August 05, 2015

On Top Of The World!

    It has been six and a half years since I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.  Three and a half years since I finished treatment and maintenance, and 7 months since I was finally able to get off all pain medication.  Over the past several months I have felt new life and energy returning to my body!   
          On Top of the World

 It feels so good to feel so good!   No pain! No fatigue!  No treatment!  I actually have energy!!  I wake up every morning excited to start a new day.  Believe it or not, I actually get excited to clean my house (my son is thrilled!)
Last week the opportunity came to hike the "Y." This is a large painted letter Y. It is made of concrete and is 380 feet high and 130 feet wide near the top of the mountain 
above Brigham Young University.
 This popular hike is not very long but it is fairly steep with 12 different switchbacks rising over 1000ft in elevation. Even though I had a cold, I jumped at the opportunity to check this off my "bucket list." I was lucky to have two of my sons come with me.

      I had no idea how much this hike would affect me when I started out early Tuesday morning.
With each step, memories of my past "mountain climbing" experiences with Multiple Myeloma came flooding into my mind and occasionally dripping down my cheeks. I recalled a post I wrote on January 12, 2009 titled, "Shaking out my Shoes."
Many of the feelings and thoughts I had when I started this journey were vividly symbolized with each step I took up "Y" mountain.  I recalled these words;
    "Sometimes when you climb mountains you have to take time out to sit down in the dirt and shake the rocks, pebbles, and sand out of your shoes. Sometimes while I am climbing this mountain I have to "shake out my shoes," with a box of kleenex by my side. This is a pretty steep mountain and there are times when I don't feel like taking another step. Sometimes this upward climb becomes more of a mental than a physical challenge."
      This trek was harder than I had envisioned and my view of the "Y" disappeared within the first few hundred feet of the hike.  It wasn't long before I had to stop, catch my breath, and take a sip of water.  The higher I climbed, the harder my heart started beating and the more often I had to stop and rest along the trail.  I watched young children and older adults pass me with ease.   I had to remind myself this isn't a race and I am not competing with anyone else on the trail but myself.
       As the incline increased I grabbed onto the strap of one of my son's backpack.  I found this helped keep me moving a little further between breaks.  Eventually I hooked my elbows between both my sons and hiked up the rest of the path to our destination.  We were rewarded with a beautiful view of the valley.  I was overcome with emotion that I was able to accomplish something that a few years ago I thought might never happen.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude that my body has healed and my life has been blessed with more time to enjoy with my friends and family.

     I once again realized that I can't climb my mountain alone.  Just as I a leaned on my sons to help me climb to the "Y," -my family, friends, and my faith in God help me keep going.  I can't compare myself to others and where they are on the trail.  Their steep places are not mine and the rocks that I may stumble on and grow from may be a "walk in the park," for them.  
      Sometimes I can't see where a path will lead or when a trial/trail may end.  That is the time when I need to stop, take a drink of water, gather strength from those around me and take another step knowing that God is bigger than any mountain I may have to climb and with His help no matter what challenges any of us face if we are willing to keep moving upward He will bless us.  

By the way I'm writing this from the hospital.  I had labs, a PET scan, and now an Aredia (bone hardening) infusion.  I have had plenty of time to write.  After waiting a half hour for the medication to come from the pharmacy, the nurse started the two hour infusion and the pump started beeping 30 minutes later.  When she came over to check it out, she stepped in a puddle of Aredia dripping off of the tube by my recliner.  Apparently she had forgotten to hook up the line and I was just getting saline.  So she had to order it again. She was embarrassed, but no harm done as long as I don't have to pay for that puddle!  Four hours later I'm finally headed home just in time for rush hour traffic.  
Gotta love it.  It makes for an interesting day to what has become my three/six month routine.


Anonymous said...

Great attitude and great pictures from the mountain. The song puts you in the mood for the rest of your article. I don't actually think you have to be 'on top of the world', you just have to want to get there and try. You will surprise yourself with what you can do.
Keep it up.

Craig said...

On second thought, if you 'think' you are on top of the world - you are.

I was so inspired by this article I read more in your blog. Like you, I too went through a tandem transplant and am doing real well. I would have enjoyed your blog as I was going through the transplants. Your knowledge and perspective were spot on. I wish there was some way to alert newly diagnosed MM patients of your blog. It would help a lot.
I'm less than a year from my second transplant and I'm not on maintenance because I had a great response and I have severe neuropathy (not too painful, just loss of feeling) and we don't want it to get worse.
I love the analogy of having to sit and clear out your shoes of sand and pebbles. I've done my share of that too.
I want you to know you helped inspire me to ride 25 minutes on the exercise bike this morning. I haven't done that in over two years. With the compressed vertebrae and delayed diagnosis and all.
Keep taking those steps.

Julie said...

Hi Kris! So great to read your wonderful post and hear about all your MM and life successes! I am so happy to read about your treatment success and how great your are feeling and doing! Enjoy every sec and congrats on 6.5 years! You're a year ahead of me, and I hope to be where you are in a year! Love your hiking adventure with your sons! MM can't hold you back, and I am thrilled to see how fantastic you are doing Kris! Keep it up, and please continue to post :) Love and hugs, Julie :)

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