Tomorrow when I (hopefully) feel better, I will post more about the exciting technical aspects of my trip to Boston. Some pretty amazing advances will be coming soon to an oncologist’s office near you! But first, I want to share some personal health issues with you that I have had to deal with the past few days. My mother-in-law, Marie Doyle, is in her mid-80’s and in poor health. My wife, Pattie, has already re-located to Florida to start a new career in health care. I have remained behind to sell our home and continue to work in Minnesota and Wisconsin real estate.
The next step is to get Marie moved down to Florida with my wife. But, for now, I am caring for her here in western Wisconsin. Marie has been suffering from a number of “gut” and stomach related issues for weeks. The nursing home staff assumed it was food poisoning. Seemed logical, considering the way Marie tends to keep open food around to finish the next day. So there I am, along with my depressed white blood and neutrophil counts from my monthly chemo, spending lots of time in close proximity to her, helping with her food, cleaning the room, etc. It wasn’t food poisoning! Friday I started feeling stomach distress. Pain and gas. Unusual for me. I’m the guy that eats ten or twelve servings of veggies daily – My gut is pretty strong. By my Boston Trip on Monday I was really hurting. I still made the trip, thank goodness, but felt like crap! Last night I was up all night sitting on the “porcelain throne.” I will spare you all the runny details! Let’s just say there were several times where dying didn’t seem like such a bad idea! And that’s my point. We can all relate to how bad it feels to have the flu, or food poisoning, or cancer related nausea. The difference between the amazing myeloma survivors I met earlier this week in Boston is, no matter how bad it got or gets, they haven’t given up! I know a number of myeloma patients that have done just that – given up. Fed up with the needles and pills, with the chemo and sleepless nights, with the worry and emotional toll cancer takes on both patient and family. They decide to let go. They stop treatment and, in the case of advanced multiple myeloma, die soon thereafter. I’m not saying either way is right or wrong. It is a difficult, personal choice. But I do want my readers to know I thought about Jim and the other new inspirational friends I met, and will soon introduce to you, as I sat there in the dark bathroom last night. It helped! A few days, a week or even two weeks of gastric distress is one thing. But when the pain becomes chronic and the future looks dim – that is when we all need to dig deep and gather strength from our friends, family and other survivors who care for us and can relate to how we feel. I have a wonderful, ever growing group of family and friends to help me through the dark days to come. And for that I am eternally grateful!
Feel good, stay positive and keep smiling! Pat