Saturday, November 28, 2009

Four more years! Four more years!

I'm writing this post in case someone recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma has stumbled across my blog. No doubt you've already been online for a while, reading a whole bunch of scary information and statistics, including the one about how you have three years to live. Well, here I am, and today is my fourth anniversary of being diagnosed, and I am perfectly fine. Fine.

I'm not cancer-free, and maybe I never will be cancer-free, but I am completely drug-free and also completely healthy, other than that pesky little spike in my blood. I feel perfectly normal. I exercise every day and chase around a four-year-old. My life is perfectly normal -- as long as you count driving around with a concrete goose in the back of my car "perfectly normal." I call myself "Cancer Girl", but I rarely feel like one. I spent two years on medication and, yes, the dex made me a little crazy and a lot tired and cranky, but really it could have been much worse, compared with what a lot of other cancer patients go through.

I have more than 10 million stem cells that have been sitting on ice for two years now (two years!!), and I hope those suckers never see the light of day again.

New developments in myeloma treatments are happening all the time. When I was first diagnosed, Revlimid was still in clinical trials. A year and a half later, when I needed it, it was approved by the FDA and ready for me.

I know I've been really, really lucky that my disease has so far been really lazy and non-aggressive, and I know myeloma is different in every patient. I know a lot of people need to launch a full-fledged attack on the disease right away. I just hope newly diagnosed patients find this and can know that it's possible for things to turn out OK.

Here I am, four years after being diagnosed with a "you'll-be-dead-in-three-years" disease, and I'm nowhere near death's door. I'm not even in death's driveway. Heck, right now I'd need a very fancy GPS to find death's neighborhood, and I'm not even sure I'd end up on the right street. I've never been very good with directions.


Anonymous said...

In the summer of 2009 I was diagnosed with Smoldering Multiple Myeloma. Is that what you have? It is now the end of November and I still haven't started any type of chemo because the cancer is just sitting there, doing nothing, and I hope it stays that way.

- Jim

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with MM in August and have not yet started treatment. I read your blog everday and is gives me hope. Thanks so much for relating your MM experiences - epecially your revlimid experience. I will probably go on revlimid when I start treatment. Do you know if you will go back on revlimid later or are you done with it?

Anonymous said...

Great message , great blog post.
I was diagnosed with advanced cancer (stage 4) and given a year to live almost 4 years ago. I am fine , currently stable , though I am on continual treatment . Here is to 4 more.

Laura Higging said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. As a new member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation it is always good to hear words of hope and encouragement.

Anonymous said...

So glad to know that you're doing well. I read your blog periodically (my dad has MM, so I've sought out a number of MM-related blogs) and always enjoy your writing. Best wishes for many more years of kicking MM's butt.

Pat Killingsworth said...

Way to go, Cancer Girl! No need to apologize for doing well... You deserve it! I am also doing fine, but use Revlimid each and every month. (31 cycles and counting!) I write a daily post at with lots of technical updates and links to other sites if that would help you or any of your readers. I always sign off: "Feel good and keep smiling!" Sounds like you don't need that advice! Pat

Shana from Tulsa said...

I think this is a great time to be bad with directions. I'm so glad you're doing well. Long live Cancer Girl!

Lorna and Mike said...

My partner Mike was diagnosed a week ago. Glad to hear that you are doing so well. Your daughter sounds wonderful (I've got 3 girls of my own, should I warn you about teenage hormones lol.) Thank you for giving us hope x