A decision I made

Multiple Myeloma revealed in hiding

Continuing story in the hope some small part may be useful to others.

62 yr m. MM4yrs. BMT. Dazzled protocol maintenance.

Not chronological. Not sequential. Sometimes informational. Not always personal. Always truthful.

After 3 years of dealing with Cancer, Multiple Myeloma, I have been reading posts about others experiences and questions, I finally decided to start writing about my life with Cancer. To the best of my ability, I will NOT pull punches. Cancer is bad enough without flooding over true facts.

This is the first of what I will try and make a series of posts. May they be useful or at least interesting.

My MM experience

I have MM and have had for 4 years. I’ve been through the horror of the lightning bolt diagnosis and all that followed. I am incredibly fortunate to live in SLC and be near Huntsman Cancer Institute. As well as one of the countries top MM doctors.

The table was cold. Deborah, my wife had gone to get food as we had been in the ER for hours. A hand pulled the curtain aside and then with his back to me, slid it shut. He grabbed a chair, flipped it around, sat down, handed me the plain white paper he held out, saying, Sorry to be the bringer of bad news.

We had originally gone to the ER due to the incredible, intense, abnormal pain in my right shoulder. MRI, Scan, X-Ray, 4 shots of morphine later, doc says, We can keep you here and watch you overnight, send you home to come back if things worsen. Or we can do a scan of your thoracic spine. The only thing we see unusual is the elevated sediment in your blood. Which could be anything.

I inherited the genetic heritage of bad backs from my Father. Over the last 15 years I had 2 cervical fusions, 2 lumbar laminectomies. If that had been ALL I inherited, I would have rejoiced.

If you have a bad back, and we all do, your thoracic spine is NEVER scanned cause problems arise in your ass from sitting, or your neck from whatever. No one had ever asked me about this scan though over the last several months I had considered asking. The scan was choice 2 out of the 3 given.

So the doctor was returning with the results of that 2nd choice. The thoracic scan.

Sorry but it looks like you have Cancer. MM I think. He was a great doc with a shitty job to do.

Deb knew something was horribly wrong as soon as she shoved the curtain aside.

He says I have Cancer. 58. Always in excellent health. Almost retired. Cancer??? How???

The world, once wide open now narrowed down to 2 small blurry holes. Speech disappeared. What does one say on hearing those words?

We hear them all the time. On TV. From others dealing with Cancer. Fundraising. But Cancer is a malady for others. Not you. Everythings been done right. All your life. Where? How? You need to double-check the results.

I read folks questions, stories, hopelessness, misunderstandings, etc. I was surprised at the low level of info, the lack of hope in response, the turning around of the question so responder could have their own personal say. I think I can say I understand all this, but what people need, in my experience, is solid info and hope. They’re scared. In one ear. Out the other. Initial Diagnosis is NOT a good time to throw out technical info to a patient. All suddenly falls apart. Cancer, hidden and suddenly found, has sliced through ones life. As well as those surrounding them.

So given my situation and experience, I decided to respond with this essay in the hopes some small bit can be helpful. Part of my situation is perhaps a bit different. My son in law works at UU Hospital and my daughter works as a lab manager in Tucson. Therefore, I have access to ALL the info my doctors do. I can refer to the very same reports, studies my doctors use. No room for BS here.

Sam

America is sacrificing the future

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/america-is-sacrificing-the-future/2018/08/03/21085a3c-9660-11e8-80e1-00e80e1fdf43_story.html

Basic research has always been essential to our understanding of our world. We don’t do it for immediate practicability in our lives but for understanding of ourselves. Despite much comes from War research, that is not why it should be done.

Morality in a world of consumerism

A benefit of Multiple Myeloma, my own personal Cancer, is due to figure I have been able to read extensively, one of my favorite activities. When I was young I use to spend hours laying on the floors in the public library, pulling books of the shelves and reading for hours. Not that Houston summertime temps had anything to do with being in AC. This was before AC was standard in every building built as it is now. One had to be careful not to step in the bubbling asphalt which always indicated we lived in a place no person had a right to be in. Remember Houston is in a semi-tropical area of the country where mosquitoes, yellow fever, and other assorted tropical features were a part of the landscape until we took over!!!

Anyways, a corollary to the obsessive reading is the obsessive thinking and trying to figure out the world we inhabit. I have mainly been reading history, military and science, from the 1500s to current.

A question that has arisen in talking with others is if we can live moral lives while we live in a society that places consumers at the Apex of our culture. I don’t believe we can if the world is to be a fair and equitable place to live. Everything is a Moral decision. And we don’t think of these things as moral decisions. That can’t happen if the bottom l line is ultimately where we want to be. This isn’t a moral decision about what is most immediate to us. One has to take in the whole of the world. Do we have the right to take water from Mexico because we can? Do we have rights to oil in Nigeria because we use so much energy unfairly? Do I have the right to spend 100$ on a pair of shoes when 2/3 of the world is barefoot and gets diseases because of it? These are questions we don’t ask our even answer past out noses cause we’re “Superior”. Time and again throughout history we have used resources cause others have not seen for or needed to.

Thoughts?