Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From 30,000 feet to Ground Level

I'm part of a team working on a massive bridge project here at the Port.  One of my responsibilities is to facilitate the relocation of active and abandoned oil wells that are in the footprint of the new bridge. It's actually pretty darn interesting.  But this morning, driving in, I realized there is a sort of comparison between this bridge planning effort and my medical issues. 

People at work often like to say they are looking at  a project from the 30,000 foot level. It basically means your looking at something from up high, getting a lay of land, and figuring out the basic goal. At 30,000 feet you aren't "getting into the weeds". You aren't getting into all the fine details of a project at 30,000 feet.  A year ago, we were at 30,000 feet with the bridge and oil effort. We knew what had to happen, when it had to happen and that was about it. are in the weeds. Almost every day there is a new issue, a new problem, a different person freaking out about a problem.  What we try to remind folks is that having daily issues is a good thing. It means we making progress and really doing the work. All good. Stressful at time? Yes. Moving forward? Yes.

I kind of see my myeloma the same way (at least today I do).  A year ago, we were at 30,000 feet. The goal was to keep me alive, to find a drug mix that worked and that was it. I feel like I'm experiencing daily problems. Problems I didn't face a year ago. My team came up with a drug and treatment program that works. But now different smaller things keeping arising.  My teeth are more sensitive...a result of all the steroids I'm taking.  I have osteopenia...weakening of bones, again due to the steroids and the myeloma.  I've got bags under my eyes. I was bit by a dog...scary cause of my immune system and scary because it was close to my fistula. (And scary for the my Mom's dog....guilt on my end with that)  I'm puffy, fat, old.  My memory and ability to think straight is impacted by chemobrain. My eyes are getting worse.  I worry about my purpose in life, my legacy.  All things that last year would have seemed trivial when we were looking at myeloma from 30,000 feet. Now we're in the weeds, on the ground.  New issues pop up. I freak out. I get depressed.  Right now I'd love to crawl into a hole and escape from everyone and basically be wasted all the time. I want my brain to shut off.  But I suppose that's a good thing. It means I've made progress with getting a handle on my disease. There's going to be hiccups along the way. But I need to deal with them and keep moving forward. I'm generally back to living normal and all that.

I feel like I need to end this post with a "what's my point?"  My point is I need to allow myself to get down once in a while. It'll pass.  People around me shouldn't worry. I'm still moving forward and treating the myeloma. It's all good. Just like with the bridge.  We're moving forward. Things are happening.


  1. Well, of course, I worry - BUT - I understand. Love ya, Mom
    And Max is fine!

  2. This is a great post, Matt. Despite all that you are dealing with, you are a really great writer! Sending good thoughts...



Berenson Oncology Success Rate

 Some reading about my myeloma specialist's success rate. A press release and an article from Targeted Oncology.