How fun to write 1.9.19
9 Years with Myeloma
9 Years surviving Myeloma
9 Years of Myeloma Treatments
9 Years I Never Thought I'd Have
In Myelomaville, 9 years is a BIG DEAL!!!
I have 999999999 zillion thoughts to share... on so many levels, about so many things... but I will edit my thoughts and be back in 9 seconds, or 9 minutes or 9 hours to finish posting :))
So here we are, January 2019. We've rolled the calendar over to a fresh new year. But just think,... how many have already received, or experienced life changing news or events in just 9 days of the New Year. 9 years ago, I was reeling from my new Myeloma diagnosis. Our lives are just so "fragile", and can change in seconds. Good change. Bad change. When life is flowing along, I don't think many of us give potential "tragedy" significant thought. We just don't think "bad things" can happen to us. We're aware of terrible things, events and challenges that happen to "everyone else", but we often think we're immune. We don't personalize the "What If". We carry on, presumptuously, safely, robotically, with our daily lives. Doing, planning, going, expecting, assuming. Assuming what was, what is, will continue to be. Then boom! Suddenly our lives are forever changed. Something, somewhere, to someone close to us, or to us, happens. Then life is never the same. Never ever the same, ever again.
No matter how carefully we plan, how well we take care of ourselves and our loved ones, "something" is bound to happen. That's just life. I've learned tragedy, challenges and heartbreak are the "norm". Life is not Unicorns, Rainbows and Rivers of Glitter. Life is Hard. Life is Challenges. Life is Pain. Life is Being Tested all the Time. No matter how much we think we can control outcomes, ultimately, we cannot. Perhaps because I was a Counselor/Advisor all my adult life, I felt a greater ability to affect outcomes and destinations. I was a healer, helper, facilitator, eye opener, dream creator. I inspired, lead, questioned, proposed, and helped others see themselves and life's potentials clearly. I opened doors and windows of opportunity for anyone that was willing to work for their dreams and goals. I always felt hope for everyone and everything. I always believed "if there's a will, there's a way". I was the eternal optimist. I believed awareness, change, options, choices, education, gave one unlimited, limitless possibilities. Possibilities to rise above. Rise above pain, disappointment, tragedy.
But tragedy always happens. In our little worlds, and the big world. Do you know anyone that's immune? Do you know anyone that hasn't experienced some sort of tragedy? Perhaps the older the we get, the more aware we are of how every life is touched by "Something"... It's just a matter of degree, right? How much, how deep, how tragic the tragedies are. My life went from hard work and commitment equaling positivity, happiness and a semblance of control. To a life quite out of control, regarding the health challenges that continue to escalate for me and my husband. No I didn't think I was immune, but I just never thought what I am currently living, would be my life.
9 years ago, I went from thinking I was overall healthy, to a terminal cancer diagnosis. I went from thinking I had control over my life, my body, my future, to learning I basically had little control over much of anything any more. Why I am still here today is a combination of medical science and medical miracles, with a dash a good luck, and internal organs that have been able to withstand 9 years of myeloma treatment. Why I am still here, is absolutely amazing to me! I am grateful and appreciative beyond words. But being here still, has been an incredible challenge.
9 years of myeloma treatment. 9 years of being sick. 9 years of wondering if and when, I'll run out of options. 9 years of never feeling "normal". 9 years, always aware my body is full of cancer. 9 years of an internal fight. My body trying to kill me, as medical science tries to outwit ever morphing cancer cells. Seriously, if you are not on this type of journey yourself, wrap your head around that. I still can't. 9 years of various combinations of treatments: chemo, immunotherapies, pills, injections, shots, medications, etc. And a Stem Cell Transplant. And alllllllllll the crazy side effects, completely ambushing my life. I can't fully wrap my little head around everything I've been through and continue to go through, to stay alive.
But I am Alive. Alive and still up for the fight. It's a daily fight, but I'll fight as long as there are options to treat me with, that allow me some level of Quality of Life.
Currently, since late September, I have been on a weekly cocktail of:
40mg Dexamethasone steroids, paired with Velcade shots in the belly, paired with 400mg of Cyclophosmamide-Cytoxan chemo pills. This happens every Monday. 10 steroid pills, 1 shot, 8 chemo pills, all in one day! How can the body handle that? Just amazing what medical science has figured out to kill cancer cells, but not kill us in the process. Well, me at least. The treatments haven't killed me, they've successfully killed myeloma off and on for 9 years!
My status labs are next week, and I'll find out the effectiveness of this treatment at my next Dr appointment on January 21.
Meanwhile, tragically, my husband Jim continues to decline with Alzheimer's. I'm not sure which is worse. Terminal, incurable cancer, with treatment 24 7 for life, or having one's brain slowly betray you, stealing your ability to analyze, do critical thinking, creating complete confusion about life's vital tasks that should Not be confusing. Complete confusion, disorientation, about things we all take for granted. I knew Jim would age ahead of me, and become "old" before me, but I never thought such a talented, incredibly capable man would have his functionality stolen away from him, as is happening to him daily, weekly. My brain thinks for 2 now. My broken body, has taken over so much, as his breaks down more. The biological trickery is crazy to witness. The brain confusing that which should not be, never was, confusing. We are living a very fragile fine line, that if either of us loses mobility, life as we know it, will never ever be the same. But I remain ever grateful for the wonderful life we had, and to a degree, still have. I am ever grateful and thankful for the wonderful insurance we have, that allows for treatment of our ridiculous situations. I am forever grateful for all the wonderful, supportive loving people in our lives. As awful as things are, they could be so much worse. I am appreciative, grateful, blessed in so many ways.