Not sure where we ended my last update of the surgery but I am really feeling great. I am getting around well. I ditched the walker and moved on to the cane. Hopefully by the end of the week, I will be walking unassisted. There is still a lot of pain, but nothing that hasn’t been managed by the pain pills. The area around the incisions are very painful and swollen.
Yesterday was my most active day since being discharged on New Year’s Eve. In the morning, I got to celebrate my niece’s birthday with a brunch at Helene’s sister’s house. It was great having the whole family together again. After coming home to rest I went to Victor’s basketball game at 5:30 PM. It was tough. But i am so glad to have gotten the chance to see him play and I think he was happy I was able to be there as well.
So things are really picking up steam on the recovery front. I go back to see Dr. G. at Penn on Wednesday 1/7 for a check up and then to have my T-Cell’s harvested out of my body. It is a pretty simple process – just like when I had my stem cells harvested for the first transplant. The big question is whether or not they decide to admit me and do another round of the PACE chemo. If you remember, that was the four consecutive days I received in December. It worked – somewhat – so I think maybe it would be the right thing to do as long as we can fit it in before the transplant, which we now believe starts on 2/2.
That is the latest on me from a numbers, recovery, surgery status. Things **knock wood** are going well. i did want to write a blog post today to share something I read on Facebook that i though was really cool. You see, this is Chuck…
Chuck was a classmate of mine growing up outside of Chicago. I remember him as a smart kid and a dominant hoops player under the basket. Now? He is a teacher in Waukegan and an advocate for his students and all of the students at the high school as well, helping them achieve dreams they never thought possible like obtaining a college education, getting scholarships, etc. Chuck is a difference maker. One of the great things about Facebook is the ability to catch up with old friends and see what they are doing with their lives. Many times you find a gem like Chuck.
Chuck also just had a kidney transplant. Now – while I am sure this is a dangerous operation, I can’t fathom what it feels like. I do, however, have an incurable cancer that eventually will lead to kidney trouble or failure so his story caught my attention and I have been following his progress closely. The good news is that he is fine. Recovered. It was remarkable to me how quickly he recovered. Why will some people get up and about while others don’t feel the need or have the courage to push themselves to recover as quickly as Chuck? Why am I not using a walker three days after surgery while others will continue using a walker for the rest of their lives?
I have often said that you can’t truly heal unless you embrace your disease, embrace your situation and act accordingly. Find your support system. Some days I just want to be left alone. Thankfully I have a wife and kids that won’t let me be left alone – because they know how important it is to be present for me – to be visible – as a constant reminder of what I am working for. People ask me or tell me how great my “attitude” is, how uplifting it is to read my blog or how can I be so positive through all of this – and the answer is simple. I will not die from Myeloma. I just won’t. I will die of something else but it won’t be Myeloma. I believe it. And, while it may not be true, I BELIEVE IT. And that is all that matters.
Here is Chuck’s Facebook post that got me to introduce him to all of you and inspired me to think about why I am who I am today and how I can keep being that man until I am cured of this incurable Cancer.
An untraditional New Year’s Wish
While I ultimately wish everyone peace, joy, and happiness, I also have as fervent of a wish for everyone that I care about that they experience some pain and sorrow this coming year, for it is our crucible moments that become the fertilizer for growth and ultimately a deeper degree of joy and happiness.
In pain and hurt lie the possibility of reconstruction and redefinition of the self. Though this past year has been trying at times (but ultimately triumphant) what has ensued is a deeper understanding of self, a re-visioning of who I am–an individual often vulnerable and sometimes hurting, yet still open for inspiration, ready for insight, slow to judge, and eager to help heal others.
The scar tissues around my kidney incision wound have softened my heart, brought me (crashing) down to earth, and strengthened my resolve to be a messenger of hope for my students, to breathe life into their dreams.
All the best (and a little bit of the worst) to everyone!!!
I have an INCURABLE CANCER and I am happier than I have been in years! Figure that one out. The truth is – I am humbled because all of the support I get from my family, my friends and my colleagues moves me to tears.
It is ANOTHER GREAT DAY to fight Cancer… again!