Ray Hartjen: Me, Myself, and My Multiple Myeloma

On episode #235 of The Author Factor Podcast, I am having a conversation with nonfiction book author Ray Hartjen. Ray, a marketing professional and musician, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in March 2019. His career spans organizational development, corporate communications, public relations, and marketing. Inspired by his stepmother’s battle with the same disease, Ray authored a book to support others facing similar health challenges.

Ray Hartjen and Mike Capuzzi

Ray's book, Me, Myself & My Multiple Myeloma: A Behind-the-Scenes Look for Patients, Caregivers & Allies, serves as a vital resource for patients, caregivers, and allies of chronic disease sufferers. Listeners will find it interesting due to its practical advice, personal insights, and the profound way it addresses the emotional and physical realities of living with multiple myeloma.

Ray Hartjen shares his Author Factor

Unlocking the Author Factor: This Episode's Big Takeaway

The key author factor from this episode is the profound impact of storytelling as a means to cope with life's challenges and to support others. Through his personal journey documented in his book "me, myself, and my multiple myeloma," Ray Hartjen illustrates how writing about his battle with multiple myeloma not only provided him with therapeutic relief but also created a resource to help others facing similar struggles, ultimately raising awareness and funds for advanced treatments. This underscores the power of sharing personal experiences to connect, comfort, and contribute positively to a broader community.

Learn more about Ray Hartjen by visiting:


Mike Capuzzi: In a life filled with pivots and transitions, what keeps one grounded through it all? For Ray Hartjen, award winning author of the book me, myself, and my multiple myeloma, the constant has been storytelling. His book offers a deeply personal and inspiring look into his battle with cancer. Ray's insights have been featured in national media, and he shares his journey on his blog. Ray, welcome to the show.


Ray Hartjen: Thank you so much, Mike, for having me. I'm grateful for the opportunity. Thank you.


Mike Capuzzi: Well, I appreciate the opportunity. And Ray, let's just jump in and talk about, I know you're a multiple book author. I know you were just saying you're. I believe it's your third book. You just got the contract for it, so congratulations. But we're focusing on your second book, Me, Myself, and My Multiple Myeloma. So, Ray, before we jump in and discuss that author journey, tell us a little bit more about your personal journey, where you're from, what you've been doing, what you're doing today.


Ray Hartjen: Yeah, you know, I'm a 60-year-old guy who seems to not be able to find a job. I've had a lot of career transitions over my career, but the one constant of it has always been storytelling, at least for the last 25 or 30 years. So I found myself in a variety of organizational development, corporate communications, public relations, and marketing roles. And it's just telling those types of stories in different industries as wide as investment banking to pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics, and high tech. So I've got a passion for storytelling professionally. I'm a musician as well. And there's always nice little stories in three minutes and 32nd blocks that we call songs. So it's always been part of me and part of the, this cancer fight.


Ray Hartjen: You know, some people have cancer journeys. I think I get a little bit more motivated, more inspired by having a fight. Kind of fits my personality, I think, a little bit better. But, you know, part of that was, you know, you know, what are the things that you want to get accomplished? And, you know, there's some stories I wanted to tell, and that led to the writing of some longer form content books in particular. And one of the stories I wanted to share was my multiple myeloma story, because, you know, prior to my diagnosis, I had never even heard of multiple myeloma. And for those of you in your audience that aren't familiar with disease, it's a relatively rare blood cancer, manifests itself in the bone marrow. It's incurable, but it is treatable. I was diagnosed in March of 2019, and now well into my fifth year of fighting the disease, I learned some things about cancer, and I've experienced some things from cancer.


Ray Hartjen: But the things I've learned, Mike, have come from the people in front of me that have reached helping hands back and pulled me forward through my fight. And I wanted to be a resource for that same community. How could I give back to the community? So that's why I'm excited about this book. It's not so much about me telling my story. I'm hoping it's a resource for the community. When I mean the community, I mean three different parts of the community. One's the patient community. But it's not just myeloma patients.


