Five Years

Five years ago today I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.

I was in a hospital bed, surrounded by family, when Dr. Lee came in and explained what was the problem.  Good thing the family was there - I was so hopped up on morphine that if he had told me that I had a bad cold I would have believed him.

I was checked into the hospital about a week earlier by Dr. So, a neurosurgeon who I had an appointment with to see if he had any ideas as to why my back hurt so bad, and that I could barely walk.  He made me sit in the waiting room for at least two hours, only to put me into a examination room for another 45.  I was livid.  As he explained to me, I wasn't going home - I was checking directly into the hospital, just a short wheelchair ride away.

Tests, morphine, back braces, morphine, physical therapy, morphine, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, morphine, full body x-rays, morphine, CAT scan, and more morphine.  I did everything but poop - because of the morphine.  That glorious event took eleven days, and it was literally like passing a softball.

Looking back, my cancer was so out of the norms that it makes sense that it took so long for them to figure it out.  They started radiation immediately to shrink the tumors on my spine, and the first round worked great.

When I went back to Dr. Lee a week later I told him that over the last 3 days I had lost feeling in 3 of my fingers.  Bad Jim!  MRI again and another round of radiation to kill off the new tumors growing on my spine.

Revlomid, Thalidomide, countless other pills, I eventually stabilized   I walked again, though with peripheral neuropathy I am in constant fear of injury without pain.

The odds are still greatly against me - 70% chance of a return at any time.

There is no 5 year "Cancer Totally Cured" card for MM.  

I look at things differently now - I tend to be a bit more bold and for the most part I don't really give a flying f--- if I piss you off.  If I cut you off for wasting my time, understand that my time horizon is both shorter (or intense) than yours and philosophically more long term (yes, a conundrum).

I keep this blog up to remind myself just how far I have come - and how much further I have to go.

Now I gotta go watch Duck Dynasty...


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