“I am in remission,” Mayor Kelly Boyd proclaimed Tuesday, receiving rousing applause from the crowd of 60 present at the City Council meeting.
A very different ambiance pervaded the same room five months earlier when Boyd first confirmed that he was battling multiple myeloma, a form of cancer that affects the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow. “Fortunately, it’s at stage two, and I have no intention of stepping down from this dais,” said Boyd at the time, subsequent to selling his downtown sinecure, the Marine Room Tavern, a favorite locals watering hole.
Boyd’s stance remained unchanged when reached on Wednesday. He defined the announcement to mean he is currently cancer free, a diagnosis he said he’d been given about two weeks ago. He noted that there is no cure for this form of cancer. He still takes a chemo pill nightly and receives a bone-strengthening IV once a month as part of a maintenance program.
“I still get tired easy,” he readily admitted, adding that besides the chemotherapy regimen, he also lost 40 pounds and has not yet gained much back.
He expects to learn what’s next for him medically next week when he visits his oncologist at Duarte’s City of Hope hospital, one of the nation’s most respected cancer treatment centers. Based on her assessment, Boyd disclosed that he will either continue with his current maintenance routine or his doctor may recommend a stem cell transplant.
The latter option would mean a three-week hospital stay, he said, since it involves taking bone marrow out, cleaning everything with a “pretty high dose” of chemo to make sure everything is dead, and then putting the stem cells back in.
While there is no current cure for the disease, “the latest treatments can help control the disease, relieve pain, limit complications and slow the progress of multiple myeloma in most people,” according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. “This tremendous progress in treatment means that most people with multiple myeloma live longer than ever before.”
Boyd, 69, a descendent of one of the town’s original homesteaders, was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2010. Should any elected official leave their post before their term expires, the city’s charter allows City Council the discretion to either appoint or hold a special election for an interim successor. In either case the interim official would only serve until the expiration of their predecessor’s term.