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.


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.


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:)


carolyn said...

You are my hero! You did it. I am so excited for you to start feeling better, and you will, I promise. It will take a while, but even for me now each day brings a little less pain and a little more energy. I am starting to feel somewhat "normal". Every time I go to the clinic I hope to run into you, but so far no luck. I bet you are so excited to become a grandma. It is the best thing ever!
Take Care.

Anonymous said...

Wow, my husband and I are leaving for WY in a couple of weeks. Have been struggling with where to stay. As a fellow MM'er, was wondering if you had a lodging recommendation for the area you stayed in Star Valley or any place else in the area.
We do not put off traveling any more.

Melinda said...

My friend,
I am so happy that your treatment is almost over. You did it!!! You are my hero so strong and positive.
Looking forward to seeing you next month.
Take Care
Love Ya

Julie said...

Hi Kris- very inspiring post! You've said a lot of what I feel... but you have endured so much more than me! Ugh... and I've been whinning about what I've been thru. Cannot imagine being as strong as you, enduring the treatment regimen that you have! You are amazing! Glad I dropped by your page :) Take care, rest well, hang in there Kris. Thank you! Julie

Kristine said...

Hi Anonymous,
You will love Star Valley! My ancestors settled the valley and we are fortunate to have family property and a cabin there. It is in the very south end of the valley on Hwy 89. You can see the entrance on the east side with a gate and sign the reads "Kirkland's Cedar Creek Ranch." The valley is long and narrow with Atfon being main "city." to the North is Jackson Hole- A tourist and ritzy Hangout. and then about two to three hours north of there is Yellowstone Park. I will do a little research on lodging and ask some relatives who live there for their advice for you. Please email me so I can give you more details. Would love to help you. my email is oh here is a great site with a video about Star Valley.

Fourteenth Year Cancerversary

              My husband and I at my 40th High School Reunion.                                                    Am I seriously that old?! ...