I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in October 2005. It came upon me so suddenly. One morning I jogged 3 miles in 33 minutes plus worked out with weights. That evening I was deathly ill with a Strep B infection. My immune system was so low that I wasn’t able to fight it off. The doctors were totally confused and so was I. Luckily, it only took about two weeks to figure out my diagnosis, but I never thought it’d be cancer! And then, such a rare cancer!
While it was such a surprise, I think I really accepted it quite well. I had worked for Sprint 17.5 years. Sprint had just merged with Nextel. I was asked to interview for a job prior to my getting ill. The Nextel Director interviewed me in person before I became ill. It was to be a promotion. When I became ill and was in the hospital, still not diagnosed, the manager interviewd me over the phone. I remember sitting indian style in my hospital bed, talking to my potential new manager. Then, I was just released from the hospital, staying at my son and daughter-in-law’s house when the Director called me and told me that I had the job. She said when she interviewed me she told them that ‘she had to have me.’ I was flattered. I was scared, too. I was scared in a way for the new job in a normal sense but I was particularly fearful because I still felt very weak. I think I’d just learned I had MM, but I didn’t understand anything about it. What was this “multiple myeloma?” Why didn’t I feel good? I was still so very tired and sick. How was I going to handle a new job?
It ended up that I was never able to return to work. But I did accept the MM. That my SCT was not successful disappointed me, but I still accepted my possible fate: death. As a matter of fact, I think in the back of my mind that I planned on death. Everything was so complicated. The cancer is complicated. My life was complicated. Then all the paperwork for insurance, disability, and whatever was all so very complicated and tiring.
I attended a few MM support group meetings in our area. I seemed to be the only one who had such difficulty walking. I wondered what was going on with me. Why was I different?
Well, I now know that I got spinal cord damage at the T8 where radiation was done on that lesion. It gave me relief to understand why I was different than the others.
It’s just wierd. In a way I had planned on dying within 5 years of diagnosis. I’m just coming up on 4 years. I think because I never felt good and then began this paralysis that I just sort of planned on checking out earlier. Living with this paralysis is miserable and it certainly would be a lot easier to just check out of here and go to the next chapter.
But, I now find myself trying to embrace my physical disabilites or limitations. It’d be a lie if I said I did embrace them and that I have totally accepted all this…spinal cord damage effects. No, it’s a journey. But this journey entails adventures I’d never experience unless this happened to me. I know God is using me right now.
But I just think….I planned on being dead by now already. It just goes to show you….you never really know.