Cathy  Johnston's
Health  Journey

Update May 6, 2024

Today Cathy and Tom received good news from the Oncologist!

The PET scan and bone marrow biopsy results confirm that Cathy’s multiple myeloma cancer continues to be in remission. They are so thankful to the Lord for this good report. Cathy will continue with daily oral chemotherapy, but the doctor was able to reduce the dosage of two of her oral medications. She will continue with her bi-weekly IV  infusions at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. She continues to have significant side effects from all of these medications. So it is hoped that the reduction of the two oral medications will improve the side effects.

The doctor also noted that Cathy has been  on the “first line” of chemotherapy treatment for the last 1 1/2 years, which is very unusual.  Normally, the treatment becomes ineffective over time. Currently, there are only 3 lines of different treatment options for her, so it is very important that her current regimen to continue to be effective. Please join in agreement with Cathy and Tom in prayer that the current line of treatment continues to be effective.

One unexpected finding in the PET scan report was that Cathy has three broken ribs! This resulted from a fall she had a week prior to the scan. This has been very painful for her. Please pray for the Lord to quickly heal these ribs as well.

The Johnston’s would like to thank everyone who have been interceding for them before the Throne of Grace, and those who have helped them financially during this difficult season. Please continue to pray! We serve a mighty God!

The next update will be in several months, unless the situation changes.
On September 25th, 2022, Tom & Cathy Johnston, our Lead Pastors, shared with our TLC church family Cathy’s diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a blood cancer in her bone marrow. While there is no cure for this disease, treatment can result in remission. Tom & Cathy believe in divine healing through Jesus Christ and are convinced concerning the power of prayer. This webpage has been established to update those who know and love the Johnston's and are committed to pray for them during this season.
 
Here is the video announcement shared by Tom & Cathy about her condition and upcoming treatment.

For more information on multiple myeloma, you can check out this link.
Specific Prayer requests (9/25/22)
  • For the Lord Jesus to heal Cathy of her multiple myeloma
  • For the chemotherapy treatment to be effective against the disease, and that Cathy will be able to tolerate the various medications involved. Pray also for the Lord to protect her from secondary conditions arising from treatment, including infections, blood clots, stroke, and heart issues
  • For the doctors and nurses at Dartmouth – Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon involved with Cathy’s treatment and care
  • For protection as they travel the 160 miles round-trip to Lebanon, which may occur several times a week
  • That the Lord will give the Johnston's the strength and wisdom to navigate this new journey
  • For Tom’s health as he focuses on caring for Cathy during this season
  • For financial provision to cover travel expenses for treatment, as well as potentially lost wages and out-of-pocket medical costs that may not be covered by insurance
  • For this week specifically: Cathy has a cardiac stress test on 9/27 and she begins a high-dose of a steroid medication

Update October 3, 2022
Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers for Cathy. The prayers of the righteous have great power in their effect! (James 5:16b). The initial steroid treatment was this past week. It was very difficult for Cathy to manage her blood sugar levels, as she is a diabetic on insulin, and the steroid increases blood sugar levels. Her endocrinologist added a third type of insulin, which did help. Coming off the steroid on Saturday was very, very difficult, as her blood sugar levels ranged from 48 - 380. Pray for her blood sugar levels to be stable. With the end of the round of steroid treatment, her severe spine pain has returned to her neck and back. In addition, she is experiencing neuropathy in her hands and feet. Cathy has also been very nauseous and, at times, unable to think clearly. Pray for the pain and being able to think clearly, as she is still trying to work her nursing job this week. Last night (Sunday, Oct 2nd) was very difficult and she did not sleep due to pain.
Upcoming treatments:
October 6th – IV port insertion at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH, more bloodwork, a meeting with her oncologist, as well as with the nurse practitioner organizing her care. Pray that this goes as it should and that there will be no infection or blood clots.
October 13th & 14th – chemotherapy begins with back-to-back infusions. Pray for her to tolerate the infusions without any nausea or impacting side effects.

Update October 10, 2022
This past week, Cathy had her IV “power port” procedure which was the implantation of a device in her chest that will be used for administering Chemotherapy medications and for drawing blood. Her chemotherapy treatments start this week and will consist of 9 new medications. This past week was very difficult, with her experiencing severe pain in her lower back/neck with leg weakness. She is using a walker, and we set up extra equipment in the bathroom for safety. Tom & Cathy purchased her a rolling rollator walker for mobility assistance.
Cathy has received lots of cards in the mail, and is very appreciative of those who have reached out, and especially to Sue Cote who came to the house and started the project of washing windows.
Please pray for the following:
Monday 10/10/22 – taking high dosing of steroid. Pray for blood sugar to stay controlled with insulin management
Tuesday 10/11/22 – Per chemo protocol, must getting CoVID #4 vaccine
Wednesday 10/12/2022 – Cathy’s last day working at Nursing job. Starting medication to prevent anaphylaxis reaction with chemotherapy.
Thursday 10/13/2022
  • Start of her medical leave of absence from her nursing job. Pray for Cathy’s employer to get the medical documentation quickly to approve this medical leave of absence and for her insurance to approve her short-term disability, which will help to provide some income
  • Taking high dosing of steroid and pray for sugars to stay under control with insulin management
  • Driving to DHMC Lebanon, NH for 1st chemotherapy treatments and medication
Friday 10/14/2022 – Driving back to DHMC Lebanon for #2 chemo treatment
Saturday 10/15/2022 – Cathy cannot help with this, but the Johnston’s need help from 8:30am – 3pm moving 5 cords of firewood from the outside yard into the enclosed screened porch attached to their home & chipping brush. If you are able to help with this outside project, please call Tom.
Please also pray for Cathy specifically this week for the Lord to strengthen Cathy as she manages the following symptoms:
  • Ongoing pain in her neck and lower back
  • Leg weakness
  • Neuropathy in fingers and feet
  • Blood sugars to stay stable as steroids start and end to stay under control using the 3 different insulins ordered by her Endocrinologist
  • To be able to think clearly
  • Navigate some vision changes
  • To be able to sleep at night
  • Pray for Tom as he cares for Cathy so faithfully and lovingly