Ray Hartjen: It's patients of any chronic disease. And I wanted to be a resource for them, because this is more than just a cancer book, at least in my opinion. I think it's kind of a book about my experiences and how it's changed me as a person. And it's a book about living. Living with a chronic disease. So it's definitely. The patients are one of them. Second one are patient caregivers, the unsung heroes in our society.


Ray Hartjen: Right. It is difficult being a patient caregiver, and I'm so blessed to have a spouse of 30 years that that helps me. And then there's the ally community, and sometimes those are care providers, just, you know, interested people and so forth. I wanted to provide a resource for them that kind of led to the creation of this book. And I'm super excited about a book for the community, by the community, and I wanted to benefit the community. So I worked with the multiple myeloma research foundation. My net writers proceeds are donated to the MMRF, so together we can tell the story and make a difference.


Mike Capuzzi: So, Ray, if we could, just for my own interest, 2019. You think it was March 2019. What was going on? If you don't mind my asking, how did you find out you had this disease?


Ray Hartjen: Yeah, that's a great question. I'm glad you asked me. Cause that's one of the things I definitely wanna talk to your audience about. I had an anemic blood value, a low hemoglobin score on a routine blood test. Now, the thing is, Mike, I felt great. I'm an avid cyclist. That's how I stay in good physical condition. And my performance metrics as a 54 year old road cyclist was every bit as good as they had been in the previous five years.


Ray Hartjen: I could track myself, and looking back now, I was probably a bit fatigued. But again, I was 54 years old, the full time job, married with two kids in expensive private universities. Give me a break, man. I'm supposed to, but I had this anemic blood value. So it's like, well, let's try to get to the bottom of this anemic blood value. And it took a while to do that. Part of it was my fault and not following up, and part of it was got into the holiday season, but very busy time for me professionally and the like. We finally drilled down more sophisticated blood tests, more and more.


Ray Hartjen: Then finally a bone marrow biopsy. That bone marrow biopsy came back in March 11, 2019. 90% of my bone marrow was cancerous.


Mike Capuzzi: Wow.


Ray Hartjen: And so the lesson that I want to share with your group, I've had the privilege of being able to speak a lot after my diagnosis, based on my online Persona and the like. I've had the opportunity to participate in some videos and some interviews of media and the like. People always ask me, you know, what can I do for you? When I first got diagnosed, I was like, I don't know if you know, I have things handled. I don't think there's anything you can do for me. But after a while, as people began to approach me more and more, and I was speaking in fundraising opportunities, I came up with a very well rehearsed list of things you can do for me. And there are four things. And number one is go see your doctor. Go see your doctor annually.


Ray Hartjen: For me, 90% of my bone marrow was cancerous. And I had no clue. I felt great. I got a blood test, and that started me on my journey. A lot of times, multiple myeloma gets diagnosed by unexplained bone fractures. So the disease manifests itself into bone marrow initially, then begins to seep into the bones and weaken the bones. And then people wake up. I know a gentleman who woke up, and the first two steps he took out of bed in the morning, he suffered three compression fractures of his spine.


Ray Hartjen: Immediately lost an inch and a half, two inches of height. And going to the doctor going, what happened? They’re like, that’s a good question. Lets find out. And found out that he had multiple myeloma in spread to his bones. You know, so many of these conditions make you feel, don't make you feel bad. You don't know anything's wrong. Go see your doctor, get your routine blood test. I can tell you, I can't think of anything that, you know, having an intervention to address a problem is a lot easier when you get it done early.


Ray Hartjen: You know, starting late in the game is, is a much tougher journey. Go see your doctor. And then just quickly to run through those other three items since I'm speaking about. Number one, go see your doctor. Number two, mitigate your risk factors. And I call them the twos. That's, and you know what they are. You don't need ray to tell you.


Ray Hartjen: You don't need a doctor to tell you, but that's, you know, you eat too much red meat, eat too few fruits and vegetables, you exercise too little, you smoke too much, you drink too much, and so forth. I'm not saying don't live. I'm just saying mitigate your risk variables. Number three, if you know anybody that's going through a serious health issue and a chronic health issue alone, reach out and help. It is a massive burden to carry, not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally, spiritually. Just paperwork alone. Mike, man, we are inundated with paperwork from care providers, insurance companies, drug companies. There's correspondence galore.


