chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells and a stem cell
transplant to replace the bone marrow cells. A transplant doesn’t cure the cancer, but it can send multiple
myeloma into partial remission for years at a time.
“In order to attack the cancer, I felt like I had to understand what was happening to my body and why we were
doing certain things,” says Lambert. He was inspired by the
TV character Angus MacGyver, who used inventiveness
and any object at hand to deal with a difficult situation.
“Nothing stopped [MacGyver] from getting through
problems and enjoying life. Once he got to work on a plan,
he saw it through,” Lambert says. Lambert did his homework. He asked questions of every doctor he saw, read
articles on multiple myeloma research and treatment, and
got to know his disease inside and out.
Lambert’s strength and fitness allowed his doctors
to take an aggressive approach to treatment. “They
hit me hard, because I was young and strong,” he says.
Hematologist and researcher Kanti Rai of Long Island
Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, and the Feinstein
Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, both in New
York, says that’s probably true. “A physically fit patient, in
general, will have more strength to fight the onslaught of
chemo and its related side effects,” says Rai, who was not
involved in treating Lambert.
For the first six months of treatment, Lambert received a
three-drug cocktail known as RVD—Revlimid (lenalidomide),
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Gary Lambert rides his bicycle through Wissahickon Valley
Park near his Philadelphia home. Lambert credits an active
lifestyle with helping him handle setbacks.