U.S. Rep. John Garamendi announces cancer diagnosis

SACRAMENTO – Bay Area Congressman John Garamendi revealed Monday he is battling a rare blood cancer.

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Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, announced his diagnosis in a statement and a video posted to social media.

“My wife Patti, a leader in the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program, ensures I stay vigilant about preventative screenings and care. Freezing abnormal bumps is standard, but a call from my doctor changed everything: ‘When will you be back in California? You need to come in for a series of tests,’ ” he said.

“Thus began my journey with early stage multiple myeloma, a form of treatable blood cancer.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic, multiple myeloma happens when healthy plasma cells become abnormal and produce abnormal antibodies, leading to medical issues and conditions that can affect bones, kidneys and the body’s ability to make blood cells and platelets.

Garamendi, 79, said he is undergoing chemo-immunotherapy as an outpatient in the Sacramento area.

“With early detection, excellent doctors, and the love and support of Patti, our entire family, my extraordinary staff, and congressional colleagues, I know I’ll get through this while continuing to serve my constituents and advance American democracy,” he said.

Garamendi said he has a “long list of projects and goals” for his constituents in Contra Costa and Solano counties, and he plans to continue working while receiving treatments.

“However, alongside destroying cancer cells, chemotherapy weakens natural antibodies and the immune system,” he said. “My doctors have cautioned me to minimize exposure to COVID-19, flu, and other viruses, so I will limit travel to Washington and public events during the treatment process.”

Garamendi has enjoyed a long career in politics, starting with his election to the California State Legislature in 1974. In addition to four terms in the state senate, he served as insurance commissioner from 1991 to 1995 and again from 2003 to 2006.

In 1995, Garamendi was appointed deputy secretary of the interior by President Bill Clinton. He was then elected lieutenant governor in 2007. Two years later, he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is now in his eighth term.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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