Monday, April 23, 2012

No Drama

"If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present." 
 ~Lao Tzu

 It has been awhile since I have posted anything new and I have been thinking  it’s about time that I do.  Then I found this quote by Lao Tzu and recognized that it is a good reflection of how I have been feeling lately.  When I first  read it, I realized that I have been living in the present recently.  Lao Tzu’s thought explains  why I haven’t been compelled to write lately and it brought me to the conclusion it is because there has been no drama in my life of late and I am at peace. 

No drama is a good thing and I am getting used to the idea of feeling pretty normal except for energy and stamina.  I find myself going for long periods in the day without thinking about my illness or dwelling on all that has happened since that day in December of 2009 when I was sent to the hospital because of a pleural effusion.    I haven’t spent as much time online reading about multiple myeloma over the last couple of weeks and that has allowed me to keep it somewhere in the back of my mind.  One commenter to my blog made the point that it is like a Catch-22. Researching, reading and writing about multiple myeloma is helpful and cathartic, but at the same time, it tends to dominate one’s thinking.  I need to find a happy medium.

I have been feeling pretty well and my last appointment with my oncologist was routine with no surprises.  My creatinine was slightly elevated so we skipped the Zometa infusion for this month.  

Blood Counts
Latest Ref Rng
4.5-10.0 K/uL
4.0 (L)
3.6 (L)
4.20-5.20 M/uL
3.13 (L)
3.31 (L)
12.0-16.0 g/dL
11.1 (L)
11.6 (L)
31.7 (L)
33.9 (L)
Platelet Count
150-450 K/uL
Absolute Neutrophils
1.5-8.0 K/uL
Kappa Light Chain
3.3-19.4 mg/L

Lambda Light Chain
5.7-26.3 mg/L

0.26-1.65 ratio

0.60-1.40 mg/dL
1.50 (H)

The only real drama in my life right now can be found in the pages of The Hunger Games Trilogy. I have read Book 1, The Hunger Games and my daughter and I saw the movie.  We loved the book and the movie which was a faithful rendition of the story.   I have also read Book 2, Catching Fire and Book 3, Mockingjay.  This trilogy is a compelling story that did a good job of keeping my mind off my own story and I recommend it if you haven’t already read it.  

Next week, I will begin a series of Survivorship seminars at Providence Regional Cancer Partnership in Everett, WA.  The seminars will cover such topics as:
  • The Emotional Impact of Cancer
  • Healthy Choices and Self-Care
  • Finding Hope, Meaning and the New You 
  • Managing Late effects 
  • New Priorities and Living with  Uncertainty 
I’ll be back in that Catch-22.  The topics will be worthwhile and helpful, but I may be immersing myself  in my diagnosis again. I think I will try to rely on Lao Tzu’s wisdom.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sometimes Happiness Prevails

It is a sunny day in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  Our snow-covered Cascade Mountains are out in all their magnificent glory and I just drove by tons of happy families going to and from the annual Easter Egg Hunt at the park near our home.  Yesterday evening, we had a lovely dinner in Seattle to celebrate our daughter's birthday.  Today, I am busy baking orange rolls and getting the table ready for Easter Brunch.  One of the things I love to do is decorate for holidays and I can't wait to get started on the centerpiece.  Life is good and happiness is prevailing.

Multiple myeloma has not been in my thoughts today and I just realized it hadn't entered my conscious mind until now. However, I know it is there lurking somewhere in the background, so I am going to keep this post short.  I don't want to break the spell.  Happy day to all!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Knowing Who You Are

"It's a continuing journey that is there 
when you close your eyes
 and when you open your eyes, 
but it doesn't have to be who YOU ARE".  

A very close friend of mine who has suffered two bouts with breast cancer shared this thought with me and I wanted to pass it on to my readers. She is doing very well now and has been a great source of support to me.  When she sent me this, it struck a nerve because I sometimes feel like I let multiple myeloma dominate me.

A diagnosis of multiple myeloma is never far from my thoughts and I do think about it when I close my eyes at night and when I awake in the morning.  I recognize that it will probably be the story of my life forever, but it doesn't have to be who I am.  Now, if I could only practice what I preach.  My last post, Sometimes Sadness Prevails, certainly did not reflect that!

As much as I find writing this blog to be cathartic, I often wonder if it causes me to focus too intently on multiple myeloma and allow it to take up residence in my mind. Before I began researching MM on the internet and reading blogs and writing my own, I was pretty good at putting it somewhere in the hinterlands of my brain.  I suppose, at times, I was not facing reality and burying my head in the sand. I must admit there have been times when that has felt like a pretty good strategy!

Burying my head in the sand is probably not the best option for dealing with the emotional toll of this disease or any other difficulty in my life.  I think the best option is to focus on who I have been throughout my life and who I still am.  Yes, I am many things, one of which is a cancer patient.  I am also a mother, wife and daughter and a retired first grade teacher.  I adore my cats and I love art and music. Mozart makes my heart sing! I love to travel and to read and cook and bake and I love to decorate. . .I could go on and on.  My point is I am so much more than a multiple myeloma patient.  Multiple Myeloma is NOT who I am.