Update October 17, 2022
Cathy had her first chemo infusions this past Thursday, October 13, 2022, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. That morning they met with the oncologist, who adjusted her medication schedule to start slow, so she did not return for a second infusion on Friday. Her infusions will be on Thursdays going forward.
She is on a complicated medication schedule with daily chemotherapy pills, steroids, and antivirals, plus the weekly Thursday infusion of IV and injectable medications. She needs to drink 3 liters of water daily to flush the medications out of her kidneys. This combination of medicines has brought some side effects, specifically severe lower back pain with leg weakness and difficulty getting up,  standing, and walking. She now needs to use a walker. She has been referred to the spine center at Dartmouth for evaluation.

Prayer requests:
  • Pray for Cathy's blood sugars to be managed with the three insulins.
  • Pray for her GI and stomach to handle medications with minimal diarrhea and discomfort.
  • Pray for the reason for the extreme lower back pain to be found and that the insurance would approve an MRI of her back.
  • Please pray that the paperwork will get approved for Cathy's medical leave to be off work from her nursing job and her short-term disability. This has not been processed as of this morning and seems to have been delayed.
  • Pray for endurance and the ability to manage the pain.
Tom & Cathy would like to extend a big "Thank You" to the 25 people who came to their home this past Saturday to stack wood onto the screen porch, clean windows, and get their home ready for winter- they were very blessed by such a tremendous display of the Lord's love!

Update October 24, 2022
Praise report:
  •  Cathy’s second infusion was completed with minimal side effects and she tolerated it well!
  • The regimen of high-dose steroid continues for four days each week. Her blood sugars continue to be challenging but are manageable.
  • On Monday October 24, Cathy will be having a consult with the orthopedic spinal specialist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH. She has had back pain the past four weeks, possibly due to the steroid treatments. It was amazing that she was able to get an appointment so quickly with the spine specialist! Please pray that they can identify the reason for the severe weakness in her legs and pain in her lower back.
Other updates and prayer requests:
  • Cathy’s doctors are being very supportive in filling out the paperwork for her medical from work and short-term disability. Please continue to pray for this to go smoothly.
  • Her bloodwork prior to her last infusion found that he calcium was extremely low, so she was given intravenous calcium as part of her treatment. Her white blood cell count is very low. These cells protect against infection, so she is being very careful about possible exposure to others who may be ill.
  • Her next chemotherapy infusion is scheduled for Thursday, October 27th. She continue to take a number of oral medications at home.
Tom & Cathy want to say “thank you” to everyone who has been praying for them. They also want to express deep appreciation for all the wonderful cards, as well as the financial gifts received, either directly or through the GoFundMe set up by their friends. These gifts have provided them with the ability to keep up with the medical bill and expenses. 

Update October 31, 2022
Last week Cathy and Tom were very busy with doctors' appointments scheduled every day. On Monday, they met with the orthopedic physician to discuss the severe back pain and leg weakness. Cathy was ordered a special support abdominal/back brace (she calls it her "battle brace" as it's like armor). Tuesday, Cathy had a lower back MRI scan. Wednesday was a visit to dermatology. Thursday was the routine scheduled full day of infusions. They met with the orthopedic provider on Friday to discuss the back scan testing results. Cathy has a new compression fracture inside her lumbar back (L-3) disc, and her other back problems have worsened. This fracture results from the multiple myeloma bone deterioration progression from the cancer. Now they know the reason for her severe back pain and leg weakness. Surgery is not an option at this time until the cancer is in remission. Discussions included some procedures to help with the pain until future surgery. Cathy has another appointment with an anesthesia pain specialist in 3 weeks.
This week, Cathy experienced some new medication side effects from the chemotherapy. Please pray for these to resolve.
  • Swelling from toes to knees in lower legs, and her face, with significant water weight gain
  • Tingling and muscle cramping in her hands
  • Increased fatigue
Her next full-day infusion is scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd. She will meet with her cancer doctor and get updated bloodwork.
Another answer to prayer:  After more than a month, the medical leave paperwork has been processed for Cathy's employer.
Despite all this, Cathy has retained her joy and has been able to maintain a positive attitude. She says she knows she is supported by the prayers of those interceding for her and has been greatly encouraged by all the cards and notes from people and feels loved! The Johnston's are so grateful for the loving support and intercession of the Body of Christ.
Cathy and Tom would like to say a special “thank you” to those who have sent financial gifts during this season of her inability to work, whether directly or through the GoFundMe site some friends set up for them. It has made it possible to cover medical bills and other expenses.

Update November 7,  2022
First, the good news!
  • This past week Cathy’s situation with her back (compression fracture in L3, two discs with spinal stenosis) has improved considerably. Wearing her new back brace, she can walk 90% of the time without her rolling walker.
  • Her sugar has been largely under control but still requires careful eating on steroid treatment days.
  • Infusion #4 went well, with minimal side effects.
Cathy reports that she has had a relatively uneventful and stable week and has the following specific prayer requests:
  • Pray for the swelling in her lower legs to stay reduced. (This is a side effect of the medications.) Her doctors have added medication to help reduce this swelling, and she needs to use compression stockings. Pray for the extra fluid build up (approximately 10 lbs) to resolve.
  • Continue to pray for healing of the lesions in her neck, the compression fracture in her lower spine, as well as the spinal stenosis.
  • This Thursday, November 10, is a big day:  More bloodwork, another meeting with her oncologist, infusion day # 5 with an additional medication for bone growth, and the beginning of a new cycle of one of the stronger oral chemo meds. Pray for strength and for the Lord to limit the side effects of all the meds.
Cathy would like to thank everyone for their prayers, as well as the encouraging letters, cards, and phone calls. Both Tom and Cathy would like to thank the men who came by to help Tom with some of the outdoor projects this week. And, of course, a special thanks to all who have helped them financially this season, either directly or through the GoFundMe campaign started for them. Such support has been essential as the medical bills continue to roll in, as do the expenses associated with her care.

