I’m all by myself, as I’ve always felt. I’ll betray myself to anyone
Soma – Smashing Pumpkins

Forgive me while I go off on one, again

Safe to touch?

As my sons could tell you, there are two kinds of nettles, growing along the side of our twitten. One is the well known stinging nettle, which has evolved a nasty eponymous ability. But the other, less well recognised, is the dead nettle, which has simply evolved to look like a stinging nettle, and so gain much of the benefit, without so much effort on its own part. (It’s called Batesian mimicry).

As so often, this is a bit like myeloma. No, really, it is. Hang with me for a minute…

I try to keep it together, up top. It’s one of my core personality traits, I like to believe. Indeed, my inability to keep it together in 2012, when the sky fell in; the experience of losing control, was like losing part of my identity, for a while. And, since I got my shit back together, I feel sometimes normal, despite myeloma, even if others sometimes find my ability to be caustic and flippant about it unsettling.

But don’t be fooled. I have not found coming to terms with myeloma easy. I do not find its lurking presence easy.

Sometimes it feels as though myeloma pollutes every facet of my life. And for that I hate it. So I was letting off steam, to one of the wonderful people the NHS provides for the explicit purpose of giving me an audience to whom to say the unsayable. Something he said put an interesting thought into my head, about the tendency to implicate myeloma in everything. Maybe some things are actually not about myeloma, except to the extent that these days everything is about myeloma.

With myeloma, I’m walking through a field of nettles. Every pain or difficulty (mental, not just physical) appears myeloma-shaped. It is easy to blame everything on myeloma. But some of these woes are not actually myeloma. They are of different origin. They have only grown to look like myeloma. They are fakelomas.

Once you know the difference between a dead nettle and a stinger, you can crash through the former much more easily. So I’m going to hunt out some of my fakelomas, and try to expose them for what they are: mere ordinary trials of life, which I would have faced anyway. Maybe that way I can trample on them a little more courageously.

I won’t stamp on the real myeloma stuff though, if I can avoid it, for fear of getting stung.