Hello Everyone :))
Before I update you on what’s going on now, here’s a look back TEN YEARS AGO, as I was prepping for my Stem Cell Transplant at City of Hope. Ah, so Naive was I.
Back then, I didn’t have the awful side effects I do now. Back then, Myeloma’s viciousness and life sentence hadn’t sunk in. Back then I was on an “Adventure” and in full Denial of the Seriousness of my situation. Back then, I was ridiculously Optimistic. Back then, I saw all my medications, appointments, labs, tests, consults, preparations for SCT as Challenges, Adventures and even new social events, as I met so many Amazing people at each appointment. That was just my nature. Julie the eternal Optimist. I genuinely had not fully digested the Seriousness of my Diagnosis. I had never been really sick, and when I was, I recovered “normally”. Back then, just one foot in front of the other, humored by all the fuss, and always expecting a good outcome, nothing less. Back then, I was on 40mg Dex steroids 4 days ON, 4 days off, so I only had one or two lousy days, then, boom, hello 40mg Roids boosting me back up again. Back then, I still looked ok. Always being told “wow Julie, you look so good, you don’t “look” like a cancer patient, you sure don’t look sick!”. Oh what a ride that was…
Back then, I and everyone else in my little and big circles had never heard of Myeloma. Back then, I spoke all the scary words of Cancer, Terminal, Incurable, “how long do you have”, “wow, 70% myeloma”, “High Risk myeloma”, Chemotherapy, Chemo treatments, Stem Cell Transplant, Hospitalization, Side Effects, month long isolation and recovery, etc, etc. Back then, I laughed in the face of my diagnosis and continued to work, albeit a reduced schedule. Back then, I spoke openly and freely about my situation, to the shock of many. Most were more scared about me, than me. The only “real worries” I had, was I didn’t want to have Upper GI sickness. I hate throwing up. I hate the out of control of being upper GI sick. I hate the words “throwing up”, “vomit”… eeekkkkk… If I could avoid that, hey I could handle anything… back then…. yes back then I was so different than I am today.
Here’s a walk down Memory Lane… my post from June 2010-
June 2010, my 1st, and only IV Cytoxan treatment
and the only chemo experience where I was (later)
GI sick :((
2020… I am beaten. Beat up on so many levels, I have to be honest, it feels like Myeloma has won. I am beaten by constant pain. Beat up from non stop side effects. Beat up by pain. Beat up from feeling lousy 24 7, except on Dex steroid days. Beat up from the loss of my life, dreams and plans. Beat up from the constant, continual battle being waged on me, and the battle I have to wage, to just exist and stay alive. Beat up from trying to manage pain. Beat up by new fears. Beat up from loss of sleep due to pain. Beat up from wondering what the future will bring. Beat up from all the “What If’s”. Beat up from attempting to still be “me”, then “paying for it” later, with instant pain. Beat up from Illness being my life and Jim’s life. Our life, our illnesses is everyone’s life around us. Beat up faking, trying to be me, and trying to do what I used to do. Beat up with so much responsibility, while feeling so yucky Beat up by wondering where all this going, what tomorrow will bring. Beat up by fearing movement, tweeking something, falling, tripping, moving, trying to enjoy just the little things, then having something always backfire on me, as pain sears through my bones, muscles, nerves, whole body.
Yes, I am beat up friends. Beat up from fighting Myeloma for over 10 years. Yes I take stronger meds now. Strong for me. I used to laugh about children’s strength pain relievers helping me. Children’s chewable Tylenol. Ha! Yes I have graduated to Adult Strength. First 325mg, then 500mg, now 650mg and more often. I have a drawer full of meds. I am reluctant to use them tho. Scared to try things, when I don’t know the side effects or outcome. I tell my kids, I would like to take a muscle relaxant, or meds prescribed to me from before, what’s that mood relaxer, Ativan? I just want relief. I just want to be pain free and have mobility without tweeking something. But I am afraid to try things, as I don’t have “help” here late at night. At this time, I don’t want to do the Opiods. Maybe one day I will “have to”…
I often think that if I take something at night for RELIEF, no one would know if I passed out, tripped, fell, died, etc, as Jim is completely incapable of caring for himself or me. I am not “lonely” at all, but I am sure “alone” after our awesome caregivers and adult kids leave at night. Last night I had my amazing daughter stay later while I showered. While I was in there, I was dizzy, in pain, and every movement hurt. I felt bad having her stay so late. She is happy to do so, but I feel bad. I feel my adult kids should have their own lives, and not have to be daily back up caregivers. I hate being Codependent. I hate not being Independent. But the pain. The limitations. The fears of “what if” when I am here alone… so I decided to take a tiny little dose of Dex steroids to get relief that Tylenol was not giving me. I always start with the lowest dose option to see if that helps. Half, 2mg of the regular 4mg pill. This is off-schedule. My weekly chemo regimen is 7 Dex pills on Mondays with additional IV Dex, for a total of 36mg weekly, along with the Elotuzumab/Emplicity, along with 10mg Revlimid at night. I had taken Tylenol through out the day. Only took the edge off, but the pain was ever increasing… I always have Dex as my Elixir, as my back up plan. Miraculously, I finally felt Relief a few hours later, but I still have pain. Pain in my bones, muscles, head, nerves, etc. But I don’t feel like pounding a hammer to my head…
Yes, I am beaten physically and mentally, but I will forward march. I have to. I have to for everyone that loves me and needs me. Which is a lot of people and animals. And I will forward march, one challenge, one painful event after another, because I am also curious where all this absurdity is going. What will my head, brain, neck MRI show? What will be the treatment recommendations? Radiation? Surgery? More, new, chemo? Where is all this pain coming from? What is this new little tumor on my spine? What is all this excruciating head, neck, muscle, nerve body pain, along with killer headaches? I just want answers. I can handle a lot, if I know what’s going on..
Thanks for reading and listening everyone. Hoping your lives are getting back to some sort of “new normal” or even back to “normal” for you. Hoping you are pain free, and free to be you. Free to live your life dreams and goals. Free to be you, and do that which gives you joy and passion. Move forward always. And like I always tried to do, try to focus on the “glass half full, not half empty”. Just go away awful challenges…
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