Not Quite Tomato, Tomahto – The Irony Of It All

I think one of the most frustrating things a myeloma patient experiences is the lack of understanding about the disease.  How many patients have asked to see the mole that’s gone bad?  Literally two days ago I had someone say to me, “I just got tired of people asking to see where my Melanoma was !!! They wanted to “see” my mole !!!”  This is the nature of our disease, the name is very similar thus leading to confusion.

In 2008 I went to the Doctor.  It was the start of rugby season and I was trying to get in shape.  I had bloodwork done and the Doc called me in for some questions.  He asked if I was taking supplements -?!? – I was speechless as the strongest thing I was taking was GNC Mega Man vitamins.  But he wouldn’t give up the issue, was I taking supplements, “What would your wife say?”  I had a protein spike and, after the Oncologist visit, I was confirmed with Multiple Myeloma.  My post from that time is noted here: “The Obvious“.  If you’ve not been to the doctor, go, don’t pause, go, go NOW.  I found this disease because I was diagnosed early.  So take my advice – go to the doctor.  I even had someone in Central Park this weekend that said they were going to take my advice and go to the doctor this week.  He heard my story and realized he hadn’t been in awhile, looked at his wife, daughter and two dogs then back to me, “now you have seven you’ve touched”.

Which brings me to the irony.  I went in to see the dermatologist two weeks ago.  Now I’ve had a lot going on the last few years and, as I’ve stated before, I consider myself very lucky, as so many people have it so much tougher.  When I checked in the girl at the desk asked if I had been here before and I said “of course, but it’s been awhile.”  It had been awhile, since 2008 to be exact.  Since 2008 – since before my diagnosis.  Are you seeing the irony here?  I haven’t been to THIS type of doctor since 2008.  I’m soooooo stupid!

I got a Pneumovax injection in January of 2009 and I had a massive reaction.  My arm swelled for weeks, it was painful but it finally settled down, but I’ve always had a mark there.  I don’t remember when but it turned into a big red dot (slightly smaller than a dime) on my left arm.  But I’m sure I mentioned it to the other doctors at least once. So I go to see the Dermatologist and he asks if there’s anything I’d want him to look at.  I explained that I had a reaction to the Pneumovax injection and that it left a mark  but I had shown it to my other docs who said not to worry.  He looked at it and paused.  He said that if he had seen it alone, without my explanation, he would have immediately said it’s a Basal Cell Carcinoma.  He took a biopsy to check.  I hadn’t been to this doctor since 2008.  I’m sooooo stupid.

This brings us to Tomato, Tomahto – Myeloma, Melanoma.  Now when someone doesn’t understand and gets confused I can say yes, that’s the disease I have and be right on either point!  Talk about making it easy on me.  I have the disease I have and I have the disease everyone confuses it with!

I’m poking fun at something that I guess really isn’t funny.  Luckily, like with my case of Myeloma, I’ve got it easy.  Basal Cell Carcinoma is the best version of this disease to have.  It doesn’t spread, it’s very focused on the area where it occurs.  Once they come in and dig it out it’s gone.  So I’m not worried – heck, this one runs in the family.  Even my mother isn’t worried – and that’s saying a LOT!  But that being said I also did a quick search and it turns out that vaccination sites are more susceptible to this type of issue.  My doc said it’s usually squamish cell (sp?) but whichever it may be, if you have a vaccination spot, keep it protected.

The irony, in addition to the alliteration, is my preaching that I did early on and didn’t take to heart:  GO TO THE DOCTOR – GO TO ALL THE DOCTORS.  GO NOW!

You know what’s next for me?  A colonoscopy – and I excited?  No – BUT I’M GOING TO THE DOCTOR!