Thoughts on my upcoming tests…and wisteria blooms…

IMG_4631I’m having my blood drawn day after tomorrow, which means that tomorrow I’ll be doing the 24-hour urine collection (joy!) to determine if I have any Bence-Jones protein in my urine…it’s always been negative, so…fingers crossed!

In the past few weeks–since the beginning of April, in fact–I haven’t given much thought to my smoldering myeloma. I’ve been too busy…mostly too busy having fun, which is always a good thing!

BIMG_4651ut then, last week, as I mentioned in a recent post, I wasn’t able to access my blog because of some mysterious computer glitch. Stefano worked on the problem and fixed it, but that took a few days. And during the brief time that I was locked out of my blog, I got to thinking about how much it–my blog–has meant/means to me.

A lot. A whole big lot. For many reasons…

And now for a series of “ifs.” But these aren’t the regretful sort of “ifs,” as you will see…

  • If I hadn’t been diagnosed with MGUS (1999), then with smoldering myeloma (2005)…
  • if I hadn’t come across the MD Anderson curcumin-myeloma trial…
  • if I hadn’t decided to take curcumin (and believe me, back in 2006 things were very different: most people/MM patients/doctors believed I was rather nutty or perhaps VERY nutty…but now look…many of our doctors are actually recommending that their patients take curcumin! Ah yes, we’ve certainly come a long way…)…
  • if I hadn’t followed a friend’s advice and created this blog…

…I’d be a different person today. I mean, sure, I’d be the same old Margaret that I was in my “previous” life, my life before myeloma, that is…But…yes…different…

IMG_4650For one thing, I wouldn’t have found out that I can actually WRITE (thanks, Dad!).

For another, I wouldn’t have met so many different, generous, kind, brave people (you, my blog readers). By now I have met a whole bunch of blog readers…and I have many new friends who live in different countries, from Italy to the U.S.A…

I have experienced only generosity and kindness from my blog readers, and so I take this opportunity to thank you all…from the heart! Grazie! :-)

I will never forget, e.g., the day I met a British blog reader who said that Stefano and I could stay in her London apartment anytime we wanted (we haven’t taken her up on her offer yet, but we might!). Or the day we got three different offers from three different blog readers to spend a week with them in New York City. How splendid is all that?

IMG_4624But the first to invite us into his home and into his life was our much beloved British photographer friend (the guy who just came to Tuscany to visit us)…We both love him to bits and always enjoy getting together with him and his family…sweet, wonderful, interesting people.

Okay, let’s get back to the point of this post: in the past couple of days I’ve been thinking that no matter how my test results turn out, I’ve had a really great run with curcumin and a few other naturally-derived, nontoxic extracts. No, I’m not worried about them…these are just considerations that sometimes pop into my brain before I go have blood tests…

More considerations…In early 2006, my hematologist here in Florence told my husband that I could live for five years if I had chemo and an autologous stem cell transplant. Five years??? That’s IT??? Sheesh.

Furthermore, based on my test results, in the autumn of 2005 a world-famous U.S. hematologist told me that I’d be progressing to active MM in five year’s time ( = 2010, that is). IMG_4625

Didn’t happen.

Well, I’ve clearly beaten the statistics. Without chemo or transplants, to boot. And anyway, you know my thoughts on statistics…pfui!

In all these year–since my SMM diagnosis in 2005, that is–apart from a few episodes with the flu AND in spite of my low immune defenses, I’ve been incredibly healthy and have led a happy, active life. In fact, I just got back from driving around with a friend, photographing all the wisteria in bloom that we could find in this area of Florence. All the photos were taken on the way to the hilltop town of Fiesole, incidentally.

IMG_4655Living with smoldering myeloma was not my choice, of course. But I can’t ignore the fact that my SMM diagnosis has made me look at life very differently. It has made me slow down and appreciate and enjoy even the smallest things, things that I might not have done in the pre-MM period…like going off to photograph wisteria in full bloom with a friend. My priorities have definitely changed…

And, as a result, life is good…

Oh dear, look at the time! I really must get off the computer and find the 24-hour urine container for tomorrow. Then I need to give Piccolo and Puzzola (my two eldest cats) their pills. Off I go! Take care, everyone, and enjoy the lovely spring blooms! Ciaooooo! :-)