New Year’s Blessings

And, Happy “Birthday” to me! Today marks two months since my transplant day. It’s hard to believe it’s been two months since I felt so miserable – it both seems like so much longer ago and also like it was just last week. I’ve been struggling a lot lately with fatigue, and thinking back on just how completely wiped out I was during my transplant is jarring when I think to myself, “Man, I’m tired.” now. It’s important to remember the degrees – that, comparatively speaking, I’m really in great shape. Yeah, I wake up every morning in pain, joints stiff and aching, usually sweaty, and just generally feeling shitty. But still, compared to two months ago, I’m in incredible shape. Likewise, so many other transplant patients fight the lingering effects of transplant much more severely than I have, and (hopefully) for much longer. It’s important to remember perspective, TBP, and the blessings I have been given.

It’s funny to speak of blessings. I was just ruminating earlier on what a challenging year 2012 was for me. It started out with me in pain (I literally sat with a heating pad on my shoulder at my friends’ New Year’s party last year). April is when I went to the eye doctor and found out that the stye in my eye was actually a tumor. May was the month of my bone marrow biopsy, scan after scan, eye surgery, and diagnosis with MM. June began chemo and radiation to my eye, which ended in July. August/September brought appointments with the transplant team in San Antonio, along with more tests and another bone marrow biopsy. October was the great month of pre-transplant anxiety. I “got” to sign a form that said, if you get your transplant chemo and fail to complete transplantation, you will die. Then the “chemo of death” and transplant spanning the end of October and early November (that part’s pretty blurry). Mid November I was hospitalized (the first time through all of this) with a cold that almost killed me. The last month or so of the year I have, relatively speaking, been quite healthy and well. Fatigue and pain, but that may just be my new normal.

And yet,  in spite of it all, I am blessed. And, ironically, it is because of it all that I am so conscious of these blessings. I am blessed to have access to health care. That it is even possible for me to look forward to the longer term future and what I might still want to do with my life. I am blessed to have my family; alive, well, and close to me to help me face all of these terrifying events (and to keep me from running away from them). I am incredibly blessed to have a world full of friends who have and will go out of their way to reach out to me, to pray for me, to send wonderful cards and support gifts, and to just love me. My friends are my world, and if they are the only real legacy I leave behind, whenever I do leave this earth, then that makes me feel good. It reminds me that I have lived a good life. That I am a good person. And that that goodness has been rewarded in kind with the best people being placed in my path, and I have luckily been aware of the fortunate opportunity I have had to keep them beside me.

So, I could this New Year wish for an end to cancer. For a cure for my disease. Or even a long remission that gives me some respite from the daily reminders that I have incurable cancer. But, life is full of challenges and obstacles. Terrible ones. They happen everyday to people from all walks of life. They are a part of life. So, rather than wish for an end to the very things that remind us how blessed we are, I’m wishing instead for the blessings I already have to continue. That no matter what I may have to face in my life, I continue to have the fiercest family and friends standing and fighting right beside me through it. I wish it for you, too.

Peace and love this New Year. And blessings. Blessings to us all.

Sue

One of my blessings, who shaved her head for me in a show of solidarity.

One of my blessings, who shaved her head for me in a show of solidarity.

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6 Responses

  1. I love you Sue!!!

  2. Thanks for your post, Sue! My mom is going to have a bone marrow transplant in a month and a half. We will keep reading your blog in the upcoming year for inspiration and to share the journey. (I’m shaving my head in solidarity too!) If you don’t mind, I’m going to post your blog on the multiple myeloma awareness facebook page. Happy New Year!

    • Absolutely, Miranda! Best wishes to you and your mom. I highly recommend a book called Stem Cell Transplants from the Patient’s Perspective by Pat Killingsworth as a pre-read to the transplant process. It really helped me a lot. Please keep me posted on you and your mother’s journey.

      Sue

      • Thanks for the recommendation! We will get that asap. If we start a blog (I’m trying to get her to start one!) we will definitely share it with you. Sending you strength and energy!
        -Miranda
        ps. Here is the link to the MM facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Multiple-Myeloma-Awareness/138589439497486?fref=ts

      • Miranda,

        The author of the book, Pat Killingsworth, is a patient as well as medical writer. He wrote medical articles prior to his MM diagnosis, and now dedicates all of his time speaking to groups, attending conferences and seminars with Myeloma doctors from around the world, and writing. His blog is very informative and almost always positive, and provides “outside” looks at MM, current research, patient profiles, as well as his own perspective from within his journey with it. He is also just a great guy – I emailed him when my nerves got the better of me prior to my transplant and he replied within a day and really set me at ease.

        http://multiplemyelomablog.com/ (you can get the book through his site)

        Also, when I say I felt “miserable” above, please understand that it’s all relative. Overall, my transplant experience was actually very easy. The only real “problem” I faced was the fatigue, and that passed very quickly. Is your mother going auto or allo on her transplant (self vs. donor)? The book really is a great tool, and provides insight from both sides of the procedure – all from patients. Feel free to ask me more questions if you have them. I may not be able to answer them all, but as I have been on this road a while I’m sure I can at least point you to someone who can.

        Sue

  3. Sue, thank you for this post! I have been feeling really bad and lately and, frankly, very sorry for myself. My thought process has been along the lines of, “What’s the point? Why bother?”

    Your post, and your incredible attitude and bravery opened my eyes and incourages me to work hard to turn my own attitude around to something more positive and to remind myself of all the reasons to “bother”! THANK YOU!

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