Update November 14, 2022
Cathy and Tom are pleased to share that they met with the oncologist this past Thursday before Cathy's infusion treatments - and the good news is that it is clear that the chemo medications and treatments are working! Her bloodwork results showed a dramatic and significant reduction of the markers associated with Multiple Myeloma. They are rejoicing in the Lord's goodness! However, she is still at the beginning of her treatments, with 3-5 months more to go, at a minimum, before they can tell if she is in remission. In addition, Cathy has had much less swelling in her legs, less back pain, and greater mobility this past week. As she has been feeling a bit better, Cathy asked her doctor about returning to work - which the doctor said was unreasonable during her treatment (and Tom agreed!) with all she is dealing with.
This week's appointments at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH:
  • Wednesday, 11/16 - Meeting with spine center specialist to evaluate a possible procedure for reducing the pain in Cathy's back
  • Thursday, 11/17 - Infusions Day
The Johnstons are rejoicing in the goodness of God with all this progress and are grateful for all of your prayers, love, encouragement, and financial support. Please continue to come before the Throne of Grace on their behalf. In addition, a long journey requires long-term support. Please prayerfully consider joining them on their journey through the GoFundMe campaign started by their friends.

Update November 21, 2022
Last week was challenging for Cathy. On Thursday prior to her infusion, the oncology team had difficulty getting her IV port to properly work. After many attempts, it worked for her scheduled infusions that day. Please pray that it works on her return date of Friday, Nov 25th. If it is not working properly, it will need replaced.
Also, Cathy is now being treated for low calcium by her endocrinologist. This deficit is most likely due to the bone regeneration medication she is taking to treat the spinal lesions caused by the multiple myeloma.
Some good news: the orthopedic team feels that the compression fracture in her spine is healing! Praise God! However, they caution that other fractures may develop as a result of the multiple myeloma.
 Please continue to pray for Cathy's reduced back to heal and be strong, and for minimal chemotherapy side effects including the reduction of leg swelling, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, muscle cramps and mental fog.
Cathy and Tom will be spending a quiet Thanksgiving Day together at home and her next infusion date will be Friday, November 25th.
 Thank you for your prayers and support.

Update for November 28, 2022
Tom and Cathy had a great Thanksgiving together at home and would like to say, “We have much to be thankful to the Lord for in the last five weeks of 2022! May He give you a spirit of thankfulness in all things!” They would also like to thank everyone for their continued prayer and support.
Cathy would like some specific prayer this week:
 A chest x-ray on November 23 showed that Cathy has fluid that has accumulated at the base of both of her lungs (Pleural Effusions). Please pray that this resolves.
  1.  The IV port for her infusions did work successfully last week, and please pray that it continues to function correctly this coming Thursday.
  2.  For unknown reasons, Cathy’s health insurance rejected all seven claims the hospital submitted for her chemo infusions. Each weekly infusion session costs between $45,000-$65,000. Cathy is working with the oncology office at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and her medical insurance to resolve this. Please pray that this is corrected quickly.
  3.  The paperwork is due again for her medical leave from work. Please pray that this is processed promptly.
  4.  Please pray for a reduction in the side effects of the chemotherapy medications:
  • Fluid retention in both legs to be reduced
  • For Cathy to be able to think clearly
  • Increase in her blood pressure – it is very low and needs to come up a bit
  • Neuropathy in hands and feet
  • Calcium and protein levels would return to normal – they are too low
  • Elimination of muscle cramping
  • Blood sugars would stay tightly controlled. The high doses of steroids she is taking as part of her treatment make this difficult.
The most exciting thing from this past week is that the doctor has started discussing the possibility of Cathy being eligible for an autologous bone marrow stem cell transplant. This procedure is where they would use Cathy’s own stem cells to restart healthy plasma cell production. For this to happen, Cathy’s multiple myeloma must first be in remission.
Thank you for your love, support, and prayer for Cathy and Tom during this time.

Update December 5, 2022
The Johnston's would like to thank everyone for praying for Cathy during her cancer treatment for Multiple Myeloma. This is a long journey, and the prayer, cards of encouragement, and financial gifts have incredibly blessed Tom & Cathy! Here are the updates and specific prayer requests for this week:
1.  Pray for a reduction of the side effects of the chemo meds:
  •  Reduction in swelling in her legs and her face
  • Control of blood sugars with diet and insulin (the steroid keeps the blood sugar artificially high)
  • Reduction of chemo "brain fog"
  •  Healing of the fluid in her lungs (bilateral pleural effusions)
  • Continued improvement of her L3 disk compression fracture
  • Elimination of muscle cramps and neuropathy
2. Pray for upcoming medical appointments this week:
  • 12/6:  Echocardiogram heart test
  • 12/7:  Shingles vaccine #2
  • 12/8:  Chemo IV infusions @ Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH
  • 12/9:  Endocrinology specialist
3.   Pray for Cathy's medical insurance to pay for the past eight oncology chemo infusions before the end of this month, as the insurance has denied the claim. Cathy is working closely with her insurance on this.
4.   Good news! Cathy's mom will arrive from Arizona for a two-week visit on Tuesday, 12/6. Pray for safe and easy travel.
Again, Tom and Cathy would like to thank you for your continued intercession before the Lord on Cathy's behalf.

