8/20/14 – A New Take On an Old Strategy

As I have gone through the last few weeks of treatment I keep running through my mind all of the different ways I have in my arsenal to beat this darn disease.

I have conventional medicine – chemotherapy, radiation, monitoring, clinical trials, transplants and everything that I am afforded by my doctors, my hospitals and my insurance plan.  Heck – if I could I would even go outside the insurance plan.  Everything – EVERYTHING – modern medicine offers is on the table.

I have alternative medicine – acupuncture, massage, yoga, nutrition, supplements, herbs, coffee enemas (wait – no – I don’t think I am ready for the coffee enema yet) and stress relief through mediation and breathing exercises.

I have love and support – family, friends, colleagues, text messages, comments on the blog, emails, phone calls – all of the ways that my community shows me they care and continue to care about me and my well being.  One friend emails me almost every other day (or at least as often as I put a blog up) and says “I hope I am not bugging you with too many emails.”  NOPE!  You can never bug me – they are the very thing that keeps me fighting and going.

Lastly, I have regularity – family, work, friends, fantasy football, paying bills.  This is the stuff that helps me live my life.  If I don’t get up and go to work, if I don’t continue to write, if I don’t spend that beach time next week with my family or take care of my household responsibilities then Cancer wins.  My life goes on day by day – sometimes as mundane as it is – but it goes on as if it did before Cancer happened.  REGULARITY gives me some sense of control.

BUT – I have to admit.  This round is tough.  Since I started on the high dose Carfilzomib I have been a little more shaky.  I have been a little more tired, edgy and weak.  I haven’t been able to work out because of the back pain (although minor now) that the tissue/mass has caused.  Maybe it is because of the dosage increase or maybe it is because it is my first time back on infusion chemo in about eight months.  OR – maybe my body is just deteriorating.  I notice it.  I move a little slower now.  I move a little more carefully.  I can’t go at things with reckless abandon like I once did.  Now my right hip is beginning to hurt.  Doesn’t hurt so much now but before the Carfilzomib cycle began I couldn’t walk up the stairs without help.  Do I have another spot in the right hip similar to what I had in the left hip upon diagnosis?  I don’t know.  I am going to play it safe though.  Even though I am not in any pain there I am having a PET-CT done on the spot on Friday just to be sure.  Doctors think it just might be that the back mass may be hitting a nerve.  Don’t know.  Gotta play it conservatively and safe.  Need to find out facts not suppositions.

It has been TOUGH.  I had scheduled my entire work week down in South Jersey and Philadelphia this week based on the fact that we had the shore house and I would just work from there for the first week before taking off the second for vacation.  Once I scheduled all of these doctors appointments I cancelled my week down there but I had one appointment I could not cancel.  So – yesterday I woke up (4:30 AM) drove 1 1/2 hours to Cherry Hill for a 7:30 breakfast.  Drove back to the city (NYC) for my back biopsy at 11:30 AM.  Took advantage of some down time and had lunch with a client in NYC.  Went to treatment at 2:00 and then had an MRI with contrast of the back at 5:30.  LONG, LONG, DAY!  I was poked and prodded more times than a tailor’s pin cushion.

As I was sitting (laying) on the table for the biopsy I was taking to the doctor during the procedure (they didn’t put me under which he probably regretted) about how I am going to beat this Myeloma.  I will share that thought with all of you.

First of all – I was once told that there are two kinds of Cancer.  The bad kind and the really bad kind so you should hope that if you get Cancer you get the bad kind.

Secondly – I am glad (in some sick perverted way) that this is happening to me NOW.  I am glad that Myeloma chose to be so relentless (left hip, aggressive, back, right hip) early on in it’s pursuit of me because I am stronger now than I would be when I am older so I am able to withstand the pain, the discomfort and the inconvenience with more tolerance now than later.  As I said last post – RIGHT NOW – I am stronger than Cancer.  I am stronger then Myleoma.

So I told Dr. M during the biopsy that my strategy is to wait it out.  I will outlast Myeloma.  Like Ali doing a rope-a-dope, taking his punishment and then charging back out late to knock his opponent out.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2FtrYwzdp8&list=PLEZmOP1KGUqr8YWMga6wvcr1KoOvrbVob&index=2  “Down goes MYELOMA!  Down goes MYELOMA!”  OK – wrong fight but you get the idea.

I was also telling Dr. M about an old story I once heard about Jerry Seinfeld.  Someone once asked him how he made it in comedy when so many others failed.  He said that every day he had lunch in the park with a group of guys.  After a while, guys started dropping out of the lunch group because they got “regular jobs.”  Pretty soon, he realized he was the only one left in the lunch group.  He just outlasted everyone.  He kept forging ahead.  When people said “no” he kept going and pretty soon they had no other choice because everyone else quit.  He was the only one left.  He outlasted them.

So… my strategy?  Stay on the ropes.  Take my beating now while I am strong and let Myeloma tire itself out.  This shit is relentless right now so I will let it keep coming.  I will take everything it throws at me.  Weakness, pain, soreness, tumors, tissue,  bone lesions, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, whatever.  And when it is all done punching I will hit back.  BAM – clinical trial here.  BAM – clinical trial there.  BAM – T Cell Depleted transplant.  BAM – Newly approved drug.  BAM – Something that hasn’t even been INVENTED yet but will be available to me later because I took my punishment NOW.  


I got this.

18 responses to “8/20/14 – A New Take On an Old Strategy

  1. You can outsmart and outlast this! Don’t let the lows of the ebb and flow trick you! Love your focus as you inspire us all.

  2. You continue to amaze us with your unwavering positive attitude – you are truly an inspiration to all and will kick the crap out of MM!

  3. I recently started receiving your blogs and look forward to reading them. Your amazing strength, determination and attitude are an inspiration.

  4. You are an inspiration to all of us fellow myelomers. I always read your blogs first. I know you will beat this. Your tenacity and unbreakable spirit makes you a winner! I am fighting my own battle. Stem cell soon. I live in queens. Have been to see dr. J. Although i use another dr. Was at sloan yesterday. May participate in a clinical trial there……..phase 1 mm vaccine. If you want info let me know. Ellen G

  5. That’s all you have to do….stay in the game. The progression of new treatment options will outpace the disease. Slow and steady wins the fight.

  6. You got this!!! And…we got your back!!! Anything you need- we are all here! Enjoy your vaca! Love to all of you!!!

  7. Brad, this is RICHARD Chelec here. Long time I know, just spent some time with kevin moss and he filled me in on your cancer fight and life in general these days. Just want you to know that I am thinking about you and wishing you good luck with your courageous fight. I will never forget our days at the zebra lounge in Chicago and your first frank song with that crazy blond owner…what was her name?

    Thinking about your big smile makes me smile.

    Hope to cross paths again one of these days. I am in Santa Barbara with my family.

    Your friend, richard

  8. You are the most courageous person I know. My favorite definition of courage I once heard: having the fear and doing it anyway. Courage is not fearlessness. It’s exactly you…pushing through.

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