11/24/14 – Embrace The Rod

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.


15 responses to “11/24/14 – Embrace The Rod

  1. You and your family are so special. Thank you for sharing what you are going through.
    We know you can beat this , stay positive and keep kicking ass! Love you rich

  2. Tears are dripping down my face!!!! I love you both and you are a team that I admire so much! You both are the bravest people I know. Luv you both Jac

  3. Wow! As I cry through yet another writing of yours. I think to myself how lucky we all are to be a small part of your life. I also will be so grateful that you are home sharing this family holiday. Enjoy!

  4. Now that I have started following your blog, I am addictated to it. Your words are so expressive. Sending much love and healing blessings your way. Your Montana cousin, Janet

  5. “You never know how strong you will be until strong is the only choice you have” . Not an original thought but your family takes the meaning of strong to an entirely higher level . Tears are falling as we follow your fight. YOU WILL BEAT CANCER. Your beautiful family is so amazing. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful support team. We hope you feel much joy and love this Thanksgiving. Much love. Joni & Jeffrey

  6. So happy to hear you will be home for Thanksgiving. We will be thinking of you and praying for a quick recovery. Yes, your wife is a strong lady….she wouldn’t be anywhere else!

  7. brad- it has been many years since we have seen each other and I just read your post. Your attitude is commendable! I wish you and yours all the best!

  8. My husband and I have been following your blog since early January when you were preparing for your SCT. My husband underwent his SCT in February and reading your blog helped us prepare for and get through it. We are sorry to hear that you are facing yet another challenge. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and please know that you are in our prayers as you begin the next phase of your journey.

  9. I am treated at UPenn with Dr. Stadtmauer and wish you all the best with your treatments there. You are in a great facility. You are one strong dude and if I just had half of your fortitude that would be a huge amount. You are always in my prayers. Terry from Haddonfield, NJ

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