August 21, 2010

The Chemo party is Closed!!

Time to celebrate!
Thursday was my last "Chemo Party" for Hopefully a verrrrrrry lonnnnnnng timmmmme!
Like I explained in my last post, this has been

Almost two years of this grueling pace.

This life changing,

life preserving,

completely consuming journey.

I could not have done this without the expertise, and encouragement from the team at my oncologist's office.

Jamie and Kelly, the nurses have been wonderful. Not only are they skilled at what they do, but they have become friends throughout this journey.
We feel very fortunate to be in the care of Dr. Nathan Rich. He is my local oncologist. He works closely with the Multiple Myeloma specialist at Huntsman. He is very "down to earth" and takes his time to answer our questions and just visit. He has been my ally through this rigorous treatment. Really helping make the right decisions for me and weighing out the options. I have been having most of my infusions at his office and then meeting with the "MM bigwigs" in Salt Lake once a month. I really value his expertise, wisdom, and kindness.
I will continue to see him and receive Aredia-a bone hardening infusion every two months.
I am so grateful for the care I have received from these amazing people and the miracles of modern medicine!
p.s. and you asked how did I celebrate? I went home, ate cake and had a three hour nap.

August 17, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

A few pictures from the last few weeks
We went to a family reunion in Star Valley, Wyoming. It was wonderful! Seventy people attended for a weekend of horse rides, four-wheeler rides, games, crafts, good food, wonderful family, and a lot of time to relax, visit and enjoy. Having a baby shower for my daughter-in-law. Only three weeks left, but I think she will be earlier. We both feel nine months pregnant! We are both tired and full of anticipation for a new life!
And now for endings........

It’s day 15 cycle 12 of my treatment. This means I have one more shot of velcade-chemo on day 18 and then I am finished with this regimen!!!

That is 12 months of chemo! during this treatment cycle. Twenty-one months since diagnosis. Two autogulous stem cell transplants involving more chemo. For a grand total of twenty-one months of chemo. (More posts to come on this subject.)

Almost two years of this grueling pace.

This life changing,

life preserving,

completely consuming journey.

The beginnings.......

A few weeks ago a doctor asked if she could give my phone number to a woman who was just beginning this journey. I agreed but never did get a phone call from her. I spent some time thinking about what I would tell her. Wow where would I even start. How would I express all of what she would go through. How much could I tell her and what is better left unsaid.

What I knew for sure is that if I could do it she could do it.

Here are just a few of my thoughts.

Take it day by day.

Multiple Myeloma acts differently in every patient.

You will probably get extremely ill.

But it will get better.

Now I deal with extreme fatigue and pain.

Maybe you won’t.

You have to go easy on yourself and let the little things go.

Pray

The dishes will eventually get cleaned.

The floor will eventually get swept.

The cobwebs on the ceiling don’t hurt anybody.

The shower is a great place to cry and sometimes you just have to let it all out.

Try not to isolate yourself.

If you are feeling that way call someone up and ask about how they are doing.

Do something for someone else, thank-you cards, phone calls.

Pray

Nothing takes the place of the support of family and good friends

Many people will be scared of cancer and won’t know what to say or do. Try to understand that and go easy on them. This took me along time to understand.

Seek for spiritual guidance through study and attending your church as much as possible.

I am L.D.S. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and partaking of the Sacrament has become one thing that I try not to miss even if I don’t feel well. The words and meaning of the Sacrament prayer gives me great peace and takes away my pain.

Wow what a life altering journey you are beginning!

We are so blessed to having been diagnosed at this time. As recent as 7-8 years ago there were few options for treatment. Now there are many. With many new drugs in trials and genetic testing starting to be used to specialize treatment to each individual patient.

There is much hope of turning Multiple Myeloma from an incurable cancer to a chronic disease.

This is tough but you can do this! And there will come a day when cancer will not be on your mind every minute of every day. It is definitely still on mine but the frequency will decrease.

Try to look for the happy and simple things in life that bring you joy and cherish every minute of them.

To the woman I have never met who is taking the first steps up this mountain, I wish you the very best. May your transplant and treatment go easy and if not may you have the strength and courage to take another step each day. May you move this mountain by changing your perspective and view of this perilous steep journey as you climb higher; taking the time to get down on your knees and pray for divine help as you overcome the challenges of this climb. You will receive his help.

Please feel free to add your perspectives and comments to my post. So I can track down this new patient and share with her the wisdom of others on this journey and besides (I need to know if anyone is really out there:)

What I Needed Someone to Tell Me

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