Update December 12, 2022
Cathy and Tom appreciate everyone’s prayer support as Cathy navigates her multiple myeloma cancer treatments.
 For the last two weeks, the doctor decreased Cathy’s steroids in attempt to help manage her blood sugars, but this did increase her chemotherapy side effects. Also one of her chemotherapy IV medications has been on hold for two weeks due to swelling symptoms and the plan is to restart soon. Please pray for a reduction in all chemo medication side effects ( see list in previous postings at the bottom of this webpage).
  The big prayer request this week is regarding Cathy’s medical insurance. The medical health insurance is denying her chemotherapy infusions (she has had 9). Please pray for this to be resolved and claims corrected soon.
  This week Cathy has the following medical appointments:
  • Monday 12/12/22 - Orthopedic back specialist
  •  Tuesday 12/13/22 - DHMC- Lebanon 
  •  Wednesday 12/14/22 - Physical therapy 
  •  Thursday 12/15/22 - Infusions DHMC Lebanon 
  •  Friday 12/16/22 - Physical therapy
  Thank you for your faithful prayer support!

Update December 19, 2022
Cathy and Tom would like to express appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has committed to pray for them during this unique season. They are grateful to the Lord for all of you!
Some good news! After two-weeks of delay, Cathy should be receiving one of her oral chemotherapy medications that was delayed due to paperwork issues. Also, four of the ten chemotherapy infusions sessions have been reprocessed by the health insurance company and they have now been approved! Please pray for the remaining claims to be reprocessed and approved this week.
This past Thursday during her infusion session, Cathy received one of the medications that had been on hold due to side effects. It was restarted, and was well tolerated. They also increased her steroid medication back to previous levels. Please continue to pray for all the side effects from the many different medications to be minimal.
On January 26th Cathy has a bone marrow biopsy scheduled to determine the effects of the treatment on the multiple myeloma, with a follow-up visit on February 2nd to discuss the results with her doctor. If this biopsy shows a low enough level of the disease in her bone marrow, then discussions will move forward concerning an autologous stem cell transplant. This is a very intense treatment requiring 2-3 weeks in the hospital and 2-3 months of recovery at home, and is designed to put the disease in long-term remission. Please ask the Lord to clear the way for this treatment, and work in Cathy’s body in such a way as to make this possible.
Thank you again for your love, encouragement and prayer for the Johnston's.

Update December 26, 2022
Cathy will not have an infusion this week but is continuing all her oral chemo meds. Please continue to pray concerning the insurance situation, as no additional claims for her infusions have been processed. Also, please continue to pray for the reduction in side effects from the chemo meds. She is dealing with a lot of fluid build-up, is having some “chemo brain” memory issues, and has several other physical reactions to the treatments. 
Tom and Cathy would like to thank you for your continued prayer and support!

Update January 2, 2023
As we enter the New Year of 2023, Tom & Cathy would like to take a moment to express deep appreciation for all the love, prayers, and support expressed over the past four months since announcing Cathy’s new diagnosis of multiple myeloma. The outpouring of love, support, encouragement, and financial assistance has made this challenging season so much more tolerable for them.
Please continue to pray for a reduction in the side effects of the chemotherapy medications:
  • Fluid retention in both legs and swelling to be reduced
  • For reduction of “brain fog” and to be able think clearly
  • Elimination of neuropathy in hands and feet
  • Elimination of muscle cramping
  • That Cathy’s blood sugars would stay tightly controlled, as the very high doses of steroids she is taking as part of her treatment make this difficult.
Also, pray that Cathy’s health insurance would appropriately process the 2022 medical/infusion claims. The infusion claim of 10/13/2022 ($47,000) was denied and is still outstanding. Please ask the Lord to move the health insurance to reverse this denial. Cathy has filed an appeal. Pray that this is processed quickly.
Pray for the upcoming visit with Oncologist and infusion. Both are scheduled for Thursday, January 5, 2023, at Dartmouth-Hitchcok in Lebanon, NH.
Thank you again for your prayers!

Update January 9, 2023
Please continue to pray for Cathy according to last week's requests list below. Last weeks infusion (1/5) went well, but she continues to deal with significant side effects from her treatment.
Some good news! Cathy's blood work continues to show improvement. The treatment appears to be having the intended effect.
Upcoming dates:
  • Infusions on 1/12 & 1/19
  • Bone marrow biopsy on 1/26 to determine if is possible to move forward with the stem cell transplant.
Thank you all so much for your intercession before the Lord for Cathy!

Update January 16, 2023
Thank you for your ongoing prayer support for Cathy. She tolerated last week’s infusion very well. Please continue to pray for:
  • Reduction of physical side effects from the chemotherapy and medications.
  • Cathy’s next infusion visit is on January 19 at 8 AM at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Also, please pray for safe travel as it is a 155-mile round trip, and winter weather has finally set in.
  • She has a bone marrow biopsy on January 26 @ 1 PM DHMC Lebanon to determine if the chemo treatment is effective and if she can move forward with a stem cell transplant. The biopsy must show the absence of any detectable myeloma.
  • Cathy and Tom have a consult with the oncology doctor to discuss the “next steps” on February 2. At this meeting, they will learn if a stem cell transplant is possible based on the biopsy result.
  • Going forward, the highest priority for Cathy is that she not have any sickness of any kind that would delay continued medical treatments.
  • For the health insurance to reverse the denial on the claims for the initial chemo infusion on 10/13/2022, Cathy filed an appeal with the insurance company for this particular claim.
Thank you for your continued love, prayer, encouragement, and support of the Johnston's in their journey!

