Unlike more common fantasies like winning the lottery, my dream could actually become a reality. Winning a sweepstakes or lottery involves a lot of luck. The numbers aren’t as daunting, but I would also need a bit of luck in order to live until I’m 68 years old. But we’re learning there are some things we all can do to improve our odds of living longer with multiple myeloma.
In order to scratch and claw my way toward making my hard earned, 11 year survival fantasy a reality, I will need to take charge and change my lifestyle; dump the diet soda, avoid processed foods and cut sugar from my diet.
But simply cutting-out some of the bad things from my diet won’t be enough. I need to replace them with foods that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. And I need to increase my consumption of helpful supplements like curcumin and ursolic acid, especially on chemo days.
I should exercise more and stress less. I need to get more sleep and meditate daily. I can’t neglect the rest of my body! Seeing an oncologist every month isn’t enough. Just because my myeloma is under control doesn’t mean my heart is strong. I need to see my general practitioner regularly. No way I want to survive multiple myeloma, only to die from an unrelated cause before I reach my 11 year goal.
Keeping this in mind, I need to also remain vigilant about my risk of developing secondary cancers. I’ve already been diagnosed with and undergone surgery for melanoma. I will need to do my best to avoid allowing another cancer to jump-up and bite me. A multiple myeloma patient’s risk of developing prostate, colon or some other form of cancer is higher than most. And the possibility of developing MDS or another blood cancer are significantly elevated, all thanks to years of ongoing chemotherapy. Hopefully my incredibly healthy, high fiber diet can help counteract some of that risk.
And I shouldn’t forget to add hope and a positive attitude to my list. Although data about this is mixed, common sense tells us that being hopeful should be an important part of any cancer patient’s long-term survival plan. So is getting help if one becomes sad or depressed for any extended period of time.
So if my mood tumbles down and I feel low for more than a day or two, I need to speak to my social worker and seek-out a therapist who has experience working with cancer patients.
But today my hip feels good, my myeloma is under control and now I’ve doubled-down by adding an 11 year survival plan to the mix. And Pattie and I have once again started planning for our future together. Feeling depressed is the farthest thing from my mind right now.
The anticipation of exploring exciting possibilities helps me feel alive! One more important part of my 11 year survival plan. I’m convinced that feeling productive and having a purpose for living is vitally important, too! We all need a reason to get-up and get-out of bed in the morning.
So, have I helped motivate you to set a goal and join me on my quest to beat the odds? Let’s all agree to get together and share our goals and swap multiple myeloma war stories sometime in the future. Pick a date and time–along with a dreamy tropical location–and we’ll all meet there for a fun weekend. We can enjoy some down time, watch the sunset and help motivate each other stick to our long-term survival plans.
How about sometime in the winter of 2020? That’s a nice round number!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat