The New New New New New (unwanted) Normal

Hello February~

So I’ve been thinking (as I always do), specifically this time about how my life has changed in the 5 years I’ve had Myeloma. I’ve been thinking about how different I am 5 years later after diagnosis, what I can do and no longer do, and how I do what I do has changed… and frankly, I don’t like it.

I am trying to come to terms with the incurable factor of Myeloma. I say the words, but it doesn’t sink in… except when I’ve receive not so good news at my recent monthly oncology appointment. Then I get a slap-down, eye opening reality check that I really do have cancer, it’s incurable and I have to keep increasing levels of chemo to stay alive. My blood test results below…

So humor me and forgive me for a bit of whining here. But my “disclaimer” first:
Of course, goes without saying, I am so very grateful for still being here, for all the fantastic medical care I have received over the past 5 years, grateful for all the loving, supportive, caring people in my life, and grateful for every day I wake up and can function (no matter the level of functionality or dysfunctionality lol). But dang it, I am (not so happily) coming to terms with my situation and limitations… and it’s been 5 years!

I am frustrated that I am so limited everyday by how tired I am, how fatigued I am and how little I can do as a result of being so tired and fatigued.
I am frustrated that all the side effects from my medications (and this cancer) limit my ability to spontaneously go places, do things I used to do, play, work, and just live and laugh as I did.

I don’t like that I don’t feel as funny, light-hearted as I used to…life just isn’t as funny now as it used to be.
Life isn’t as carefree and playful as I used to try and make my life. This may sound trite and superficial to you, but I’ve always been such a deep, thoughtful, analytical person, that I wanted the other side of my life to be light and breezy, sunny and silly, spontaneous and goofy. Cancer takes a lot of that feeling away, as a cancer diagnosis, treatment and the “new normal” isn’t that fun or funny.

Life is just more serious now
Life is more painful
Life is more exhausting
Life is too full of too many “what ifs” and “whens”
Life for me is too much time in the bathroom or wondering what I can do before the “volcano” erupts
Life for me now is centered around which daily medications, when I can take them, what I can eat that won’t cause GI distress
Life is “eating to live”, but knowing “chew and poo” is looming

Life now is about looking at my life and wondering what the heck happened to me and why
Life now is wishing I could spontaneously saddle up and ride on a beautiful day
Life now is the awareness of too many changes, and too little time left
Life now being aware that my situation won’t magically get better, my cancer won’t disappear, or “be cured”
No, I am not being pessimistic, or being negative. I am an educated realist regarding the course of Myeloma

Life now is centered around taking meds and wondering how they will affect me, and I’d better be close to my bathroom or another… but that is also (by choice) a huge limitation to me. I (choose) to not be out and about just doing whatever, and then suddenly realizing I need to be in the bathroom NOW!!!!
See, my meds, IgA Myeloma, my Stem Cell Transplant, continuing chemo, etc, have so dramatically changed my GI system that I just can’t spontaneously go places and do things as I once did.
Of course, as I write this, I just caught a glimpse of a horseback rider on the ridge, riding through the oak trees on this beautiful day. Why “can’t” I do this? Because I’m too tired, too weak, too fatigued, too nauseous, too dizzy and can’t risk a fall as I have fragile bones now, and what if my GI system screams NOW and I’m not close to a bathroom.. maybe I’ll just buy one of these thrones since I spend so much time there!

I wonder what my color options are ;)

Ok, enough lamenting. Life is good for what it is. I still can clear my “system”, not eat (so no chance of GI reactions), and go into work for a few hours, impact a few students’ lives, see my colleagues that make me laugh and inspire me, and do a few things around home with my family and animals that make me happy!

My blood tells all:
WBC = 2.5 (normal 4.0 – 11)
ANC = 1.1 (normal 1.8 – 7.7)
Received a Neupogen shot at this last appointment

M-Protein = 1.25 (normal = 0.0 zero)
IgA = 1450 (normal = 70-400)

Yes, my Doctors want me to increase Revlimid
Yes, my Doctors want me to add in Velcade (IV or Sub-Q)

Yes, I should
No, I am scared of more side effects
Yes, I want quality of life, not more time in the bathroom, and additional Neuropathy

So I am alternating 4 days Revlimid 15mg, with 3 days Revlimid 10mg weekly for 3 weeks, to get my body ready to accept full 15mg next month (along with all the other meds I take: Acyclovir (anti-Shingles), Mepron(Atovaquone) pneumocystis pneumonia preventative, and my nemesis bi-polar Dexamethasone

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February 5, 2015 is the 5th anniversary of my dear Mother’s death 
from evil Alzheimer’s

And so I carry on- 1 pill, 2 pills, 3 pills, 4 pills, 5 pills at a time.

5 horses…

  Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can!