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:
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.