Update January 24, 2022
This is a very important week for Cathy's treatment. She has a bone marrow biopsy scheduled for Thursday, January 26th, at 2 pm. This testing will show if the chemotherapy treatments have been successful. It will take 1-2 weeks for the results to come back. For her to move forward with the autologous stem cell transplant, there must not be any detectable myeloma in her bone marrow. Please pray accordingly.
  Cathy and Tom will meet with the oncologist at DHMC Lebanon on Feb 2, 2023 to discuss “next steps.”
 From Cathy:  "We are pleased to share that during the snow storm on Monday, January 23rd, we had three more trees come down in our yard, one which blocked the driveway, but no damage to the house. The Lord is providing us firewood for next year for our wood stove! We are thankful for His protection and provision!" 
  Thank you for your ongoing prayer support for the Johnston's during this journey!

Update for January 30, 2023
 We have had great news – and an answer to prayer! Cathy’s medical insurance appeal for her first chemo visit on 10/13/2022 was accepted, and the insurance paid the $47,000 charges! Praise God! Thank you again for praying.
 This Thursday, Cathy and Tom will meet with the Multiple Myeloma specialist to determine her bone marrow testing results. These results will define the “next steps” in her care, including her eligibility for the hoped-for stem cell transplant. Please pray for the medical team to have a clear understanding and a proper plan.
 Please continue to pray for further reduction of chemo side effects. Cathy seems to be having a lot more this month. The doctors have indicated that Cathy will need to be off all chemo treatments for one month to allow her stem cells to grow for harvesting for transplant.
 The Johnston's would like to thank everyone who has helped them with financial expenses during this season, either directly or through the GoFundMe site, which was established for them. Your help has been essential. With the advent of the new year, insurance deductibles and co-pays are once again a challenge. Their out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatments will be $18,000 alone, in addition to uncovered costs, travel for medical care, and lost income. In April, Cathy will be going on COBRA for their health insurance, which will be an additional $1997.32 per month expense.

Update February 5, 2023
Cathy and Tom met this past Thursday with the oncologist treating her multiple myeloma to discuss the result of her recent bone marrow biopsy. There is good news: the chemotherapy has been effective! We thank the Lord for this excellent report! The doctor indicated that there are no detectable levels of the disease in her bone marrow. However, the doctor also stated that there is a limit to the technology and its ability to spot all the disease. It is possible that some myeloma cells are still present and that the condition will probably reemerge over time. In order to gain a longer-term remission, the next step is an autologous stem cell transplant, which uses Cathy’s own stem cells.
To this end, Cathy is now in the process of working with the transplant team over the next month to prepare her for the procedure. First, on March 6th, they will gather stem cells from her blood. Then on March 13th, she will enter the hospital for a 2 ½ week stay. First, she will receive a high dose of chemotherapy, killing off her bone marrow; then, she will have her own stem cells reinfused in order to regrow her bone marrow. Then, after discharge from the hospital, she will return home for a three-month recovery. During this time, she will need to remain isolated at home, as she will be immuno-compromised. She won’t be able to go out or have visitors until the doctors determine that her immune system has been re-established. If successful, Cathy may have several years of remission. Finally, some long-term maintenance chemotherapy will be required after the transplant.
Please pray for the following:
  • Cathy to remain healthy before the transplant A cold, flu, or covid could really mess up the current treatment process and timeline
  • That the medical team will be able to collect enough stem cells
  • That she will tolerate the medications required to help her produce the stem cells – it can be very painful in her bones, and other side effects can be significant
  • That her insurance will approve all the tests, medications, and procedures associated with the transplant
More updates on Cathy’s journey will come out over the next few weeks. Thank you for your prayers!

Update February 14, 2023
Happy St. Valentine’s Day!
Thank you for your continued prayer support for the Johnston's. Cathy has begun preparing for an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant with numerous medical tests and evaluations. Cathy is doing very well right now, and all insurance issues have been resolved! Praise God!
Please pray for the following upcoming medical appointments:
  • 2/16 – Last chemotherapy infusion before the stem cell transplant, more pretesting, and meeting with the doctor to make final preparations for the procedure
  • 3/1-3/5 – Cathy will give herself daily medication injections to stimulate her bone marrow to produce stem cells. This medication is known to have significant side effects, including substantial bone pain.
  • 3/6 & 3/7 – Cathy will undergo procedures to collect stems cells by filtering her blood, and the stem cells will be cryogenically stored for reinfusion. This process may cause extreme fatigue and nausea.
  • 3/13 – Cathy will be admitted to the hospital and start heavy chemotherapy to destroy her bone marrow and any remaining cancer cells, and will be in the hospital for approximately 2 ½ weeks. The side effects of this chemo medication are known to be extreme.
  • 3/15 – Cathy’s stem cells will be reinfused into her blood to rebuild her bone marrow without the cancer cells. The process is described as “engraftment” – the stem cell grafting into her bones with the goal of producing new blood cells. If successful, it will take a minimum of 100 days for her body to rebuild its blood supply, including her white blood cells/immune system. During this time, she will need to remain isolated.
Other points of prayer:
  • Please pray for Cathy’s protection from any illness. Any sickness would disrupt the transplant process timeline
  • Pray for strength for Tom as he cares for Cathy
  • Pray for Cathy to be approved by her employer’s insurance company for long-term disability as of April 14th.
  • Pray for financial provision for insurance deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, including health insurance premiums as of May 1st.
The next update will be on 2/27. Thank you again for your prayer support for the Johnston's!

