5 Years… Yes 5 Years ago Today

5 years ago Today, I became a hospital inpatient.
5 years ago Today, I began part 3 of intensive chemo to save my life.
5 years ago Today, my address changed for a month.
5 years ago Today, I began the journey to hoped-for Remission.
5 years ago Today, I was brave and excited to begin my Autologous Stem Cell Transplant process.

My July 2010 home

5 years later- Today,  I am not brave, not excited about my treatments and not looking forward to what lies ahead for me (treatment side effects that is), as I am much wiser, more aware, more realistic, more scared and have been there, done that. I have HAD remission and LOST remission. I’ve “battled” Myeloma cancer for 5 years now. Yes, battled… it’s been a battle. Me against the myeloma invasion.
Yes, I am VERY grateful for these 5 years… but honestly, cancer, cancer treatments, cancer side effects suck! Having an incurable cancer makes me a lifer at this, giving me a life-time sentence. I don’t get a break, I won’t ever “get back to “normal”, or ever have my life back as I knew it before cancer… living with cancer and cancer treatments are my “new normal”, forever and ever until lights out.

5 years ago Today, I was admitted to the hospital, and hooked up to an IV stand (that was to become my lifeline for a month- I named my IV “tower” Rex Rx). Ironically, I didn’t look very sick (exclaimed the staff) at admission, and still had half my hair!
5 years ago Today, my life became limited to a hospital room, a bed, a bathroom and luckily a pretty big window with a view.
5 years ago Today my family brought me there and left me in that room… when they walked away… I cried… my life wasn’t supposed to be like this. They need me, I need them, I can’t be here… this must be a mistake. The seriousness of my situation hit me then. I’m a sickie and I need some pretty serious medical treatment. It’s not supposed to be like this! Wait… what? Nooooooo…. it’s summer… it’s vacation time, I’m supposed to be having fun… outside… someone made a mistake… come back…

A room with a view. I had real estate on floor 6 then 5

I know I write this all the time… how surreal and unreal this whole cancer experience is. Truly I still cannot wrap my challenged brain (what’s left of it) around the fact I was diagnosed with cancer, then intensely chemo’d for cancer, then hospitalized to further pummel cancer. I have continued on chemo, etc for 5 years now. I write about my experiences, I talk about my experiences, I live my experiences, I reflect on my experiences, but honestly, it STILL feels like an out of body experience… even when I’m feeling really sick, I still just feel really really sick, really really yucky, but I cannot wrap my head around this.

So Today, June 2, 2015 I tried to be normal, as I reminisced about where I was 5 years ago Today.
I got up… never early any more (as I’m always in the bathroom until late at night…)
I hydrated, then had a little coffee with a cinnamon stick (whoo hoo, big thrill!)
I did some animal chores around the house, logged in and helped a variety of students online, hydrated some more, talked with my (adult) kids, chatted with Jim, petted my animals, and then readied myself for work. I “recover” enough from my weekend steroid dose and crash to go into my office latter week.. well sometimes… but always later in the day… hoping the volcano has calmed… and I NEVER eat before I leave the house… NEVER!!!
Today, I tried to “act” normal… albeit my “new normal” in honor of where I was 5 years ago Today.

5 years ago Today, my life was dangling on a precipice, I was preparing for falling off a cliff I could not anticipate or know; prepping for a near death experience I knew not of…
5 years ago Today, my body was being readied for chemo cellular annihilation (hello chemical warfare Melphalan). 2 days of high-dose chemo to kill just about everything. They warn of the delayed reaction, it doesn’t hit at first, or all at once. But when it does, IT DOES!
5 years later- Today, I tried to be “normal”. It worked for a little bit. I had a wonderful afternoon in my office seeing students and colleagues, later even suggesting to Jim we meet for dinner (since of course I hadn’t eaten all day and I actually had an appetite…  but of course, later… it “back fired” bad, really bad, really really bad.. ugh!).

For a few hours today, I felt a bit normal. When I came home I went outside, inhaling deeply the fresh moonlight, as I visited my doggies and horses and pretended to be normal, scratching their itchy spots, petting their silky summer coats, and breathing in my favorite scent of warm horse and summer hay, hearing the “hoo hoot” of a barn owl calling out in the moonlight.

My love, Boots silhouetted in the sunset and moonrise

5 years ago Today, I was inside a hospital fighting for my life.
But tonight I felt so alive! The horses and I, bathed in the warm shimmery moonlight, this giant July moon shinning like a huge flashlight from the heavens, surrounding us, embracing us with summer, with life, with hope, with peace. I breathed in deeply, exhaling cancer out and smiling contentedly, for this moment, for this gift tonight.

Hello beautiful moon!

5 years ago Today, I couldn’t do that… and I cried then… because my life was forever changed
5 years ago Today, I feared what was to come. I was so scared of the unknown
5 years ago Today, I lost my freedom… for a month… for a lifetime
5 years ago Today, I couldn’t breathe in the moonlight, shinning on silky manes and tails, or hear the the deep “hoo hoots” of the wild barn owls
5 years ago Today, I did not own my life… cancer and chemicals owned me… and they still own me

5 years ago Today June 2, 2010, I was admitted to City of Hope Hospital to begin the Autologous Stem Cell Transplant process, of which I really knew not what was in store for me…

Thank you sweet Kathy for sending me this unbelievably apropos picture today!

Your artwork, inner beauty and inspirational spirit inspires me!
I love our girlfrienship :)
Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can!