They meet in Perrysburg to discuss what people don’t often talk about in public: struggling with an incurable disease.
“The big thing is getting the word out that there is a multiple myeloma support group out there [in Perrysburg],” Inge Lanzenberger of Perrysburg, the founder of the group, said. “I would like people to know that that’s the only such group within a 50-mile radius.”
The Toledo Area Multiple Myeloma Support & Networking Group, she said, “gives a lot of information that you don’t just get by going to a doctor’s office” about ways to manage and treat multiple myeloma, including financial information. Some pills cost about $14,000 a month, she noted.
“The group is very helpful, it is very supportive and encouraging,” said Eunice Tschappat of Portage, Ohio. “People aren’t afraid to share. We participate and converse about myeloma. It could be about drug treatment, side effects, or how the loved ones are dealing with the diagnosis.”
Ms. Tschappat, 57, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2007, said people come to attend the group’s meetings from as far as Findlay and Arcadia, Ohio.
Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer in which certain cells in the bone marrow grow out of control, damaging the bone and causing bone pain, according to information on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s Web site.
The disease may also cause infection, anemia, problems with bruising and bleeding, and damage to some body organs, particularly the kidneys, the Web site states. Though incurable, the disease is treatable, with more treatments possible to prolong life.
There are currently about 12 people in the group, according to Mrs. Lanzenberger. Five have died since September, she said.
Mrs. Lanzenberger, 76, said she founded the group Oct. 1, 2011, while looking for some type of support system for herself to cope with the “terminal cancer,” diagnosis her husband, Herman Lanzenberger, received. Mr. Lanzenberger, 81, has multiple myeloma, she said. Unable to find such a group, she started her own.
Affiliated with International Myeloma Foundation, the group meets from 2 to 4 p.m. the third Tuesday of every month at Way Public Library, 101 E. Indiana Ave., Perrysburg.