11-22-2009 turned the big 5-0... then one month later...
12-30-2009 officially diagnosed with Myeloma
11-22-2013 made it 4 years since cancer invaded!!!
So on this 4 years post-diagnosis-Myeloma-is-now-back-birthday, I can't help reflecting a bit on Myeloma's impact on my life... (I probably bore you with all my reflections lately!) Truly, I have always been a very positive and optimistic person. Cancer hasn't really changed that very much. Those that really know me, know this. I am basically the same Julie I was all my life, just a bit tamer, more tired and fatigued now, and honesty... more limited in overall mental and physical energy. Tamer also, as I am not quite as sarcastic and hilarious as I used to be. Cancer took a bit of my silliness and frivolity away :(
Many question how I can stay so optimistic, positive and happy (not to mention, still working), under current out of remission status. ... which leads me to a funny sidebar here: when people who haven't seen me in a while ask, "How Are You Julie", and I reply, "ok, .... but not sure if you know, ... I am out of remission now?" Often, sadly-funny, their reply is, "Oh that's WONDERFUL news, so glad to hear this!".... Huh???!!! ... oh boy!!!, they must have totally misunderstood what I said, and completely missed the context of "OUT". Most often, I just let it pass by, and giggle internally to myself, as I know they would be mortified if they knew the mistake they made! But if the moment allows, I say... "I don't think you heard me correctly... "my cancer is BACK, and I am OUT of remission" ... blah blah ... and they are then horrified of their mistake... we laugh, chat and "air" hug.
Anyway, back to what I was jabbering about... so on this 4-years post cancer diagnosis birthday, I am still positive, happy, optimistic and very much alive, and living in the moment as much as I can! (Especially since I took my Dex steroids a few hours ago! wwhhhhheeeeeeee my heart is pounding and I think my head is going to blow right off my brain stem!!!)
What HAS changed since my cancer diagnosis and current OUT of remission status?
I no longer try to be all things to all people.
I am ok now saying, NO thank you. Not easy at all for me, but I have much clearer boundaries now.
I no longer have the Julie-can-do-it-ALL-agenda.
Less is more for sure now... what little I do now, is big!
I no longer feel the need to accomplish everything and appear to be handling everything.
I have given away power and control and truly live today, for today, and I am a bit more me-oriented.
I am not trying to be wonder-woman anymore.
I don't get a lot accomplished every day... and I am learning, that's ok.
Have another cup of herb tea Jules!
|ha ha! posted to my facebook by a dear friend of mine!|
I don't like not being ok, I really dislike feeling sick all the time... but I have little control of that now.
If I don't feel well, I don't push myself.
I no longer feel like an incompetent loser if I don't do it all on the home-front or work-front
I used to impact a lot of students per day... a lot!
If I impact one or two or a few, that's ok... I still matter in this world.
I stay in bed longer, if I feel like it
I stay in PJs-lounge-clothes longer (like now :)
I don't always do "full make up"
I sit and gaze and contemplate more, and process life more, and philosophize more, and think about the what if this, what if that, a lot more now.
Some people don't like my reference to a "Bucket List", but I think it's kinda funny. And I am all about funny! Lists and goals are healthy and forward thinking! I really am making a list... and it's not the list most of you would think of when thinking about an "accomplish before you're gone list". Mine is comprised of simple things. Simple pleasures, simple goals, simple activities, simple events, simple fun, living life today. I don't need chaos, complications, challenges or being featured on the 6:00 o'clock news.
Seriously, NO MORE CHALLENGES for sure!!
Hello Myeloma... did you hear me... I said NO MORE CHALLENGES!!!
And did I mention... I CHOSE to NOT begin all the meds until AFTER 11/22 ! I just wanted one more day of semi pretend normalcy... but ha! Dex you are already making me crazy right now!
Thank you for reading and caring and posting heart-warming, funny and supportive comments xoxo
Here's a simplified, but great explanation of MM:
What is multiple myeloma?Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood. It affects the part of your bone called bone marrow. Your blood is produced in your bone marrow, which is made up of many different types of cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma cells.
A plasma cell is a type of white blood cell that normally produces antibodies to fight infections. Patients with multiple myeloma have cancerous plasma cells, also called myeloma cells, which replace and form tumors in bones and, occasionally, in various soft tissues of the body. Myeloma cells may also prevent the bone marrow from making enough red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
How multiple myeloma may affect youMyeloma cells multiply quickly and can build up in the bone marrow. When they do, they prevent bone marrow from making enough blood cells for the body to fight infection and other diseases. Prior to diagnosis, patients with multiple myeloma may experience a number of symptoms that lead them to seek medical attention. However, some patients may not have any symptoms or their symptoms may be vague. Multiple myeloma is often discovered as a result of laboratory testing or diagnostic imaging performed for other reasons, such as a routine blood test.
Common signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma include:
- Bone pain and broken bones
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness and tiredness
- Frequent infections
- Nervous system problems