Ray Hartjen: I'm thankful that I have my wife with me by my side. If you don't know what to say to your friend and loved one, start there. I know that's where a lot of people hesitate. It's like, Jesus, I don't even know what to say. I'll talk to Mike tomorrow, next week, or whatever. It's just, man, just come out and say, hey, Mike, man, I love you. I care for you. I want to be there for you.


Ray Hartjen: I don't know what to say, but I'm hoping we can just have this kind of difficult conversation for me at least, and then we can get to where I can help you best. And the fourth thing, find your passion as it relates to healthcare, or life, for that matter. Find your passion. We all get something. We're all in this together. You will know your passion when it comes speaking to you, because it's a voice that just will not go away inside your head. So find your passion. Donate your time and or money.


Ray Hartjen: Like I said, we're on this together. Let's do it together.


Mike Capuzzi: The prognosis for this disease, Ray, for your specific disease, what does that look like?


Ray Hartjen: Well, nobody really knows. It's like I said, it's incurable at the moment. There's some standard treatments, and there's several different lines of treatment. And the hope for patients with multiple myeloma is as you progress through treatments and they can begin to lose their efficacy, you hope every few years that there's a new treatment that comes about. You know, for me, I started with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, in an induction phase at a stem cell transplant in late autumn 2019. Recently, my disease has progressed again, as expected. In March, I got news that the markers in my blood tests were beginning to rise and become visible. So back to the test.


Ray Hartjen: See how bad it was. In my case, my bone marrow was now 20% cancerous. So I've started a new line of treatment beginning of June. And so, yeah, you continue to write out the treatments and see where that gets you. The idea with the treatments is, just as it's an incurable disease, just to beat it down to a manageable level, and then as it begins to kind of get used to the medicine that you're on, it will begin to grow back again. So let's try something else, a different line of therapy, and hopefully that will be effective and beat it down as well.


Mike Capuzzi: So you got your diagnosis, March 2019. When was the book published? Ray?


Ray Hartjen: Books published this year. Okay. Yeah. So, you know, when I. Like I said, you know, I had the good fortune to participate in a lot of interviews, and so I had a lot of people reaching out to me on a one to one basis, just asking questions. They had recently been diagnosed or somebody that they knew had been diagnosed and wanted to know more about, you know, like, how did you know what was your treatment, you know, how did you respond to your treatment, et cetera. And I found that I cherished those just discussions, you know, because I was benefiting from that, from, like, my. My cancer support group, you know, and those same discussions and.


Ray Hartjen: And learning from others. Uh, but I was also, you know, recognizing that was a one to one, uh, type of communication. And, you know, I was thinking, you know, how can I scale this? Uh, and I'm like, hey, man, I'm a professional storyteller. How about if I tell my story in the form of a book, and maybe we can do a one to many, you know? And so, while, you know, I still love it when people reach out to me via email, phone calls, social media, and the like, I enjoy speaking with patients and their allies. The genesis of the book was, how do we scale it and help as many people as possible? And then I thought, let's not be selfish about it. Let's make it a fundraiser as well and see, truly, hopefully, we can make it a valued resource for the community that benefits the community. That's the hope. So the book came out from Morgan James this year.


Ray Hartjen: You can get it at, as the saying goes, Mike, whoever. Fine books are sold.


Mike Capuzzi: Very good. So we've had over 200 authors we've interviewed on this podcast. Nonfiction book authors, and a number of them, Ray, similar to you in that they've experienced a challenge in life, and they wrote a book about it. Some because it was going to be a therapeutic process for them, others, it became a therapeutic process for them. Them to really, you know, focus, and share and discuss it. I'm interested in hearing from your point of view because I can see this being a valuable way for people who are going through a life challenge to deal with it better. You know, how does the book fit into you personally as far as what it did for you personally as you wrote this book? Because, again, it wasn't your first book, you were experienced author. What did that look like? Ray?


Ray Hartjen: Yeah, that's a good question for me because I cycle. I also take long walks as part of my fitness regimen. I spent a lot of time thinking, thinking in my head, storytelling in my head. I struggled with my diagnosis originally, as we were doing the more sophisticated tests, the doctor started, you know, foreshadowing, you know, and we kind of knew there, you know, in the last week or two that, you know, we don't know exactly what it is, but it probably ends in the word, in the letter a, and, you know, and, and it's, you know, probably not particularly good, good news, right? And so when I got the diagnosis, it was great because I, up to that point in time, Mike, I'd just been like a punching bag for, for my doctor, you know, poke here with needles. Poke, poke, poke, poke. And then the, the worst needle of them all, the bone marrow biopsy. Here's pro tip for you and your listeners not to be considered as a recreational activity, right? It hurts, right? And so I'm like, you know, I'm done with getting hurt. I want to fight.


Ray Hartjen: Let's get into this. It's something, right? And so there was a. I want to call it relief, but it's like, good. Finally know what it is. Now I'm into the game, right? And then two weeks later, I was just exhausted because, you know, I'm a type of guy. It's like, you know, what are the things that I can control? And so I want to control them. I want to control my physical conditioning. I want to control my medical appointments, my drug regimen, the diet that I'm on, and so on.


Ray Hartjen: And I'm approaching this as I'm getting ready for a bicycle race or I'm getting ready for a performance or a deliverable at work or what have you, a capstone event. And two weeks into my fight, I went out to dinner with a family, and it was a Friday night, and I was just exhausted. All parts of me physically exhausted, but most of the physical exhaustion was coming from the emotional and mental burden that I'd been carrying for a couple of weeks. And all the kind of, like, brought down all my levels, if you think about, like, a mixing board, like, in an audio studio. And I was like, man, that's when I started thinking, I gotta have to change my approach. I mean, there is no game day, there is no fight night. With a chronic condition, every day is game day, and every night is fight night. So how do I change my approach to make this a long term thing a marathon as opposed to a sprint? That was the first bit of beginning to think of, like, I need to kind of change my approach, you know? And so getting away from, you know, that initial thing is like, you know, why me isn't cancer? Or something happens to somebody else, you know, to, you know, the acceptance that, yes, I have cancer, but the way I'm approaching things are different.


Ray Hartjen: And I needed to kind of reevaluate that. But that just set me on a months and months. I'm still learning, Mike. You know, just a journey of, you know, coming to grips with. Well, ultimately, I guess, at the end of it is my mortality. Right. There's an exercise I facilitate many times in the past. It's a timeline exercise.


Ray Hartjen: I'll just run through it very quickly for you and your audience. You can take a piece of paper just in your mind if you don't have a piece of paper in front of you, and just draw a horizontal line from left to right. The far left hand side, draw a tick mark. Far right hand side, draw another tick mark. Right. So that's the end of your line. The left hand side, that's your birth. The right hand side is your death.


Ray Hartjen: And then take a moment to think. Where do you feel, where do you believe you are on your timeline? Whenever I'd done that exercise before, I was always someplace in the middle. Shoot, Mike, man, I was going to live forever. But then my cancer diagnosis said, intellectually, I know I'm not going to live forever. Maybe I'm a little bit further to the right than I thought I was. That right there opened up my mind. What do I want as my legacy? What do I want to do, and who do I want to do it with? Right. You know, up to that point in time, I felt as though I took a lot of things for granted.


Ray Hartjen: I didn't realize that, but, you know, having this timeline exercise, right in front of me and realizing, wow, man, I'm closer to the right than I was before. And when I think about, like, you know, how does that impact my life? You know, I would think, you know, I always took all tomorrows for granted. Tomorrow was always going to be there next week, next month, next year, and in some instances, depending on the topic, decades, you know, and, you know, that hampered a lot of my relationships, you know, because there's always going to be tomorrow. So I'm thinking about Mike, but I'm not going to call Mike right now. I'm sure he's busy or whatever. I got some stuff to do. You know, I'll call him tomorrow because, you know, I'm going to be here tomorrow. He's going to be here tomorrow.


