Monday, March 8, 2010

Feeling better, and some reflections...

Happy Monday, my friends.

First, thanks to those of you who were kind enough to write to check up on me!

I want to emphasize that when I report on feeling crummy, as I did at the end of last week, I am doing so in the interest of faithfully recounting what's going on so that others can learn. I am not complaining -- far from it. I'm glad to be alive and happy to accept the relatively minor side effects of maintenance therapy!

I was thinking about this, and one important notion occurred to me. I have been guilty, to some degree, of viewing the past seven months as the first seven months of maintenance, which is a three years process before I can say I'm through with therapy and (hopefully!) cured.

Instead, I should be viewing this as seven months, already, of disease free life. Had I opted for disease control rather than trying to go for a potentially curative approach, I might have a year or I might have three or I might have five years of remission. Nobody really knows. But seven months is seven months, and it's nothing to sneeze at, and I should be enjoying every day. I think this is a very important message. About 80% of the time, I'm living my life as though I don't have disease (which in fact I don't). The other 20% of the time I have to pop pills, get infusions, deal with side effects, whatever. But in any case, I'm in a group called "progression free survival" or "event free survival." So I should be enjoying every day -- and that's my message to all of you. Enjoy every day!!

For those interested, my chest cold is 98% gone. The thrush is, I *think* gone, and the GI distress is mostly gone although I'm sure I have been wiped clean of helpful digestive tract bacteria so I'm going to continue to pop acidophilus pills for a bit here.

I also wanted to touch briefly on an interview that Parade magazine did with Kathy Giusti of the MMRF. I have nothing but deep, deep respect and gratitude for this woman and her continuing efforts in the fight against this disease. But I have to say, the article was not very uplifting, despite assertions that it was. Among other things, Kathy said that "Myeloma is uniformly fatal." And she continues to focus on her own syngeneic transplant (from an identical twin, which confers the curative benefits of an allogeneic transplant without the risk of graft versus host disease) as being a temporary remission. In the case of the first statement, it's hard to view that as uplifting...I think it's defeatist and at least somewhat misleading. In the second case, I know she wants to maintain a sense of urgency to her efforts and I applaud that -- but I also hope she knows that she's going to be around for a long time.

Anyhow, that's enough rambling for today. Enjoy today, and every day, people!