Today I would like to give a shout-out to my good friend and the inspiration for my 4th book, Richard “Radar” Blustein. Richard checked-in to Moffitt Cancer Center February 11th to undergo his first stem cell transplant. While I was merrily celebrating my birthday, Richard was having a catheter surgically implanted in his chest so he would be ready for high dose chemotherapy later that evening.
Fortunately, Richard had already had his stem cells harvested, so he could get started right away. Richard’s stem cells were infused back into his body February 13th.
As those of us who have undergone the procedure understand, this means his blood counts are at their lowest point now. I was planning to visit him yesterday, but the staff was concerned about infection risk. Hopefully I can see him next week.
In the meantime I want to wish Richard, his wife Susan, and his amazing daughters, Carly and Lisa–pictured here with her father–my best. While walking our dog, Finnegan, this evening, Pattie stopped, turned around and said, “I’m sure Richard’s transplant is going to work!” Call it a feeling. Call it intuition. All I can say is, “We’re pulling for you, Radar!”
Why Radar? That’s the nickname I gave Richard, based on Radar O’Reily character in MASH. Remember Radar? He was ingenious at finding ways to help get things his unit needed without spending money. That’s Richard! His presentation to our support group, featuring a half dozen ways they could save money on their myeloma therapy, inspired my new book, Financial Aid for Myeloma Patients and Caregivers.
Richard was kind enough to pass-along his sources, and proudly explain how he had never paid a penny for his myeloma-related medical care. Thanks to Richard’s suggestions, I was able to save thousands of dollars myself last year, including reimbursement of all my health care premiums.
Richard has had a copy of my second book, Stem Cell Transplants from a Patient’s Perspective, for months. Reading tips from dozens of others that have traveled the same journey helps. But I’m not sure anything can prepare you for how it feels to have your white and platelet counts crash to near zero.
It only gets better from here, good friend! I remember how hard and discouraging it was around day ten. But my counts started to recover day twelve. I started to feel better almost overnight. Try to eat something, hydrate, get up and get walking! YOU CAN DO THIS!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat