49 tomorrow

How the heck did this happen? I cannot believe my age. The years have flown by in a blur. My kid is driving me around now, my husband is 50. It’s just surreal to me. In two years, Liv will graduate high school. As fast as these school years blow by, I know it will be here in no time. It’s also weird how you think about this with MM in the picture. Most people curse the racing years and want time to slow down. I am wishing the time away sometimes, because I want our daughter to get through her school years without something happening to Tim. In Nov. of 2007, we went for a 2nd opinion from an MM specialist in NYC who now works at our practice here in NJ. He told us that Tim would not see Liv graduate high school unless he had an allo transplant. Scary, depressing words. A month earlier, Tim’s doc had told him that his stem cell transplant failure was a very bad sign and he did not expect him to live long. Again, just devastating. Here are 2 internationally known MM specialists, who’ve been treating MM since the 80’s, and they thought Tim was not going to live past 3 years, maybe 5 on the outside. It just goes to show you that doctors should not put expiration dates on people, no matter what they’ve seen. It was VERY difficult dealing with that news. There is a mourning that you go through. Sometimes I am resentful of what that did to us and here we are 7 and 1/2 years into this journey. I vividly remember a day at our support group when Tim’s doc was our guest and a woman, sitting next to her husband, said with an accusatory tone in her voice, “you told him he had 3 years to live and it’s been 9 years and he’s still doing well.” The doc looked at her, shrugged a bit, and said, “back then, that’s what we knew.” I read about these folks on the MM facebook sites whose docs are giving them these talks and stats and I want to scream sometimes. I’m sure they are right sometimes, but, the grief this causes, and for those who did not see that happen, I ask, “FOR WHAT?” Quite frankly, we never asked any doctor how long Tim had. They offered that information. UGH! So, while 2 years is still a long time away, and I am not going to bet with my husband’s life, I am hopeful. Unfortunately, we had no way of knowing that Tim would do as well as he did and live this long. We had much to be worried about and these docs were telling us he would not do well. We lived our lives in month-long intervals, feeling desperate and overwhelmed. Sometimes, not even that, as you have appointments for blood draws, chemo treatments, and check-ups. But, we sweated out those results on a monthly basis and then it was 2 months and then 3. You pray and worry and then breathe just a bit easier for a little while, but it’s never gone. You know that you are just a few numbers on a piece of paper away from being back in the fight for his life. But, we try to be grateful. You feel guilty if you aren’t, as we know so many who have not done as well and it is so damn heartbreaking. Some days, it’s hard for a realist/pessimist like me to figure this life out. I can’t even watch TV anymore and am wounded almost daily by pics of animal cruelty and HUMAN cruelty. It feels like there is no compassion and empathy left in the world and all these great, smart, funny, loving people I have met with MM. Why? I just don’t get it. I am one of those people who has a profound need for justice and fairness. There is so little evidence of either around me. You see all these great people get such a raw deal, while these jerks seem to get all the breaks. When people say things to me about not wanting to tell my age, I always tell my age. I tell them that there were times in my life that I did not think I’d make it and I am grateful for all of these years. Lots of them were extremely hard. I do not look back on a life filled with joy and happy times, but, there were some, and I know that as hard as my life has been, there are still others that would trade with me. I’ve probably said this before, but, some days, it feels like the only thing you have to be grateful for is that the elastic isn’t shot in your underwear. And you really do have to start that low and build from there when you’re living with the cancer cloud over your head. You learn to be grateful for the most basic things; the fact that you can walk, see, and have the freedom to do the simple things that some others actually aren’t able to do. So, as I get older, that’s basically how it goes. I have to try a bit harder to find those positives and blessings, OK a LOT harder. But, they’re there. So, as I celebrate 49 tomorrow, I will try to count my blessings. Wishing many blessings on y’all too.