Ray Hartjen: So what's the big deal, right? And that turns into a week, that turns into a month, turns into a year, you know? So taking time for granted was taking people, taking relationships for granted. You know, I wanted to change that around. And, you know, as I said before, I'm a musician and, you know, nobody buys music anymore, but one thing they do is buy t shirts at your gigs. So for decades, I've always been on the search for pithy little slogans to put on the back of a t shirt. Started out with if not now, when? If not now might win. And that led to the creation of this first book, immaculate how the Steelers saved Pittsburgh. And it also began to morph over time to, let's make the most out of the gift that we have, and the gift that we have is today. And I want today to know that I'm here, that I.


Ray Hartjen: That I was here, and I used it up. So, you know, my new motto, hashtag punch today in the face. You know, let's get today's attention, let them know that Ray was here. I want to use up every precious moment I have because today is a gift. And, Mike, as we know, not everybody got the gift today. So how do we honor them? How do we honor the day and how do we honor ourselves? Let's make the most of this gift that we have today. And, you know, hopefully I can lay in bed tonight with a satisfied smile on my face, kind of look figuratively over tomorrow, put my finger at tomorrow and say, I'm coming for you next.


Mike Capuzzi: Ray. You may notice I'm looking over to my side here, and I have to just share this just between you and I, because we're not using the video, but I have this little very. It's a great saying. You should look it up. The gentleman's name is Heartsill Wilson and it's called A New Day, and I actually frame it.


Mike Capuzzi: I give this to clients, I print them up, we do a little gift for them, and it's just basically, and I'll send you a link after we get off, just so you can find it. But it's just, it just reminds me of what you just shared and that little exercise that you just shared, I've done. Mentally, you and I are probably very similar in a lot of respects. Just hearing you speak and. But, boy, when you just say that, just the timeline and thinking about that. Yeah, I mean, it's eye opening to say the least.


Ray Hartjen: So it's so easy to get kind of caught up. Oh, yeah, that's life, right?


Mike Capuzzi: Yeah.


Ray Hartjen: And you get caught up, the next thing you know, these things that you want it to do, you know, with the people that you wanted to do them with, they've kind of like, you know, those, some of those opportunities, they haven't gone away, but they've been delayed unnecessarily. So, you know, how can we take a look at our timeline and say, you know, what are the most important things I want to get accomplished and who do I want to do it with? You know, what are the things I want to do and who are the people I want to be with? And let's. Let's try to prioritize those. Let's get those done, because I got a feeling the minutiae is going to fall into place and we ought to do that anyway. I'll be able to. I'll probably have some time today to get to my emails, but right now I need to talk to my friend Mike and see how he's doing. I can deal with the spammy emails later today. I got plenty of time to say no to the four different insurance offerings.


Ray Hartjen: Whatever.


Mike Capuzzi: Ray, I want to ask you, I don't think I've ever asked this question on this podcast, but I want to ask it to you. So again, the point of this podcast is to inspire others. Maybe they haven't written that first book. Maybe they. They know they should be writing another book. Whatever it might be. It's just meant to inspire, give ideas, encourage, etcetera. What words of encouragement or what would you tell somebody who's listening to this right now who is going through a life challenge? Maybe it's health, maybe it's relationship.


Mike Capuzzi: I don't know, kids, wife, spouse, whatever. What would you say to them about the opportunity of putting it down into a book format and what that could potentially either look like do for them. Maybe it's a book they start writing and they never even publish it. They just get it. I don't know. But, like, you've gone through it now. There's probably someone right now listening to this that says, hey, I never thought about that, but maybe that's what I need to do.


Ray Hartjen: Yeah. You know, I'll hearken back to, you know, what I, what I do, you know, professionally, you know, and that is, you know, sharing stories from a marketing perspective. If I think they're interesting, they're probably interesting to others. You know? You know, think of a bell shaped curve and, you know, we are not as unique as maybe we like to think we are these outliers. Right. You know, in a lot of respects, you know, there are, you know, there are others like us. I mean, you just said it right a minute ago. It's like, great.


Ray Hartjen: I think we're a lot more common than maybe not initially, right? So if you find if you're a writer out there or if you're not a writer and you're, you're just somebody and you think of something that's interesting, I guarantee that there's somebody else out there that thinks it's interesting as well. Maybe they just haven't thought about it yet. Or maybe they have thought about it, but they're wrestling for answers or solutions or they want to seek more information. And writing a book is difficult. If you look at it from a start to finish perspective, it's like, wow, look at this book. It's a couple hundred pages long, it's an inch thick or whatever. Don't think of it that way. It's just like looking at a marathon race.


Ray Hartjen: It's like, wow, this is a little over 26 miles. I can't do that. But you can't do like a snap, right? Writing a book when you break it down is not that difficult. If you take, take the time to write 400 words a day, 400 words a day is not a lot. If writing comes kind of naturally to you, it's a handful of paragraphs, maybe less than a handful of paragraphs, depending on your writing style. 400 words a day in a few months is a book, believe it or not. Right. You know, the publishing industry today has no interest in publishing a war and peace.


Ray Hartjen: Tolstoy would have a hard time getting published today because people don't read 1000 page books anymore. I ran into that problem shopping. Immaculate. How the Steelers saved Pittsburgh the original manuscript's 133,000 words, not particularly big. They're like, no, he can't do that. The average nonfiction books, like, you know, 65,000 words, it's half that, you know, but, you know, we had a story to tell. You just can't not tell part of the story. So we ended up editing it down to 130,000 words.


Ray Hartjen: But still, you know, we got people balking from it. You know, there's not that many words coming into a story. You know, the way that our society kind of works today, we kind of like to, you know, rip through things pretty quickly. I blame it all on USA Today. Mike, back in the eighties, they told us, you know, they would take a six page news story and turn it into two paragraphs and a pie chart. Right? And we just got drained into, like, I need a headline, two paragraphs, and a pie chart. So, yeah, you know, if you have a story that you think is interesting out there, I encourage you to just sit down and begin. Take those first steps and begin to write.


Ray Hartjen: You know, as you said, there's sometimes this therapeutic, you know, bit of it where you start kind of going through it and it helps you. And whether you publish it or not, sometimes it's a very helpful experience. Just begin to tell your story. And don't worry about getting it perfect because you're going to reread it many, many times. You're going to edit it over and over and over. You're going to have a professional editor edited. So don't worry about that. Just get started.


Ray Hartjen: You know, if not now, when? And it doesn't take all day. You don't need to have a cabin in Maine right next to a, you know, a nice pond or whatever. Just find a little spot for you. There are some tips I'll give. You know, most. Most writers will tell you that you're not a writer if you don't write. You know, if you're thinking about being a writer, well, then you're really, what you're doing is you're somebody who's thinking about being a writer, but you have to write to be a writer. So write, write every day just a little bit.


Ray Hartjen: 200 words, 400 words, whatever. And then, you know, ideally, try to find a place to write. Well, that's your place where you're taking care of business, right? You know, you're. You're sitting down there, whether it's, you know, your kitchen table, your office, your patio, or what have you. So try to find a place. Try to find a bit of a routine. Even if you work full time. You know, what I'm talking about is, you know, 400 words a day that's eating your avocado toast and drinking your coffee and writing something out.


Ray Hartjen: And if it's a memoir, if it's a nonfiction book, if it's something that you don't have to make up, the writing should come fairly easy to you. Least the thoughts.


Mike Capuzzi: Great advice. So, Ray, as we wrap up here, I'd love to hear, from your perspective, being a multiple book author, what it has meant to you to be a published book author.


Ray Hartjen: Yeah. You know, and that's, I think, another good question for people to think about. You know, your previous question, it's like, you know, somebody's out there thinking about a book. There are different reasons to write a book. You know? One is, you know, hey, I want to see my name on back of a spine of a book. That's kind of cool. Another one is, if you have a business, if you have a pitch deck for your business, you have a book. Right? And your book adds a degree of credibility to your business, in a way.


