Another Year

One can quite easily romanticise the eve that is New Year’s. In anticipation of an unknown future, it is very easy to hope for better things. If you think I am generalising, I might well be, for I am really talking about me. I am guilty of romanticising New Year’s Eve. If the outgoing year had been a good one, I’d go out on a high and expect equally good things for the year ahead. If my year had been rotten, I’d grasp onto the old adage out with the old and in with the new, hoping that as the clock turned from 23:59hrs to 00:00hrs my luck would magically change. It’s a silly concept really, I know that it is just another day, but there is still something inside me that says a new year should mean some sort of new beginning.

This year, as 2014 finishes and 2015 begins, I have a problem. It was a problem that was presented to me on 18 December and one that I had been aware of long before that date. It’s a myeloma related problem. My problem is fairly straightforward in it’s complexity. I know what my 2015 looks like already, well at least the first 6 months of it, and it is not something I particularly want to get sloshed in anticipation of this evening. Not only do I know what the start of my year holds, I know that I can do absolutely nothing to influence what is going to happen. My future is completely out of my hands. It is just going to happen and the only thing I can do, is hope for a happy outcome.

On the 18 December I finally found out what the medical plan is for me and it is a plan that involves a lot of pyjamas. It is a plan that means my 2015 is going to revolve around feeling unwell. In fact, the only thing I have to look forward to, is another old adage; 2015 for me, is going to have to be seen as a means to an end.

After another cycle or, possibly and hopefully two cycles of treatment, so in four or eight weeks time, I will be having a stem cell transplant. Not a donor transplant as I had anticipated, but an autograft. I’ve done it before, so I know how delightful they can be. Then, two or three months after that is done and dusted and my curly hair is no more, I’ll have a full donor transplant. I anticipated the latter, but not both. Both does a poorly Emma make. If my calculations are correct, that’ll take me up to at least June. Just like that. Six months will be gone. If all goes to plan, I will then spend the rest of the year recovering. I have done my research, and I am aware that the recovery from an allograft is no picnic and I know that I am being optimistic allocating six months to it. That six months by the way, will take me up to 31 December 2015.

I have never experienced a New Year’s Eve where the year ahead is already determined. I have never experienced a New Year’s Eve where I have hoped to fast forward to the next one. This year, I have no need for resolutions, unless ‘Do not die’ can be considered a resolution. I have no need for the January sales, unless it is for nightwear, because I have no idea what is going to happen to my body over the next six months. I have no need for plans post February because realistically, I know that I’ll be spending at least 10 months in bed.

My New Year is going to be completely dedicated to myeloma and I know that is not an exaggeration. Things may happen around that, good things I hope for the people around me, but predominantly, my year will be dedicated to ‘getting better’. Whatever ‘getting better’ looks like.

My 2015 is going to be dedicated to some intense treatment that will test me. It’s going to test me real good. Of course, what happens with this treatment is not completely determined. There is a massive elephant in my head that makes the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 quite terrifying. So terrifying, that I would like to stop time and stay in 2014 for a few more weeks. I know that as the countdown begins, a much bigger countdown will also begin in which I will stop floating along waiting for something to happen and I will walk straight into that something happening. It is quite daunting.

I have spent a few days now pondering what 2015 will bring, and the only certainty I have for me is that it will bring illness. I do not cherish that thought. I do not cherish some of the uncertainties of my future treatment either. I just have to hold on to the idea and faith, if I were to have faith in something it would be this, that some of this uncertainty will result in good things. Better than good. I have to try not to dwell on what will happen if those unknowns are not as positive as I need them to be.

Yesterday, I was reminded that in this dastardly life of myeloma, one (that would be me), needs to continue to hold their head high. One needs to be positive and one, when the situation looks like it can get no better and may not get any better, can be strong. The ground has been laid and I suppose, as scared as I am of it, I just need to step to it. A marvellous person showed me that this could be done, and thus, I have to endeavour to not feel sorry for myself despite knowing that 2015 will be the opposite of fun. I am lucky to be able to have this treatment in the first place.

Thus, I’m convincing myself when I say to 2015, Bring It On. That’s right, bring it on. Two transplants? Bring it on. Lots of time in bed? I have many pairs of new pyjamas.

So, I’ll be drinking responsibility to that this evening… I’ll also secretly be hoping that at some point during 2015, my luck, will somehow, with the help of one or two or a million plus stem cells, change for the better.

In the meantime, I wish you and in particular my friends and family, a very Happy New Year. 2015 is going to be a riot.