3/8 – You Look Great

I just got back yesterday from a week long trip to Newport Beach for a work meeting. One of the things about having cancer is everyone always tells you “You look great!” I don’t know if they really mean it or its something they are supposed to say or what. I mean, come on, I have a limited palette to work with here in the first place! I sometimes think that because I have cancer people are expecting me to walk around with a face mask on pushing an IV in front of me as I walk. Yes, I have cancer but its a manageable cancer. Not CURABLE but MANAGEABLE.

One of the great things about this trip was the chance to spend time with my colleagues. I work with the absolute best in the industry. Not only are they great men and women but they are very talented. I was asked to do a presentation for the group. The opportunity to do that is one of the great joys of the week. I LOVE to COMPETE so any chance to prove that I can not only do this job but do it well gets me going like you wouldn’t believe. Hopefully I didn’t embarrass myself during that segment.

When I am in COMPETE mode the cancer goes away in my mind. Just hanging out with our team helps me forget the fatigue, the pain and the fact that I am sick. I was in the gym every morning. I went go-carting (not a great idea for me by the way) and I even had a glass of wine.

***side note here – When you are only having one glass of wine you don’t feel so bad that you just got charged $30.00 for a glass of Cabernet. Welcome to Newport Beach everyone! ***

Even so – the more I put cancer out of my mind – it DOESN’T GO AWAY. As I mentioned, it’s always there and it seems to pop up when you least expect it.

Upon my diagnosis back in December I spent countless hours on the Internet reading about how soon I was going to die. I spent hours surfing the web looking for hope, positivity or survival stories. The very first hopeful message I found was a blog written by a guy named Matt. It’s called Matt vs. Myeloma and you can find it here:

www.mattvsmyeloma.com

This was the very first thing I read that gave me HOPE. I instantly felt like Matt was my friend AND I HAD NEVER EVEN MET HIM! I found him on Twitter and in the last three months Matt has been a source of encouragement in my battle. GUESS WHAT – Matt lives in California! I got to meet him FACE TO FACE. We spent an hour together and I was struck by how calm and matter of fact he was about Myeloma. He is now approaching two years and he looks great (no IV or mask – get it?)

We talked about medicine, about stem cell transplant (he did not have one) and about the similarities and differences in our presentations. You see, every case is different with Myeloma. But then again – we are also all the same. Matt is like me in a way. I’m not much into support groups. Matt said he went to one and it was just a big bitch session. No interest. Matt put me on the right track back in December. It was great to meet him face to face.

At the cocktail reception that night I was explaining to one of my clients about my cancer when another client from Oregon mentioned that his friend had just started Chemo for a blood or bone cancer but he forgot what it was called. As i described my disease it became apparent that his friend had Myeloma. You see, it just pops up when you least expect it.

I don’t know if Multiple Myeloma is more prevalent now than it was before or I am just more aware of it because I have it. In any event, as I mentioned a few days ago, March is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month. This INCURABLE cancer is beginning to afflict people at a much younger age than ever before. The chemo drugs are working really well in most cases and are extending life expectancies dramatically and from what I understand a cure is attainable.

So before I really start to ramble – if you see me around – tell me I look GREAT. But only tell me that if its true. If you see me around – don’t expect I will be attached to an IV. I am LIVING, WORKING and COMPETING – EVERY DAY.

#bradstrong

6 responses to “3/8 – You Look Great

  1. Thank you Brad, I cant tell you how you look but your picture looks pretty good, not as good as Helene or Victors but not bad.
    I will tell you one thing though, straight from my heart, you inspire me.
    Hang tough and strong, you are making a difference. RichieP.

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  2. I just LOVE reading all your blogs!!
    Can’t wait to see you in Florida and see how GREAT you look!!

  3. Hi Brad, I like your blog and your fighting spirit. It is the only way to deal with this %$#^ing condition. I am a Jersey guy too (born Glen Ridge) and live in Haddonfield, near Cherry Hill. I was dx. in 2011 at age 49 out-of-the-blue after a routine blood test. I have a wife and two boys and also coach Little league. My wife coaches soccer. I just finished a carfilzomib trial for newly diagnosed without transplant at the NIH in Bethesda, MD. It worked great and now I am only on maintenance. My stem cells are stored for a day I trust will never come.I feel great physically and am super positive about the future. So is my doctor at the NIH. I have heard of your doctor too. He has a great reputation. I will continue to follow your story and I expect you to kick ass! If you have time, drop me an email. Regards. Terry

  4. We’ll spoke. I’m day 39 from sct and I’m sleeping like shit! But apparently I look great! It’s tough to talk about the disease and tough to gauge others reactions. Yesterday I got the first sort of back handed compliment as I hadn’t invited someone to an event. There were groups I didn’t invite as I didn’t want to ask them for money. I didn’t keep it secret but I also didn’t market to that group. And this guy was a bit peeved. I apologized and moved on.

    It’s a great stance and thought process you have. Need to keep the glass half full as someone will be watching that needs to see that (as you were to Matt)

    Cheers. Bill

  5. It was awesome having you in Newport Beach – especially getting to cheers Bradstrong with that $30 glass of wine!

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