Today I had my first visit with my new leading oncologist, Dr K. My initial oncologist, Dr Boyer, was awesome and I was so sad when he transitioned the last of his multiple myeloma patients over to Dr Zangari. Dr Boyer was going to only see leukemia patients. I never met with Dr Zangari because before I could, he announced that he was leaving to head up the University of Arkansas' MM program. I hate seeing new oncologists. It makes me nervous because I'm afraid a new doctor will tell me something that flies in the face of something the last oncologist told me and that could be bad news.
When I first was diagnosed at Kaiser in San Diego (while my husband was sending me texts about what a lazy lying loser I was who was only after his non-existent money), Dr Raja assured me that I would be around for a long time. When I transitioned to the University of Utah, I didn't sleep for days because I was so afraid of what Dr Boyer might tell me. When I got a second opinion at LDS Hospital, and a third opinion at Mayo Clinic, same thing-- fear, no sleeping, anxiety. And this was only slightly different. I didn't lose sleep, but I was definitely dreading it.
So today was it. Dr K is from Switzerland and my secondary oncologist, Dr Patel, from India. And guess what? I like them both! Dr K said that MM is becoming more and more seen as a chronic disease. I never thought I'd be so happy and relieved to hear that I have a chronic disease but, hey, when one is fighting cancer, any news that's not a death sentence is reason to celebrate. And so I will. No change in my protocol-- simply stay the course for now. That means my year of maintenance will end in late October/early November, and then we'll talk about another year or maybe more of staying on Thalidomide/Dex. Dex is awful-- the side effects can be intense, but I will power through it. Yes, I experience incredible fatigue at time. I do have bone pain that ebbs and flows. Chemo brain rages. But I'm here and I'm embracing life and all the good things I can. I'm learning about myself and becoming a better person every day (or at least I'm trying!).
Grandma Kay left today and I miss her already. Visiting with her was such a nice respite. She's a great woman-- kind, thoughtful, sweet, generous, honest and good. I love her and her family as if they were my own.
You know, my ex husband used to tell me that I had no friends, that he had so many great friends and, well, I had no one. That was so ridiculous (though, honestly, anything he could say to try and cut me down was fair game, in his opinion). Sure, he had lots of surface friends-- friends who really don't know him one tiny bit outside of drinking and diving together. But I can honestly say that I have amazing friends who know me incredibly well. And guess what? They actually like me! And, now that I think about it, my ex husband, Bob, is the only ex I've ever had who I'm not on excellent terms with. That says quite a lot, I think!
Speaking of friends, as 4th of July approaches, I'm ecstatic to see old friends, get some sun, and create new memories. Morgan is going to go camping with Devynn (my best friend's daughter) for five days. And that'll leave plenty of Siena-Mommy time. Granted, we'll be surrounded by people so we won't really be "alone" but it'll still be fun, no doubt. I look back over the past two 4th of July's and let's see... Last year (2012) we were in Washington, DC watching the fireworks from the Iwo Jima Memorial. It was so hot and humid and I was so weak as I struggled to recover from my first of two stem cell transplants. The year prior (2011), Bob and I took Morgan, Siena and Kalie on a trip to Arkansas and Tennessee. We were at Bob's friend Kevin's parents' lake house and I was bleeding and cramping from my second miscarriage of the year. I felt like hell, both physically and emotionally. Fun times.
I often wonder why all of this happened to me. I tried to take such good care of my physical body, though I neglected my emotional and spiritual health. Because I feel God's presence so powerfully at times and I know He led me down this path for a reason, I have a theory. My marriage was so horrid that it's unbelievable to me sometimes. I desperately wanted my husband to leave and never come back, but come back he did, again and again and again. Always with a promise to get help, quit drinking, and become a good man. Of course, that never happened. And me, too weak and distracted and tired to continually fight and actually force a divorce, allowed him to come back and for the abuse to continue. I wonder if God allowed this horrible disease to grow because it forced me out of that abusive relationship. I literally had no choice but to run away when I got sick-- and run away fast. Maybe God is taking care of me on the other side of illness-- I believe He will somehow save my life but in order to do that, He had to force me to end my marriage first. If that's true, well, maybe somehow this is worth it. Gosh, that's hard to write. Cancer is never worth it. But I have to believe that God knows best. He saved me once from horror (my marriage) and I know he'll save me this time around (from disease).