Big Day

OK…this is getting real!

Until the last few weeks, life has been normal…well somewhat normal.  My reflection in the mirror, mostly unchanged and my positive attitude unwavering!  My cancer has been a motivator of positive changes and has lingered in the background of a full and rich life. Yes, I tire easier, my feet hurt from neuropathy, I’ve lost some hair and I’m chubbier from the chemo.  But I’ve also learned to love more, live more and appreciate every detail in my life.

And life has been full of details!   A new grandbaby, Mila Grace, to cherish, spoil and love, my grandson Reid William, to make me laugh…his zeal for life, passion for reading and baseball, big heart and smile makes every day a good day!  There have been birthdays to celebrate, a new house for my daughter and son-in-law, a new knee for my sister Jan, retirement for my sister Deb, and fun times with friends and family!

All this while being poked and tested, and collecting stem cells for transplant to try to conquer this multiple myeloma beast!

And finally, it is here…it is real.  It is cancer killer day!

Today I will get a mega dose of chemo to kill the multiple myeloma bad guys and unfortunately many of the good guys that have been working hard to protect me!  This is the first day of the stem cell transplant process and is followed by a “rescue” transfusion on Thursday and Friday when the cells collected in May are returned to me!   (Technically called “Infusion of Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells and Therapeutic Cells).  These cells are my cells (autologous transplant) collected when my multiple myeloma was in remission in May.  These are my warriors!

I hope to be one of the few who tolerate this transplant well. But the chemo can be nasty and I brace myself for the discomfort.  Even infusing my own cells can be difficult and make me sick.

I will lose my hair. I’m prepared with cute hats and scarves…but I struggle with the reality that this will reveal the truth of my cancer not just to me but to all who see me!

It takes time to recover. For weeks, I’ll be at high risk for infection as my body rebuilds its immune system.  It may be difficult to eat and sleep. And the reality is, that it will take about a year to fully recover.

The good news is that this is the closest I will get to a cure.  There is no cure yet for multiple myeloma, but the stem cell transplant is the best option for long term remission.  And with all the advancement in treatments for blood cancers, there may be cure just when I need it in the future!

While I don’t know what the future holds for me, I am confident and trust in God’s provision for me.  This new journey is about learning to value and appreciate what I have in my life…to spend each minute with joy and generosity.  It’s about having faith, trusting God through all circumstances and leaning on Him.  I say this as a reminder to me…it’s not easy living with cancer…it’s not easy staying positive…but with faith, love and a plan I’ve got this!

Now let’s go kill some cancer!!!!!