Steve Muller and his family are grateful for the outpouring of support they’ve received from the Lovell community since his recent diagnosis of a very rare form of leukemia, usually only seen in young children.
Muller, 33, first started feeling the symptoms that something was wrong in October of 2013. The symptoms, which included pain in his hips, knees, shoulders and back, began suddenly and remained very severe. The constant pain, which was accompanied by fever, night sweats and a feeling of exhaustion, brought him to the hospital emergency room several times.
At first his doctors suspected rheumatoid arthritis and then lupus. He later developed blood clots in his lungs, which ironically led him to a doctor at Billings Clinic, who diagnosed him with the very rare disease that he is now undergoing treatment for, in the form of eight very intense chemotherapy treatments that require hospitalization for a week at a time each time he receives a treatment. His doctors are also recommending a bone marrow transplant.
“It’s ironic that the blood clots were actually a blessing in disguise,” said wife Jennifer Muller. “They were a blessing because it led to his diagnosis.”
Muller said he has been unable to work in his job as a shift foreman at Wyo-Ben, a job he loves and has worked in for 13 years since his graduation from high school.
“The hardest part for me is not working,” said Muller. “I miss my job, I really do.”
He said the family has received tremendous support from the community in every way.
“It’s amazing how wonderful people have been to us,” said Muller. “All our co-workers, the LDS Church, our friends and family. We can never thank people enough for the kind words, the prayers, their donations and even the little things like shoveling snow around our house.”
So far, Muller has received three of his eight-treatment series of chemotherapy and all indications are that the treatments are working. Unable to work and facing high insurance costs beginning in March, Muller said he and his family, which includes his wife and three children ages 13, 10 and 6, remain optimistic that they will get through this ordeal.
“I’m optimistic about the outcome, I really am,” said Muller. “I feel very, very positive and I see myself recovering 100 percent.”
A special account has been set up at Big Horn Federal Bank for donations. Donations can also be made through the website: www.gofundme.com/stevemullerfamily.
Additionally, a fundraiser selling firemen’s ribs will be held at the Lovell Fire Hall on March 29. Only 500 tickets will be sold in advance for to-go orders only. Tickets are available at the North Big Horn Hospital admissions desk, Code Red Tactical and Gracie’s Back Door Spa.
The proceeds for the event will be shared with the Mangus family, who are facing similar hardships after their newborn, also diagnosed with a rare medical disorder, is requiring expensive medical treatments including a recent heart transplant.
“We are happy to share the proceeds with the Mangus family,” said Muller. “They are close friends and have been a tremendous support to our family in spite of their own troubles.”
By Patti Carpenter