Update March 1, 2023
Thank you for your continued prayer support for Cathy and Tom.
This week Cathy starts 5 days of daily injections to increase her bone marrow production of new stem cells. This medication is in preparation for collection of the stem cells that will be used for her transplant. Collection day is scheduled for Monday, March 6th, 2023.
The following week, on March 13th, 2023 Cathy will be admitted to the hospital to start her Stem Cell transplant process.
Please pray for the following:
  • Both Tom and Cathy stay healthy over the upcoming 2 weeks while waiting for her hospital admission
  • Collection of her Stem Cells will go smoothly and be completed in one day
  • Minimal to no side effects from the injectable medication she has to take this week
  • Safe travels as they drive back and forth to Lebanon, NH
  • For the doctors and nurses caring for Cathy during her medical treatments
  • For the Lord’s financial provision for the medical bills, travel expenses, and loss of income
Thank you again for your prayers!

Update March 8, 2023
The procedure to collect Cathy's stems cells was successful! She is very tired and still has some pain from both the procedure and the medication that promoted stem cell growth. The next step is admission to the hospital on 3/13 for high-dose chemotherapy to destroy her bone marrow, followed by reinfusion of her stem cells on 3/15. She will be in the hospital for 3-4 weeks, and then home for 100 days in isolation until she redevelops her immunity.
Please seek the Lord on her behalf, praying for rest and strength, for the procedure to work, that she would have limited side-effects, and for her protection as Cathy undergoes this treatment. Thank you again for your faithfulness in prayer!

Update March 13, 2023
Cathy's admission to the hospital and stem cell transplant procedure has been rescheduled out one week to March 20th. Please continue to pray.
Thank you!

Update March 15, 2023
Cathy's hospitalization for her stem cell transplant process hospital admission date will be March 27th. Please continue to seek the Lord on her behalf, specifically that she remains free from the flu, a cold, covid, etc., before her hospital admission. She and Tom both continue to isolate for her protection. Also, here is a short video from Cathy which was shared with our church family recently. Enjoy!

Update March 27, 2023
Cathy has been admitted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Today (Monday) she begins the process of her autologous stem cell transplant (which utilizes her own stem cells). She will receive a high dose chemotherapy medication to destroy her bone marrow, which is where the multiple myeloma resides. This is a very difficult, unpleasant and dangerous process with many painful side effects. On Wednesday, her stem cells which were gathered several weeks ago, will be infused back into her blood stream. They will find their way back to her bones and “engraft,” and then, over the next several weeks, begin to produce new blood cells. Cathy will be in insolation in the hospital until her white blood cells count begins to rise. This is normally 2-3 weeks. As she will have no immune system, she will be very susceptible to infections, which could be very dangerous for her. After she returns home Cathy will need to stay isolated for about three months, as she rebuilds her immunity.
Here is how to pray for Cathy:
  • Pray for the Lord to give her strength and comfort during this very intense process. Pain, nausea, intestinal problems and extreme fatigue are major common side effects
  • Pray for her protection from infections and blood clots
  • Pray that the stem cells would engraft properly and begin to rapidly produce healthy red and white blood cells
  • Pray for the doctors and nurses providing her care
  • Pray that Tom will stay health and have the physical strength to support Cathy in the journey
Please remember that as a stem cell transplant patient, Cathy will not be able to have visitors, or receive plants or flowers. Cathy and Tom continue to appreciate your prayers, care and financial support during this season.

Update April 4, 2023
Last Wednesday (March 29th) Cathy had her transplant procedure where her stem cells were reinfused into her bloodstream. The procedure went very well with no complications, and minimal side effects. Currently Cathy is experiencing one of the common side-effects, gastrointestinal symptoms. Please pray that this resolves quickly.
Our prayer focus needs to be that Cathy stays free of any infection, as her immune system has been eliminated. Another key prayer point is for Cathy's stems cells to engraft and multiply quickly into healthy blood cells. She will not be released home until the doctors are assured that her blood cells have indeed begun to multiply. Once she is home, both Tom and Cathy will need to be in total isolation for a significant period of time.
Cathy would like to express appreciation for all the wonderful cards she has received, and would also like to thank everyone for their prayers.

Update April 11, 2023
The Johnston's continue their great health adventure. The good news:  Cathy has completed her stem cell transplant process. After 14 days in the hospital, she was released from the hospital yesterday. She is now at home in isolation for the next three months as her bone marrow begins to rebuild her blood cells and immune system. We praise the Lord for bringing her through this!
The not so great news:  while Cathy was being released to go home, Tom was in the ER at the same hospital dealing with a kidney stone. The picture of Cathy shows her ringing a bell which signifies the end of hospitalization. The picture of Tom is him in the ER at the same time.
Tom was released home and has a procedure scheduled for tomorrow to remove the kidney stone and have stents put in his kidney. He will return in the near future to have the stents removed.
Please pray for those treating both Tom and Cathy, and for both of them to be kept safe from any infections. Pray for Cathy to regain her physical strength, and for  healthy reproduction of blood cells, free from cancer. Pray that Tom will bounce back from his surgery quickly, with no complications.
Thank you again so much for you ongoing support of the Johnston's through prayer.

Update April 17, 2023
Cathy has been home from the hospital for one week. Last Thursday she had a follow up visit with the oncologist who said that Cathy is "doing better than 99%" of her patients. However, there is a long road ahead. She continues to be very weak physically. Cathy is sleeping 12-14 hours per day. Her blood counts are improving, but are very low, and she is still immuno-compromised. Accordingly, Cathy must continue to be at home in isolation.
Also this week, Cathy's nursing job at the hospital was terminated, and she transitioned to long-term disability. With this, the Johnston's will need to pay their own health insurance premiums under a COBRA plan.
Tom continues to improve after his kidney stone procedure last Wednesday, where they removed several large stones. He still has stents in, and must limit his activity. Tom has a second procedure Friday to have them removed.
Cathy would like to thank everyone who sent cards. She said is very encouraging to know that so many people were thinking of her. Please continue to pray for the Johnston's - health, protection, strength and financial provision.
Thank you!

