Manning Regional Healthcare Center
Patient Experience: Travis Meier Deals with Cancer
By: Pam Kusel, Manning News Journal
At the time Travis Meier was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, he was the youngest to be diagnosed with a cancer that normally affects individuals 50-70 years of age.
“When I was diagnosed, they tested to see how many of my cells were cancerous. I was at 70 percent,” said Meier.
His story begins with back problems. After six weeks of physical therapy, Meier felt no better. He talked with his MRHC physician, Doug McLaws, who ordered an MRI of Meiers’ back.
“When they started the MRI they found the mass in my left shoulder right away,” he stated. “As they progressed down, there was a mass around my second rib, wrapped around the bone and dissolving it, and farther down there was one pressing against my sialic nerve in my lower back which was causing the majority of my pain. There was also a herniated disc.”
That was October 2018.
They knew it was cancer, but they were not sure what kind yet. Next came a PET scan.
Meier said, “I lit up all over.”
He was then sent to Heartland Oncology in Council Bluffs and was seen by Dr. Stacey Parker-Brueggemann.
That day he had a bone marrow biopsy, which he described as very unpleasant. The biopsy determined his cancer was Multiple Myeloma.
In November 2018 he had chemo once a week with a shot under the skin, and a number of medications. That continued until March 2019.
He said, “March 28 they gave me a high dose chemo and put my own stem cells back in. I spent 20 days there. Then spent another week, there in a hotel so they could keep an eye on me.
He came home and after 10 days he went back to work. “After my stem cell transplant, they don’t do anything for 100 days,” he said.
“When I went back after the 100 days, the cancer was back already. Cancer cells were at three percent, so I went back on chemo for four months and we knocked it down to .06 percent,” he explained. “I continue on one pill, for maintenance. I’ll be on this until something happens again.”
Meier speaks highly of his doctors, stating Dr. Parker-Brueggemann is his primary oncologist. He said she is amazing. Dr. McLaws monitors how Meier is doing.
“He’s someone I can talk to about how I feel,” said Meier. “He gives me advice and support when I need it. He sees all my blood labs that are done here and sent on.
Meier is now in remission. Traces of the cancer can still be seen in his blood tests, but he remains active and carries a positive outlook.
“I’ve always been that way,” he said. “My dad and mom are the same way. We just keep going. You don’t slow down, you don’t rest. You just push.”
He likes the phrase he found on his wife’s necklace: “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.”
“There’s nothing I can do about it; just do what the doctors say and prove them wrong when they tell you can’t do something. I just try to keep moving,” he said.
Meier works at Pella Windows in Carroll. He and his wife, Ashley, have a son, Breyton.