Just nod if you can hear me
Comfortably numb – Pink Floyd
I started this blog to keep my friends and family up to date with my treatment progress. But I know from my own experience that, faced with a myeloma diagnosis, I googled endlessly for information, and found other people’s diaries very helpful. Maybe you’ve found me the same way.
My name’s Alex Bicknell. In June 2012 I had it all. I’d just turned 39. My wonderful wife Marisa, who had worked hard for 10 years to study, at the same time as bringing up children, had graduated from university and was beginning to set up her own business. For the first time in her life she was doing the jobs she wanted to. I had 3 beautiful children, Ben aged 6 and full of spirit, Gyles aged 4 and full of mischief, and Lyndon, 2 months old and with the world’s most mesmerising eyes.
I had my own successful consultancy and was earning great money. I was part way through training as a primary school teacher in my “spare time”. I had plans and aspiration in the short term for a summer’s retreat to France and in the longer term to move “home” to my wife’s native New Zealand. I’d even appointed a local lawyer, and got a local bank account there. I was literally days away from buying a piece of land by the sea in Golden Bay.
On July 17th myeloma entered my life, abruptly, confusingly, frighteningly. It changed everything.
They tell us myeloma is “individual” which is a euphemism for lots of things. Every myeloma journey is different. In those confusing early days I felt more alone than I’d ever felt before. A young man afflicted by an old man’s disease I’d never even heard of. Too often the information online about myeloma is horrific – dealing with information is actually one part of the problem. And inevitably (because few of us feel like talking about it all openly at the time) a lot of myeloma blogs start several chapters into the journey, rather than dwell on the initial decisions and emotions. So I’m going to start right at the beginning. I hope you find this helpful.