Update April 24, 2023
Today makes 26 days since Cathy's stem cell transplant. Her doctors report that Cathy is progressing well, and her blood counts are slowly improving. Cathy has limited energy and requires Tom's assistance when walking long distances. She continues to sleep 12-14 hours a day. Cathy is also experiencing a significant amount of pain, including lower back and leg pain, and leg weakness.
Please continue to pray for healing, strength and the recovery of Cathy's immune system. She will continue in isolation per the doctors instructions.
Thank you for your prayer support for the Johnston's.

Update May 3, 2023
Cathy continues her recovery after her stem cell transplant. The doctors are pleased with her progress. She continues to be very weak with no energy and is sleeping 12-14 hours a day. Her spirits are good but she is looking forward to when she can be totally out of isolation. She misses everyone.
Thank you for your continued prayer support for Cathy and Tom. They know that the Lord is faithful to provide all their needs, and to restore Cathy's health.

Update May 15, 2023
Cathy continues her recovery after her stem cell transplant. She is getting stronger day by day, but is still fatigued, and needs a nap most days. Her bloodwork is improving, and the doctor is now allowing Cathy to have short visits with adults while sitting outside wearing masks. As she has lost all of her childhood immunity, she cannot be around children just yet.
Please pray and ask the Lord for Cathy's muscle strength to redevelop as she has limited mobility and endurance. Also, the COBRA heath issue was resolved.
Thank you for you prayer support!

Update May 22, 2023
Today is day 54 post-stem cell transplant, so Cathy is a bit more that half-way through her isolation. Cathy's bloodwork continues to be stable and the doctor is pleased. She is redeveloping her immune system, but still has no defense against viruses.
Cathy has been experiencing significant muscle pain and weakness, along with neuropathy in her hands and feet. Cathy is not able to stand very long or walk easily, and has trouble with balance. She is having difficulty holding things like her phone, coffee cup and eating utensils. She is a little forgetful and not tracking details. These all are the cumulative side effects of all of the chemotherapy medications. Please pray for the resolution of these symptoms.
Cathy and Tom were informed last week that Cathy will have another bone marrow biopsy and PET scan on June 29th. Her doctor anticipates that she will need to restart ongoing maintenance chemotherapy in July. This is needed to attempt to keep the multiple myeloma under control for as long as possible, and will continue throughout her life.
Cathy is currently allowed limited adult visitors sitting outside wearing masks. If you would like to visit, please contact Cathy directly.
Thank you again for your loving support for Cathy and Tom through prayer. The Lord is good!

Update June 19, 2023
Today, Monday, June 19th, is the 82nd day of Cathy’s 100 Day isolation period after her stem cell transplant. We thank the Lord that Cathy continues to grow stronger. However, she continues to be very fatigued, with considerable bone, muscle, and joint pain. Cathy continues to have numbness in her hands and weakness in her legs. She periodically uses a cane for balance.
Cathy has bloodwork and a follow-up visit with her oncologist this Thursday. This will reveal the progress of the redevelopment of her immune system. A bone marrow biopsy and a PET scan will happen on June 29th. These tests will provide direction for future treatment options. The doctor anticipates that Cathy will require ongoing chemotherapy treatments for life. This is very common with multiple myeloma.
After a meeting two weeks ago with Cathy’s primary care doctor, it was determined that Cathy will not be able to return to work due to the effects of the multiple myeloma and the side effects of the treatments. Please pray for Cathy as she processes the ending of her 40-year career in nursing.
Tom and Cathy are thankful to the Lord for everyone who is praying for them during this season of their life together. The next update will be in mid-July.

Update July 10, 2023
Cathy and Tom met with the oncologist to review the results of Cathy’s bone marrow biopsy and her PET scan. These tests determined that the chemotherapy and the stem cell transplant Cathy has received have reduced the level of multiple myeloma in her system from 70% to 10%. This result is considered a “good response,” but it did not eradicate all of the cancer. Consequently, Cathy will need to resume an ongoing routine of chemotherapy immediately. The treatment will comprise six medications, including daily oral medication and biweekly infusions, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Due to the strength of the medications, she will need to have a new IV medi-port implanted in her chest. This level of treatment will continue throughout her lifetime.
The Johnstons also discussed with the oncologist the details of Cathy’s prognosis. The doctor indicated that the prognosis is “poor” because Cathy is missing a specific gene that fights cancer. People like Cathy who have multiple myeloma and are missing this gene live on average about 2-3 years post-stem cell transplant.
Cathy continues to have ongoing bone, muscle, and joint pain, numbness, and weakness in her hands. These symptoms are probably from several different factors, including the chemo.
Cathy and Tom would like to request that everyone continue to ask the Lord to heal Cathy of the multiple myeloma. In addition, please ask the Lord to strengthen her as she resumes the intense chemotherapy regimen.
Also, Cathy and Tom would like to thank everyone for praying for them, encouraging them, and helping them financially. They tangibly feel everyone’s love and support. The next prayer update will come once Cathy’s treatment appointments are scheduled.

Update July 19, 2023
Today Cathy had a new IV Power Port inserted in her chest for the upcoming resumption of her chemotherapy treatments. These will be bi-weekly starting on Monday July 24 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH. The port insertion procedure went well. After three months of chemotherapy, Cathy will have another bone marrow biopsy and PET scan to evaluate the status of the multiple myeloma.
Cathy also started physical therapy today, as she is weak from all of her treatments.
Thank you so much for your prayer support. The next update will be on Tuesday, August 8th.

