Geraldine Ferraro’s death continues to generate lots of interest among the multiple myeloma community. Here is a link to an article which is a perfect example of this:
What is Multiple Myeloma? What are the Symptoms & Risk Factors That Took the Life of Geraldine Ferraro?
Two emails I received yesterday touched-on important aspects about what we can learn–and how we feel about–Geraldine Ferraro’s death.
One reader expressed a form of relief that she did not “die from multiple myeloma.” After all, this reader wrote, “Geraldine Ferraro died from pneumonia, not myeloma.”
Reliable news reports support this. Apparently, Ms. Ferraro entered the hospital to address severe bone pain. But before any procedure could be performed, she developed pneumonia and her compromised immune system couldn’t fight it off.
But isn’t that dying from myeloma? If we can take one, very small comfort from all of this, it is that most myeloma patients I know who pass away, feel very little pain, and seem to die peacefully. Not a prolonged, six month struggle, all drugged-up and suffering. But relatively swiftly, with manageable discomfort, dying in a matter of a few days or weeks.
I’m sure there are exceptions to this. But this is my experience. I guess it just depends how far along a patient or caregiver is on the path to acceptance, whether one views this as a silver lining.
A second reader wanted me to pass along his warning: Stay out of the hospital whenever possible! Geraldine Ferraro’s story reminded him how important it is to avoid situations which might negatively affect our already compromised immune system.
Good advice! As I prepare for my upcoming stem cell transplant, the hope is I will be able to stay at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, rather than confined in a hospital ward for a month, exposed to who knows what kind of scary bacteria and viruses.
I think Ms. Ferraro would be pleased to know how important she was to the multiple myeloma community. Her death is helping raise awareness–and hopefully more funds for research. She has been such an inspiration to so many of us. Her dignified presence will be missed.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat