This post is going to be quite the juxtaposition from the last. I am still feeling okay and getting good care here at Dana Farber. But, starting late in the day on Friday it felt like a lot was coming at me all at once.

It started with a call from the visiting nurse company assigned to deliver the supplies and give me the instruction for me to flush my PICC line myself every day at home. I really am fine doing that, I’ve seen it done again and again in the hospital.  The problem was the woman on the phone. She was irritated with an end of the day on a Friday request for service on Monday. Plus I work, which is an inconvenience for them. And then she needed to know which doctor would sign the nursing plan. I gave her my list of doctors but I did not (and do not) know who will sign off on the plan. I finally got to the point where I asked her if I should not leave the hospital with the PICC line in – she was giving me no confidence that she could get everything done for me on Monday. She then backed down a little bit, but basically insisted on leaving it open and me with some doubt.

Shortly after that I checked my email and I had received the calendar and more information in preparation for the stem cell transplant.  There were some surprises in there for sure. A whole packet of information regarding dental evaluation and treatment that needs to be done before the transplant. Stressful for me because a.) I am in between dentists and b.) I am trying to not miss so much work.

And then there are all the details of the SCT and how much time I will be away from home (it is looking like a little over 3 weeks, if all goes well). Never mind the side effects of the treatment and transplant itsself.

And then there are all of the restrictions after discharge once I am home. And how long they last.

And I have to get a wig.

Oy. It will be okay. As a few wise people have reminded me in the last day, one ting at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time.

I was talking to Sarah today and I started to “be concerned” about not being able to bring my own toiletries for my stem cell admission and what would my hair look like without my bevy of hair products, and then, we remembered – I won’t have any hair!

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I never thought I’d be writing a blog, and certainly not one that is all about me, and yet, here I am. For me life has always been interesting, not mundane, not always exciting per se, but hardly ever the norm. When I say “It’s always something…” I don’t hear it as my life is a mess, it;s always something. It’s more of life is challenging and evolving and messy and inspiring and wondrous, it’s always something. I grew up in suburbia, buy my grandfather was the head of the Communist Party in the U.S. I was raised keeping that a secret, so that was something. I am tall, always have been, really tall (6’1″), I was taller than every human being in my elementary school when I was in 6th grade, that is still something. My parents divorced in my teens. I got a full basketball scholarship to Duke University. I married my high school basketball coach, 18 years my senior. I raised a stepson. I had two amazing kids of my own. We had a multicultural household, secular christian (I guess that’s what I would call it, you know Santa and the Easter Bunny) and Judaism, I used to say if it was a holiday – we celebrated it! We were uber involved in our community, mostly through youth athletics, coaching, managing and spectating. Our kids grew up, I started a photography business on the side (I hope to share some photos here) and we planned to travel a bit together, went to Portugal for our 25th anniversary and then my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, initially they gave him 5 years, but he only survived for a little over two. I was going to say lived, but really, it was more like surviving. That, indeed, was something. I became a widow at 49. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. But, then it was something in another way. I relearned who I was. You don’t realize how much of you becomes a combination of you and another person in a relationship. And not in a bad way, it is essential, and you don’t lose yourself, you just evolve. And I found myself suddenly alone, and learning about myself and who I had become over the years, what was just me, and what was part of who we were together. Which in retrospect, was probably hardest on those around me who had gotten used to the old me, or never even knew the original me. A year later I found love again. Sold my home of 31 years and moved closer to work. I became more fit, ate more healthfully and was amazed that I could be happy, truly happy, in the wake, no not wake, but the shadow of such profound grief. And that is truly something, something amazing and unexpected. And then, through some routine blood work in April 2014, and a visit to a hematologist and bone marrow biopsy in May, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. And so, yes, for me right now it’s multiple myeloma, but that is not all, there are still highs and joys, and the mundane and the rest, but something like cancer does cast a pretty long shadow.

4 thoughts on “Overwhelmed”

  1. Yes. One moment at a time. As things come at you, take them one at a time. And work will wait for you. They know how important you are.. They’ll make do until you can be there.

    I knew only a small part of this when Sue went through it. I was awed by how she was able to keep everything going. And I’m certain you will do just fine.

    Love you.


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