Sunday, December 26, 2021

Psychology of the Beard

 The other day Leslie and I were talking, and I was telling her my focus is lacking, that over the past few years, it's really worsened. I suppose you could call this chemo brain. Or it could just be I'm getting old and long time habits are worsening. It takes me forever to read a book. It's hard to just sit still and do one thing. I go to bed early and I'm exhausted at night, but I can't wait to wake up. Sleeping for me is not my favorite thing. Oh and combine the focus issues with vision changes and depth perception issues from the dreaded dex and you get Leslie not always being thrilled to be a passenger when I'm driving. I've grown to hate driving anyways and I'd rather have Leslie drive.

Normal habits have gone by the wayside. Ten plus years into myeloma and maybe, just maybe, I'm finally accepting this fact. I realized recently that I've been trying to act like nothing has changed in my life. But life has changed tremendously. I'm not going to be running any marathons or riding any centuries. Mixed drinks are out. But I can walk, and walk and walk. The other day I did a ten mile walk. It's pretty darn glorious and I plan to go on some epic walks/hikes in 2022.

Back in the day, pre-cancer and pre-being 60, if I needed a change, I'd change things up. Change jobs, change cars, get a haircut. I'd love the feel of going from unruly hair to slick, neat hair. It fired me up. I felt like a champ. When I turned 44, I created my 45 by 45 list. 45 things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 45. This pre-dated the whole bucket list phenomena, so please don't call it that. On the list was for me to grow a beard. I had never had any facial hair up until this point. And turns out, the beard really shook things up. What was unexpected was how it changed how I was perceived at work. The beard got me more respect. My opinion became more valued. And I liked to think it put a smattering of fear into people. I looked meaner and felt more important with the beard. I've had it probably 90% of the time since first growing it in 2006. I shaved it off the other day. My face needed a break, I needed a break. Oh and as a side note, as time goes by and work is farther away in my rear view mirror, the more my ire is raised. Even with the beard, I wasn't treated great by some folks in charge. I'm not sure I was necessarily singled out. It's that the system isn't designed to treat employees as individuals. I was a cog and either I could fulfill my role or someone else could. ...asap. Nonetheless, it felt and still feels personal. My co-workers and friends were awesome and so supportive, but a handful of folks....oye.

And speaking of changes, I saw that the Mirage Hotel in Vegas is becoming a Hard Rock Hotel. The Mirage is where I got so sick right before I was diagnosed in 2011. I thought I was gonna die right there in the middle of the casino. The old Hard Rock Hotel was off the strip and is where my friends John and Doreen got married in 1995. It was a pretty great spot. Three years ago, I made my first visit to Vegas in many years and we spent time at the Mirage. I needed to close the loop from feeling so sick there in 2011. 

Once, if ever, Covid calms down, I plan to go to Vegas with a friend. And in the spirit of accepting the fact that I've slowed down, it'll be a different sort of trip. A bit mellower if you will.

I'm not writing as much. It's just lost some of the thrill, plus it's hard for me to sit and write. For instance, as I write this I am watching the Vikings (who are losing...natch). I'm doing well health-wise. Little things pop up now and again, but nothing that is noteworthy. I've been on Darzalex, Pomalyst and Dex for five freaking years now. It's pretty darn remarkable. Like how did that happen? It's awesome but a bit of a mystery. And I better toe the straight and narrow to show gratitude for this good fortune. Conversely, I could say fuck it, I'm gonna do whatever I want since this is all bonus time. For a tried and true Libra, finding balance between these two divergent paths is a real mental and physical challenge. 

And speaking of writing, a few years ago I wrote a screenplay called Buy the Vikings. It's quite a great story, if I do say so myself. I just need someone in the biz to read it. I've started working on a new screenplay called When the Chips are Down. It'll be a bit autobiographical, a bit fantasy and a bit dystopian. I'm excited to finish it. Sadly, with my focus challenges, it's taking me a long time to write it. I'm getting there though....carrying around a box of 3x5 cards to jot down notes when something hits me. It's a necessary adjustment. Just like almost everything I do, I've had to adjust. Sure I might kick and scream with some of the changes, but I'm confident it'll all work. Or am I?

Oh and let's briefly talk vaccines. I had 3 doses of Pfizer. Berenson checked my antibodies after the second and third dose. No antibodies from either. Leslie had a good response from her two Pfizer shots and will be getting her booster this week. Studies indicate Myeloma patients aren't generally getting a good response from the vaccines. But the studies also show that Moderna might be a bit better for myeloma patients. I got a first full dose of Moderna the other day.  We'll check antibodies in about two weeks. So we're staying safe and staying close to home. And if anyone hasn't been it!

Happy new year everyone.

1 comment:

  1. This picture is you. Happy New Year to you and Leslie. Keep up the good work.
    Love ya, Mom


Berenson Oncology Success Rate

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