8/10/14 – Strength

Picking up where we left off last week …

When we last left I dropped Victor off at baseball camp, did my presentation at the conference and then drove back to NYC for treatment Monday and Tuesday. The week only got busier.

Long story short – I haven’t had chemo infusions for a long while. Everything has either been oral (Pomalyst) or a shot (Velcade) so I wasn’t prepared for the inevitable bloating from the Carfilzomib I went back to receiving. I felt horrible on Wednesday – not to mention the EXCRUCIATING back pain I was in. The back pain has gotten so horrible that if I am sleeping four hours a night it is a gift. I literally have to wake up and sit up at the side of the bed every 60-90 minutes because it hurts too much to lie down. What the … ?

But we aren’t going to let a little Cancer slow is down now are we … ? OF COURSE NOT!

Thursday night Helene and I drove back down to Baltimore to pick Victor up at camp where he won the RIP award – for RESPECT, INTEGRITY AND PERFORMANCE ON THE FIELD.

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During one of of my sleepless hours in the hotel Thursday night, I read a bunch of articles that spoke about back pain – EXCRUCIATING back pain – being a side effect of Pomalyst. The interesting thing is that my back feels fine during the day but about an hour or two after taking the Pomalyst it starts to hurt and by bedtime it gets intense. OK … a silver lining … the pain could be attributed to the medicine working and getting me better. I will take it. I will await the MRI results Monday to confirm.

BUT – no slowing down for us. We spent three days with a film crew this weekend making a short film for the MMRF. I don’t want to give it away but I was selected to be the subject of a short film about Myeloma, Myeloma patients and the great work of the MMRF. It is a big time project with lots of ambition which will debut (I think) at their gala fundraiser in early November.

The subject of my film is STRENGTH. We filmed all over town. Our house, the JCC, Kehler, the barber shop, the baseball fields and then spent Saturday morning in Manhattan on the subways. It was cool being followed around New York City by a camera crew for the morning. I felt like a TV star.

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STRENGTH not only refers to my drive and determination but to the STRENGTH and support I receive from family, friends and colleagues along my journey. The film is being woven through THE ROCKS. For those who don’t know about THE ROCKS, please click here to read about the amazing strength and support my community gave me as I headed in for my stem cell transplant last January.

STRENGTH is everything to me. We changed some things last minute on the film schedule as the director decided he wanted some shots of our fabulous friends and community. On our way home from Baltimore he called us and asked us to invite some friends over for a barbecue and swim in our backyard. I guess he heard about my grilling prowess and the Coustan raves that get thrown every weekend at our house in the summer. OBVIOUSLY A BIG PART OF OUR LIVES. Our friends came out in droves to take part in the scene. The director was amazed that our community rose up at the last minute to help out. But seriously – you can’t make a movie about us without a scene of me at the grill, right?

Best part of the night? Dr. R (Center for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine) brought over his full size heating mat for me to lay on the bed and sleep on. OH MY FREAKIN’ GD! I feel so much better at night now. Actually getting in the full six hours!

So … let’s recap the week: Two trips to Baltimore, Chemo, MMRF film shoot, BBQ and a Yankees game with the family. All with back pain that would sideline an ordinary man. Today (Sunday) we have a birthday party for my brother in law and then I have the first of six fantasy football drafts I am in.

Oh … and by the way … I was the leading money raiser for my company this week. Not too shabby.

One more by the way … I put out two articles on fantasy football for FakeTeams.com as well. Even if you don’t like football, I think you will enjoy this one:

http://www.faketeams.com/2014/8/6/5973339/for-the-love-of-the-game

Is that all you’ve got Cancer? That’s it?

STRENGTH. I’ve got it. But it comes from all of you. The ROCKS. The ROCKS keep me supported, grounded, motivated and feeling loved by everyone who stands with me (us) in our battle.

STRENGTH. Sometimes it comes in unexpected ways. When the film crew dropped me off yesterday to go meet the family at the Yankee game, the director gave me a hug, shook my hand and placed this inside it. We will add it to the rock jar. One more stepping stone toward remission.

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2 responses to “8/10/14 – Strength

  1. Brad, You “rock”! Your strength and determination not to let cancer define you I spires me everyday. I admire your ability to openly bare your soul on paper. I am anxiously awaiting the debut of your film. BTW, my friend Pat, is also experiencing extreme back pain from Pom.

    Warm hugs, Cindy

  2. You are amazing. I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED YOUR MOM… BUT WE ARE SO GLAD TO HAVE MET YOU IN PERSON AND SEEN THE STRENGTH OF YOUR COURAGE AND YOUR BEAUTIFUL FAMILY. I only wish you well. Ira and I will be there whenever we can! Rock on !

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