So… we have a decision. We WILL need to put a rod into the femur to stabilize the bone in order to prevent fracture. The doctors will call me tomorrow after they confer as to when we can do this. It will either be Friday 11/28 or Tuesday 12/2. I am hoping to get this done Friday because I need it done ASAP as the pain is becoming unbearable. The good news (SILVER LINING) is that the procedure, as they do it at Penn, only requires an overnight hospital stay. At Mount Sinai, the doctor was talking about 3 or 4 days. So … minimal disruption to life.
The other SILVER LINING is that I will be home for Thanksgiving. And those who know me know how important that is to me. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. It is about family. It is about togetherness. It is about being thankful for everyone and everything around us. It is an extremely emotional day for me and I will be at home for it. I have rarely cried through these last two years. A few tears here and there but when I thought I wasn’t going to be home for Thanksgiving? I lost it. Lots and lots of tears. No more though. The first thing Victor said to me when we got home tonight was – “You’re going to be home for Thanksgiving!” He knew how important that was to me!
We had a long, long, long ……… day today. Helene (the best looking chauffeur in the entire state of NJ) and I left the house for two routine appointments at Overlook Hospital in preparation for the transplant – an echocardiogram and a pulmonary function test. Afterwards, we drove to West Orange for a business meeting/lunch presentation for work. Good chance for Helene to see the glamorous side of the job – ya know – where the magic happens. Then – after lunch – we drove down to Penn to meet the surgeon Dr. W.
All in all it was a ton of driving for Helene and many, many hours in the car with yours truly. I know I have mentioned it before, but caregivers really don’t ever get enough credit for everything they do. I could not have made it through these last few months without Helene’s encouragement, support, love and right foot on the gas pedal to get me around. I can’t stop telling her how much I love and appreciate her. It has always been hard for me to give up control and depend on others. My partner, Helene, makes it easy because she does things for me and deals with it all so graciously.
I also can’t thank my in-laws enough for being there for the kids as we scoot around from New York City to Philadelphia, from doctor to doctor. Everybody is rising up! Now it is my job to rise up and beat this thing.
Easier said than done, however, as we got a look at my Myeloma numbers and they continue to rage ahead. Since being off the backpack and on to the Bendamustine the numbers really took off in a bad direction. I am upset about this but – this setback – as all others that have come before – we will handle. I just finished 4 days of Dexamethasone, the steroid, on Sunday. This helped alleviate a lot of pain and hopefully put a small lid on things for awhile. I need to be off all chemo for the next two weeks until we harvest my T-Cells but as soon as that harvest is done at the beginning of December, I will go back on chemo – heavy duty chemo – to keep the Myeloma at bay.
This is the best we can do for now. I am worried at how quickly this is moving through my body. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried – BUT – one thing holds true from the very beginning of my diagnosis: I never even believed for a second that Cancer would take me and I still don’t believe it now. I feel great. My energy is high. Other than my constant hip pain, or femur pain, I feel well. So the Myeloma is raging – BRING IT I say. BRING IT. I am tougher than Cancer.
So … we will embrace the rod. We will fight on. We will harvest T-Cells. We will get the Myeloma under control. We will radiate the bone in the femur after surgery. We will have a T-Cell engineered transplant. AND after all of that is done? We will have no more Cancer. I BELIEVE THAT. Take it to the bank.
I will go more into the procedure in a future blog – the process, the recovery and the risks – but for now I am so tired from the day that I need to decompress and sit on the couch with my wife. Even after spending all day with her – I still can’t get enough. I always talk about the little things in life. The things you take for granted. Sometimes when I couldn’t sleep at night I would go sleep in the guest room. I think sometimes she would do the same as well. Now? I never want to leave the bed at night as long as she is in it. I would rather lie awake knowing she is next to me than sleep soundly in another room. The little things.
My caregiver and my hero: HELENE.