To be truly thankful. That word has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Three years ago today I can remember waking up in the hospital in my transplant bubble lonely, sad and scared. Instead of cooking and baking and preparing all the yummy fixings for the the big feast, I was lying in bed barely able to sit up. I wasn’t going to be watching the Macy’s parade in our pjs with the kids or having them help me set the table with our china we use twice a year. I remember wanting to just sleep the day away hoping the pain and sadness would melt away.
Flash forward three years….. I am sitting here today in my kitchen, puppies at my feet under the table, hot cup of coffee by my side, blessed beyond my dreams. I am fortunate enough to be in “remission”. Three years out, and there is no M-Spike present, ( Monoclonal Protein Level). Unfortunately, some of my Myeloma friends are not so lucky. Many have had recent relapses. Why not me? This is a constant reminder to me of how truly fortunate I am. Myeloma is still an incurable cancer, the goal is to keep it dormant for a long as possible. Today I am thankful my Myeloma is still sleeping!
Having a diagnosis of an incurable cancer has brought on many other challenges. Learning to live truly present and to engage back in life has been my biggest challenge yet. I think for so long I just wanted to get better and get back to living like a “normal person”. What I learned is that things were not going to be back to normal. In fact they never would again. How could they? I am not the same person I was back in 2010. After many sessions with my therapist, some good anti-depressant drugs, a very patient and understanding and loving husband, and learning to let go of guilt, I am re-engaging back in life. I am learning that it is ok to say the word “no” and to spend my time doing things that are good and positive for me. That includes learning to nurture those relationships in my life that are positive and to let relationships go that are draining and negative. It has not been easy to get to this point. However, I know that it is what I need to do to continue on this growing path. At times guilt sneaks up. That is when I need to dig deep and remind myself how hard I have worked to get to where I am today. I don’t expect everyone around me to have the same “live in the moment outlook” that I have. Heck it took me a cancer diagnosis and facing my own mortality to truly get it. However, what I do know is that for me it is critical to surround myself with things and people that fill my life and not drain it.
It amazes me the people and opportunities that have recently come into my life. I have learned so much about myself and continue to everyday. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams with talented incredible people at work who have encouraged and inspired me to take risks and trust my instincts. And have provided me with an outlet for a passion that I have always had. I am thankful for the wonderful friends I have made at work who have become family to me. And I’m sure my husband thanks them too as he is painting our cherry cabinets white. Lol! He is a saint for putting up with me:)
I am thankful for friends and family who continue to fill my life with love and laughter. Who remind me everyday how good it feels to be happy.
I am thankful for a strong body with no chronic pain. This past October Mike and I ran the BayState Marathon together. We had a great race and it was so awesome to do it together. Mike taught me to train and fuel correctly and it was great to cross the finish line smiling and not being carried off to the med tent. Will I do another one? Absolutely. Just waiting to find the right one. Since the marathon, I run a couple days a week. No schedule, I just do it when it feels good. I’ve also started back up with kickboxing/crossfit classes. I’m trying to get there 3 days a week. Again, no pressure, doing things when they feel right.
My kids have really been the source of my inspiration. Everyday they amaze me. When I find myself getting caught up in a “Myeloma Moment” they can snap me out of quicker than anyone or anything. I am so thankful for my 4 beautiful angels who are truly a blast to be around. Being their mom is my greatest accomplishment in life.
Yesterday we just booked tickets for my parents to come here for Christmas. This will be the first time my dad will be here for Christmas in over 12 years. My parents have been Mike and my greatest support during the past few years. Our relationship is on a level that is so precious and we truly love having them here. I am so thankful to have my parents and am looking forward to making incredible memories this holiday.
I am grateful for Dr. Munshi, Dr Hakemian, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and all of my Myeloma friends. I am blessed to be here 3 years later after my stem cell transplant. And I continue to be filled with hope for the future. Although no one knows when I will relapse, I know there will be options and treatment available, as well as a whole network of support. Today I am truly grateful for all that is.
I am dedicating this blog entry to my husband Mike. Words cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for him. Over the past 3 years, he has been right by my side. He has supported me, loved me, held me and lifted me up countless times when I needed it most. I am sure that it has not been easy for him. The diagnosis, the unknown, the depression. But he is there for me. He is truly the one constant in my life that I can always count on. I love you Michael Dreyer.
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by all the blessings in your life.