Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Must think

It was chemo today. This wraps up another cycle of maintenance. Velcade, revlimid, dex ,rest and repeat. Later this week I do my 24 hour urine collection and give 4 tubes of blood. My monthly labs. I thought about asking Phan if I can skip this month. Frankly I could use a break from carrying around at work a small cooler that contains my pee. I've become a creature of habit. Changes are frowned upon. So as I thought about asking him, I realized that I didn't want to alter my routine. Thus labs it is.

I did ask Dr Phan his thoughts about assisted suicide and the recently passed law in California that allows it. His answer surprised me and led to a whole range of health industry topics. My motivation for asking is that I've been putting some thought into what I do if I got to the point where no treatment was working and my myeloma was worsening. I feel great right now, so I think that makes it a bit easier to think about death. Part of me thinks me having cancer isn't even real. Death smeath. It's 25 years away, at least. That is ages from now. Conversely part of me can't imagine myself without cancer. It's just here, plane and simple.It's part of my character, if you will. That part of me is a bit more pessimistic and thinks that any day could be the day that I start downward. Scary. Either way, I am confident that I need a plan for not having to prolong the inevitable. Note please, I'm absolutely not saying I'd get a head start on dying. But if I saw it coming, I should have an exit strategy. 

Given the above and the fact that know one should have to suffer, I was glad to hear that California approved the assisted suicide law. Phan took a whole different position, of which I won't get into specifics. But let's just say he didn't think the law was necessary. Add in a conversation abut the health industry and I felt like I was allowed behind the curtain.

The past 3 weeks have been whirlwind. I've been busy, traveling, living life. I felt like I was doing what I should be doing given my diagnosis. Two weeks ago we went to a wedding in Palm Springs, a desert resort two hours east of Los Angeles. A mini vacation for us. I immediately followed this with a trip to Boston, which was an amazing experience, Came home on a Weds night and was at chemo the next day. Then I worked for a week. It was a tough week, simply because I felt like the week before I had been free. And then poof, I'm a desk jockey. zzzzzzz.

This past Friday I went to visit my mom in Northern California. She's recovering from hip replacement surgery and could use a hand. I spent 4 days with her. She is doing fantastic. Less than 2 weeks after surgery and she's moving around like a champ. Seriously impressive. She's an amazing mom. I also got to see a nephew and a niece plus a beautiful young great niece and great nephew. I returned home last night and today went to work and the gym and chemo. It's a real slap in the face, coming from 4 days of relaxation and going to never ending days where I have to be on task and focused. I gotta work. I must go the gym. doubt mandatory.

I operate on a monthly calendar, based on my treatment, lab work and doctor visit schedule. Despite this monthly pattern or perhaps because of it, the days and weeks and months and year are passing by much too quickly. I'm towards five years and life is pretty normal. But guess maybe that sucks. I've had this life altering experience. I need to be out there embracing life. I strongly suggest following the link in a recent post that connected to a great story in the New York Times by young cancer survivor Suleika Jaouad. It's the story behind her 100 day road trip. It's brilliant and motivating. Tomorrow is a whole day at work and frankly I am dreading it. Perhaps it's the dex and such that have me thinking this way.

These past weeks have been a whirlwind. It has proved to myself that I can move around and do things despite myeloma and all that goes with it. I'm proud of myself I must say. I survived the whirlwind. I am damn strong. But it's also shown that I need to make moving around and exploring a mainstay, not a rarity. Think Matt


  1. As a Vikes fan, maybe this will make you feel better?

  2. Matt, let's keep updated on the assisted suicide thing. I don't want to be the guy laying there with someone squirting morphine in my mouth and everyone on death watch. Someone needs to get the conversation started. Surprised it's you!


Berenson Oncology Success Rate

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