The son of a newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patient recently shared his feelings about his mother’s multiple myeloma diagnosis. His rhetorical question: How can I/will I ever be able to feel normal again? How does one overcome the fear for a loved one’s life—a fear the cancer will return?
I wanted to share this special and memorable e-mail response from Barbara, known to many as “BoogieBarb,” a blogger and long term multiple myeloma survivor:
I just want to add to all the other voices who have shared their ways of
coping. I can really identify with the “loss of innocence” that comes the
moment one hears that they have cancer. It’s the end of believing that we
are invulnerable. It’s sort of like when a kid finally realizes that there
s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy. Or when one’s first love breaks up with
s. Or when our parents divorce. Or when they die.
There are any number of things that chip away at that innocence. None of
us make it much past 30 without having something rattle our very being. As
life keeps adding heartbreaks on us, eventually we learn how to navigate
the mine field that is “adulthood.” And, eventually, we do begin learning
how to navigate these crises.
How do we achieve that “inner peace?” For me it came when I was blessed to
work at a senior citizen recreation center. I got to see people square
dancing two weeks after they had lost their spouse. I remember one woman
signing up for a day trip because she wouldn’t be getting chemo until the next
day. From these wonderful people, I found the resiliency of the human
spirit. I found that I, too, survived the death of my parents, the loss of
the love of my life, and then, my diagnosis with myeloma. MY peace of mind
comes from knowing that I’ll still get up each day and try to do something
worthwhile – from solving a hard crossword puzzle to enjoying 4-year-olds in
a Head Start Program. Some days are better than others, but that’s just life.
For me, inner peace comes from knowing that I’ve become that resilient
senior adult that I once so admired. I’m one of them now, and couldn’t be
Still hangin’ in,
Amen, Barbara! I have received several e-mails on this topic this week. A monthly guest columnist at The Myeloma Beacon, Lou Ganim, wrote an especially memorable column this month, sharing his thoughts and feelings about how one’s life changes following a cancer diagnosis. I highly recommend you read Lou’s column: Birds in Spring: I Just Want My Old, Carefree Life Back!
I came to peace with my multiple myeloma diagnosis long ago by accepting and embracing my cancer. I now spend much of each day writing about multiple myeloma and meeting other cancer patients, caregivers and survivors. Helping othrs has helped me cope. But just because embracing my multiple myeloma has worked for me, doesn’t mean this approach is right for others. We all need to go through the painful process of, as Barbara writes, “the ‘loss of innocence’ that comes the moment one hears that they have cancer. It’s the end of believing that we are invulnerable.”
Thanks for sharing, Barbara! I hope your insight can help our newly diagnosed readers deal with their “new normal.”
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat