Disclaimer: If you are new to cancer or Myeloma, this post will not be for you. If curiosity gets the better of you and you keep reading, I hope that in your difficulties as a newly diagnosed patient you won’t allow my more “seasoned” quirky humor to prevent you from exploring the rest of my blog for helpful, more serious information of value.
Some of you already know Sean Murray at Myeloma Youreloma. He is one of my most favorite Myeloma Buddies and also treated in Arkansas, like we did. My only gripe with Sean is that he doesn’t post more often to his blog because he just cracks me up! But, having said that, I totally forgive him (not that he needs my forgiveness) because it means that he is busy with his lovely girls, living his life, doing more meaningful things than blog posting about Multiple Myeloma! He also has a regular column at The Myeloma Beacon called Sean’s Burgundy Thread. Sean is a professional writer (unlike me), and in addition to his wry humor (like Nick at Nick’s Myeloma Blog), he just has a great way with words. I tend to ramble on and on… what we unprofessional writers do so well.
Anyway, he has quite a few humorous postings but this one is a good one, for those of us particularly on Arkansas’ famous “maintenance” regimen. Moonshine and Velcade.
“If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry!”
I remember the first time Dave and I were able to LAUGH, really LAUGH about his cancer. It was fabulous. It was a HUGE turning point for us. About a year after his diagnosis (we were a little slow getting to the “humor” part). He told me I was picking on him and I wasn’t supposed to do that – he had “cancer”. He looked at me with a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a suppressed smirky grin. I was unprepared. Dave doesn’t joke about such things. He is a rather serious fellow. I recovered quickly from my unexpected surprise and said, “Yeah, well, you can get another chick for this gig. Oh! Wait. You might have trouble with that. You have a pre-existing condition!” We both launched into hilarious laughter, until we cried. It felt so good.
We joke a lot about Myeloma now. What else can you do really? If you live through the treatment with any significant time, you are a Myeloma “Old Timer”. When I’m with other Myeloma folks, also “Old Timers” we find we can laugh a lot. Caregivers laugh about all the times they wanted to STRANGLE their spouses. Their eyes roll in the shared reality of the difficulties endured at times caring for their loved one. Patients laugh about constipation, lab scares, jokes with the MRI technicians and lab rats, sleeping forever, having NO ENERGY.
I remember meeting this delightful couple at our New Patient Orientation. They were from Tennessee. Her husband had Myeloma. Like us, they looked like deer caught in the headlights. We went through treatment on and off together. He was clearly the “alpha” in the family. Boisterous, demanding, cynical. She was the girl next door. The one who would have everything you didn’t if you ran out and gladly share. A welcoming smile, ever attentive to her husband. I enjoyed them. One day while we were waiting for our infusion appointments. I said, “I had a really scary thought last night as I was sorting out everything for Dave.” He was interested, “What?” I said, “I thought… Oh my God, what if this were happening to me? I don’t think Dave could do all of this?” He burst out in a huge belly guffaw and his wife was giggling with tears in her eyes, nodding her head. Dave was looking at me like “What? What’s so funny?” Then he said, “Oh honey, I already told her,” pointing his thumb at his wife… “I wouldn’t do this sh$t for you! I would hire someone!” With that we were loudly laughing, hysterical, with several other couples listening, laughing and chuckling right along with us, having enjoyed the conversation.
When I ran into them sometime later, I noticed he had changed. He was calm, thoughtful, more pensive, philosophical and very attentive to his spouse in a way he wasn’t before. He was happy. He had changed. I liked the old version OK, but I respected and admired the new one too.
Cancer changed us. Hopefully for the better, if we are lucky enough to survive it long enough to enjoy those changes. So venture over to Sean’s blog from time to time and do have a good laugh, when you’re ready, it does the body good.