Ray Hartjen: Right? You know, it's like, look, I've got a book. It doesn't matter if anybody reads it. It's just like, I got a book. This is what my business is about, you know, check this out. It's like your publishing business. You know, here's a hundred. Here's the 100 page book. You know, this is the pitch deck for our business, right? Then there's, you know, the reason I wrote my book, just wanting to share the story, you know, what it means to me is, you know, I want to be a resource.


Ray Hartjen: You know, like I said, you know, I'm so grateful for the people who have come before me that have helped me, because, you know, it's. You know, I don't want to say, like, I know, but overcome this, you know? You know, there's an amazing obstacle or whatever, but it's. It's a challenge, and it messes with. It messed with my head, and I think it messes with other people. Said, like I said, on the bell shaped curve, I think there's a lot of people like me, right? You know, and, you know, I was helped by so many people, my support group, and the like, and I want to be helpful back. And there's times when I feel great, and so what can I do when I feel good to help somebody who's maybe not feeling so great? Because I know there's going to be times when I don't feel that great, and I need some help, and somebody's behind me, pushing me along or what have you. And so I just wanted to. I feel rewarded.


Ray Hartjen: It makes me feel good when people reach out to me. And this book has allowed me to connect with patients from, well, just this month it was South Africa and New Zealand, two different patients. It was crazy. My wife was in a pet store the other day. My wife talks to everybody. She strikes up a conversation with someone. Next thing you know, subject of me comes up. Subject book comes up.


Ray Hartjen: This woman's like, you know, my stepmother in Utah was just diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and she's reading this book, dot, dot, dot, you can see where this is going, you know, and so, you know, it's rewarding to me. It's. It gives me a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, inner peace, what have you, you know, knowing that, you know, my story can help people, and if it just helps one, that's fine. You know, if it helps five, that's better. You know, if it helps a thousand, that's even better. But, yeah, for me, it's, you know, sharing is much different than the Pittsburgh Steeler book, and immaculate how the Steelers say Pittsburgh, that was wanting to tell a story, you know, and hopefully entertain and educate and do things like that. The second book, you know, it's, you know, let's try to make a difference in some people's lives, however little it can be, and let's try to raise some money and fight this disease, get advanced treatments, maybe one day a cure, and then, you know, once we cure multiple myeloma, let's go cure some other stuff.


Mike Capuzzi: Ray, how can our listeners learn more about you? I know you shared wherever fine books are sold, but is there a best place they can grab your book?


Ray Hartjen: Yeah, you know, it doesn't matter where you buy the book, as long as you buy the book. So, yeah, wherever fine books are sold, you can reach out to me at my website. That's my name, rayharchin.com. and that's all my social properties as well, except for TikTok, for whatever reason. I'm Ray Hartjen, five, at TikTok. You know, I was late to the TikTok game. I'm pretty sure there's not four other. I'm sure my fat thumbs pushed the wrong button or whatever.


Ray Hartjen: But, yeah, I was on a podcast little while ago, and a guy said, you need a TikTok. And I'm like, well, I don't know. You know, I don't dance. I'm not, you know, twenties like, that's not what TikTok is, man. You got a message, and there's going to be people that can hear that. And so anyways, I also learned a lesson from a writer in San Diego. His name is Bob Goff. First book of his I read was love does.


Ray Hartjen: And Bob puts his phone number in his book and I think thought that was so cool. In fact, I called him once, he was in Africa, and he picked up, and I'm like, you know what? That's pretty cool. So I put my phone number, my email address, me, myself in my multiple myeloma. If you are a patient, if you are a caregiver, if you're an ally, if there's ever anything I can do for you, sincerely, reach out to me. My email address is rayhartchinmail.com dot. You can also hit me@rayhartchin.com dot. And then all those social properties, Twitter x, Instagram, Facebook, et cetera. It's Ray Hartjen.


Ray Hartjen: I'd be happy to talk to you about multiple myeloma. My experience, whatever you'd like to talk about, it's a passion of mine to be of service to others, particularly the stakeholders that are involved with multiple myeloma.


Mike Capuzzi: Ray, well, I appreciate your time today. Thank you very much.


Ray Hartjen: I appreciate the opportunity. Mike, I love what you're doing over there, and I appreciate and grateful for your time and your listeners time. Thank you so much.