So many ups and downs on this MM rollercoaster

    There are so many things going on in my life, I hardly know where to start…..or stop for that matter. When I first started this blog, I posted a lot. It was cathartic for me. 2007 and 2008 were nightmare years for me and I blabbed about all of it on here. At some point, I think I realized that this blog had become a “kvetch-fest”, and I tried to rein it in. Plus, Tim went off chemo and stabilized, so there was not much MM news to report, THANK GOD. But, I am still a venter when it comes to stress. Others hold it in. I think it helps to get it out. However, I was seeing a grief therapist 4 years ago who pointed out to me that venting was one thing, but if you keep at it, you are ruminating and making the thing you’re mad/upset about much bigger in your life. I can see the logic in that. And, I can see that it’s something that I’ve done, and still do at times. Suffice to say, I have had a lot of disappointments in my life; and big ones at that-the kind that you just don’t seem to get over, maybe because you cannot understand how people can stoop SO low, or how family members you thought had your back, or should have anyway, just did not. I just can’t wrap my brain around it and I think part of the ruminating is trying to comprehend it all. I have tried, in the last few years, to become more accepting of the fact that people just are who they are, they generally don’t care to improve even if they’re hurting others, and you must get used to those facts and move on, instead of trying so hard to find the good in them and give them more chances to prove themselves. For me, it really only resulted in my getting hurt by the same people over and over again, and making me disgusted, not only with them, but with myself for being so naïve. So, I’ve made changes in my life, and while some people may think it was the wrong thing, it was the right one for me. Taking toxic people out of my life was not only liberating, it made my life happier and more serene. I am not a loner, but, I have realized that being alone is still better than being with people who seek to make me miserable, so that they have company in their own misery. I just recently had an experience where a family member, who knows she permanently injured our relationship a few years ago, was just trying to maybe convince herself that all was forgotten and things were back to “normal” and yet she just showed her true colors again, several times in fact, in just a weeks’ time. All it did was make me realize once again that she is not worth my time. My husband said to me, “why do you waste your breath talking to her? She does not care.” He is right. He always is when it comes to this. He is much more able to accept the realities about people than I am. Going back to my 2nd sentence here, I just proved myself right, because I don’t know how I got onto this conversation, when I had something else I came on here to say. I really didn’t know where to start.

   Life is a rollercoaster. Add MM to that and it’s a rollercoaster on steroids. For more than a year, I have been under extreme stress. Much of that was due to getting our daughter into college, and wondering if we were doing the right thing for us, financially, to not take the cheapest way of getting her a degree. MAJOR decisions were being made that I knew we could regret later. It’s a constant battle in our lives, between these two opponents in the ring…….living for today in this corner, and trying to prepare for the unknown future in that one. I’m tired of making decisions at all by this time in my life and with all the responsibility I’ve shouldered for so long. But the decisions we’ve been hit with recently are of the HUGE, life changing variety and they just cripple my brain sometimes. The end result is that my daughter is in the college she chose. It’s a private school 1 mile from the beach. She got a BIG scholarship to it, but, the hard facts are, if we’d done community college for 2 years and then commuting to any number of good universities within driving distance of our home, we could probably cut 100K off the price of her bachelors degree, maybe even more. Just typing that has my pulse quickening. UGH.

   On top of that, right after she committed to this college and we sent the deposits in, we were told Tim’s numbers were getting to the point of needing to go back on treatment, after more than 8 years off it. Timing is everything. So, we take this big leap of faith and are just trying to get comfortable with the decision and life says, “not so fast.” Tim is resolute that he wants her to be where she wants to be and not make her decision based on his cancer. But, I know that it is a factor in everything in our lives, whether we want it to be or not. The last few months have been a whirlwind of emotions for us both. We hoped he still had more time off meds. Then, an appointment with our usual specialist last month, and the biggest jump so far in his Kappa number since his m-spike reappeared in 2011, dashed our hopes of that. So yesterday, we go for his appointment, knowing he will be on chemo within a week or so. We’ve got a tentative plan and a batch of questions for the doc. Then we see his labs and his numbers didn’t change this month. His m-spike even ticked down a hair. We don’t think it means much really, because we are still at numbers that the other doc said he should start treating, and this guy says, “to heck with this. Your numbers stayed stable this month and aside from that one tick in your Kappas last time, your graph is still pretty flat and not climbing fast. I see no reason why you can’t go through the holidays and not have to deal with chemo until afterward.” HUH? And just like that, the MM rollercoaster swoops us in the other direction. Needless to say, we are thrilled. A reprieve is a reprieve and we’ll take it. As we walked outta there, visions of a few more months of our “near normal” swimming in our heads, I said to Tim, “life just keeps on changing.” And that’s really the only thing that’s sure. Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where we feel relatively safe and comfortable and would like to freeze frame there, but, it ain’t gonna happen. In the last few days, my mood has gone from terribly depressed, to pretty great, and everything in between, it seems. It’s not easy to live like that. But, that’s the way it works with MM, as well as other things in life. You can drive yourself crazy trying to avoid those hairpin turns and stay on an even keel, but, life is gonna throw shit at ya anyway. Hopefully, you can get up enough spunk and indignation to hurl some back.

   In the case of the people I spoke about earlier, they didn’t understand something about me when they thought they were going to get away with mistreating me forever. I have this thing, way down deep, it’s called self respect. I know who I am and, despite all my faults, I know, without a doubt, that I am one of the good guys. And I don’t deserve to be treated like crap. (There’s also this gutsy,fiery red-head thing that factors in, but that’s another story.) And as for MM, I don’t know why Tim has gotten “lucky” with this LONG reprieve, despite a failed auto and super high numbers at diagnosis, but I like to think part of it was his refusal to accept what some of these docs told him years ago. Those were some very grim things they predicted for him and I feel like he said, “eff that!”
Maybe Tim got mad. Maybe God finally answered the prayers that so many of us were saying on Tim’s behalf. Maybe it was a group effort between us and his doctors, with a lot of luck thrown in. I suppose it was a whole lot of things combined. I don’t think attitude is everything, as some people believe, and I think that causes guilt in people who have cancer sometimes, when someone tries to tell them that their attitude determines everything. For me, I think your attitude can at least help with quality of life, if not quantity, but it’s not the whole deciding factor. But, I think a fair amount of spunk and being pissed off can be helpful, quite frankly. At least, it worked for us. There is this Maya Angelou quote that goes,”I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” On Wednesday, I was really down in the dumps. Today, I’ve got the catcher’s mitts off and am hurling stuff back at life.

I may get down sometimes, but I’m not out of the game.

Onward!