Mayor starts cancer treatment

Mayor Kelly Boyd began chemotherapy treatment Wednesday, less than a week after doctors confirmed his cancer diagnosis and one day before his 69th birthday.

"It took 25 minutes, and it went well," Boyd said Thursday. "I am feeling fine."

Boyd publicly announced the diagnosis of Stage 2 Multiple Myeloma, commonly called cancer of the blood cells, at the beginning of the City Council meeting Tuesday. He had informed council members of the diagnosis at the closed session prior to the meeting.

He said he has no intension of resigning.

"The council has great things coming up this year — the skateboard park, the view ordinance — and I am going to be part of every one of those," Boyd said.

Boyd received a standing ovation after his announcement.

"The response was very gratifying," a touched Boyd said.

Boyd's wife, Michelle, and his daughter, Kirsten Rugg, were in the audience Tuesday. Boyd's son, Sean, has been commuting from his Northern California home to accompany his father on visits to the doctor.

Others in the audience included close friends who had been told of the diagnosis Sunday at a gathering at Boyd's home.

"No friggin' way am I quitting," Boyd told his guests. "I have too many things to accomplish and that includes organizing the ninth annual Spring Classic Golf Tournament that raises money for six local charities."

He is also looking forward to appearing in the 2014 "Lagunatics."

Michelle Boyd, human resources manager for the Laguna Beach County Water District, said cancer does not run in her husband's large family, but he is a veteran of the Vietnam conflict where Agent Orange was used.

In researching multiple myeloma, she learned that veterans who served in Vietnam do not have to prove a connection between their cancer and the herbicide to receive medical benefits.

"He amazes me with how positive and upbeat he is," Michelle Boyd said.

This is just one more hurdle for Boyd.

In July and October of last year, he underwent back surgery, during which his vocal cord was nicked. He was thin and his voice raspy during the period after surgery, but in recent months Boyd had regained some of the lost weight and his voice.

"Ironically, people have been telling me lately how much better I look and sound," Boyd said.

A nagging and escalating pain in his right shoulder sent Boyd back to the doctor in late December. He was urged to revisit his orthopedic surgeon after a vacation, from which he returned tanned and relaxed.

"We didn't have a clue," Boyd said. "We thought it was arthritis or bursitis."

His surgeon ordered tests, conducted Jan. 10. Results came back Jan. 29, and the cancer was confirmed Feb. 7.

Most of the guests at the Sunday gathering were unaware of Boyd's health problems until his announcement.

"He wanted to personally tell as many as possible," Michelle Boyd said.

Friends who were unable to attend the gathering were privately informed, including former Mayor Jane Egly, with whom Boyd had forged a close relationship during her two terms on the council.

"Before he told Jane, he handed her a $1 bill and said now we have attorney client privilege," Michelle Boyd said.

All were sworn to secrecy until he made his public announcement Tuesday.

"You did a courageous thing tonight," said Councilman Bob Whalen. "We are with you 100%."

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