liked what I saw and decided to try to start a group in Columbus. I found the Wellness Center in Columbus and they offered me a meeting space and whatever support they could provide. Our relationship grew and they became the Cancer Support Community Central Ohio. We are now in our 6th year of a wonderful relationship and our support group has grown and prospered.
If I had to describe Cancer Support Community in one word, it would be “wow.” I believe CSC is a place of “hope” for all cancer patients and caregivers. They have kept me involved with not only my type of cancer, but also other cancers and patients as well. This has made me a more effective support group leader and an overall better person. CSC has also asked my wife, Sandy, to volunteer for many of their projects and programs, which has made her an even more wonderful caregiver and support system. I have no doubt that part of why I am doing so well as a cancer survivor is because of my work with and for CSC.”