Update August 8, 2023
Cathy had another chemotherapy treatment yesterday at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH. She is also on two oral chemo meds. She is experiencing considerable side-effects, including extreme fatigue, muscle, joint, and bone pain, a burning sensation on her skin, and a limited ability to focus and track. Please ask the Lord to bring healing to her body, and to address these side-effects. She remains in good spirits, and is enjoying all her visitors at home that she is receiving now that she is out of isolation.
Cathy and Tom continue to be grateful for your on-going prayer and support during this season.

Update August 30, 2023
Cathy and Tom apologize for the late posting update on her health journey.
Cathy is doing physical therapy and she is getting stronger and increasing her physical activity.
Cathy continues with her chemotherapy treatments-taking oral medications daily at home and traveling to Dartmouth Hitchcock Lebanon NH for IV and injectable medications. She continues to have ongoing medication side effects, but has been able to manage the symptoms. When this round of treatment is completed in October, the doctor has ordered another PET scan and bone marrow biopsy to ascertain the status of her multiple myeloma. The PET is scheduled for October 19th and the bone marrow biopsy is on October 26th.
Cathy and Tom will celebrate their 62nd birthday (same day) on September 6th and thank the Lord for His faithfulness. They would like to thank everyone for their continued prayer support.

Update September 18, 2023
Yesterday Cathy had lab work, several infusions, and a visit with her oncologist. Also she began to receive her childhood immunizations, as the stem cell transplant procedure eliminated all her existing immunity. These immunizations will be spread out over two years. She did very well, and blood work looked good. However, she continues to be immunocompromised. This is an ongoing effect of both the chemotherapy treatments and the presence of the multiple myeloma. She continues with physical therapy.
Cathy's next bone marrow biopsy and PET scan are scheduled for October 26th. This will allow the doctor to "restage" her cancer and adjust her treatment regimen.
Please continue to pray for both Cathy and Tom, as they walk this journey with Jesus. Thank you!

Update November 2, 2023
We have good news with today's health update!
Cathy and Tom met with the Oncologist today and Cathy has had a “complete response” to the current multiple chemotherapy treatments leading to a “complete remission” of the cancer.  The bone marrow biopsy did not show any observable multiple myeloma cancer!  Also, the PET scan did not show any new bone lesions from the cancer. The doctor reminded them that the multiple myeloma is still present, but not currently advancing. Cathy will need to continue her multiple IV, oral and SQ chemotherapy medications.
The doctor was pleasantly surprised that the treatment is currently working, as Cathy is considered to have a “poor prognosis” due to the fact that she is missing a gene that fights cancer. The doctor said “all those people praying for you… tell them it worked.”
Cathy and Tom would like to thank everyone who have been faithfully praying!  God is faithful to respond to the prayers of His people!
Please continue to pray, as the health battle continues. Cathy continues to experience side effects of the ongoing chemotherapy medications:  neuropathy, diarrhea, mental fogginess, nausea, weakness, fatigue, skin burning, unsteady gait, high blood sugars and heavy sweats. Also, please pray for the Lords financial provision. The next health update will be in December 2023.

Update December 11, 2023
Cathy and Tom would like to thank everyone who has been praying for them. Cathy continues in the chemotherapy treatment at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH. This includes daily oral chemo meds and bi-weekly infusions at the Dartmouth Cancer Center. The goal of this ongoing treatment is to keep her cancer in remission. Please continue to pray for the Lord to heal her, for the treatment to be effective, and for the elimination of pain and discomfort associated with both the multiple myeloma and the treatments. Also, with the new year comes new financial challenges for them. Please pray for the Lord’s provision for health insurance ($2,200/month through September 2024, $3,100/month starting in October 2024) as well as $18,000 annual insurance out-of-pocket expense. Again, thank you so much for your loving support for the Johnstons.

Update February 5, 2024
Cathy and Tom would like to thank everyone for praying for them. Cathy continues her Chemotherapy treatments, with daily oral chemo meds and bi-weekly infusions at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH. She is in remission, so the Lord is answering our prayers!
A new dynamic is the addition of intravenous infusions of Immunoglobulin (IVIG), designed to boost Cathy's very minimal immune system. This comes with it's own set of side effects, but is an essential part of her treatment.
Please continue to pray for the efficacy of the chemotherapy, for the reduction of side effects, for her bones to remain resilient, and for the Lord to give Cathy physical and emotional strength. Also, please ask the Lord to provide for the Johnston's financial needs, as the medical expenses and the health insurance premiums are significant.

Update April 9, 2024
The Johnston's celebrated Cathy's one-year anniversary of her stem-cell transplant on March 29th. They are so extremely grateful to the Lord for this milestone, as the doctor didn’t expect the treatment to be effective at impeding the progression of her cancer.
Cathy continues with her multiple myeloma blood cancer treatments with daily chemotherapy pills and every other week intravenous infusions at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Cathy’s immune system is slowly improving with the monthly immunoglobulin infusions she is receiving but it remains low.
The month of March was very difficult as Cathy has been experiencing severe pain in her bones, joints, lower back, hips, and leg weakness. She fell twice in April. She also continues to have peripheral neuropathy that has increased in her hands and feet. Other side effects have been gastrointestinal-related, with episodes of blurred vision and poor memory, and it is difficult for her to sleep at night. Please pray for Cathy to have reduced side effects from the medications.
Cathy continues with physical therapy and has started to increase her exercise in a heated indoor pool.
Other prayer requests include:
  1. Pray for the chemotherapy medications to be effective against multiple myeloma
  2. Pray for ongoing financial provision daily (COBRA insurance, mortgage, and medical expenses)
  3. Pray for the upcoming PET scan (April 22) and Bone Marrow biopsy (April 25). Results and outcomes will provide information for the oncologist to re-stage her cancer treatment options
Cathy and Tom would like to again thank all of you for your continued support in prayer. We serve a powerful and loving God!

More updates will be posted every few weeks. Please check back for updates and more specific prayer requests.