Nature has a way of making disorder look like a plan. My gardening secret is wildflowers: whatever you do with them works. In my yard, they piece together colorful mosaics that ignore the borders of the frame into which I sowed them last March. Lupine encroaches on the lawn; red poppies take root happily on our gravel driveway, and purslane spreads among my more ordered perennials.
My cancer also has an independent streak. The purpose of this blog is primarily to recount my experience with multiple myeloma. Yet I’m feeling so healthy there’s hardly any news to report. That’s good; I’m not complaining the myeloma refuses to cooperate. I suspect there will be plenty to write about in the days (years I hope) ahead.
Still, it’s important to not let this blog wither on the vine. When first diagnosed, I found support in the personal accounts of others living with MM. Therefore, it was disconcerting when a few of those blogs ended abruptly. Had they died? Or, had they run out of things to say due to good health? Whatever the reason, I wanted to know. Hence, you have my promise for a full accounting be it boring or redundant.
I’m currently living drug-free. I don’t take any supplements other than a multi-vitamin and 1000 mg of calcium. Since the stem cell transplant I’ve had two colds. Each passed through my body normally, just a few days of symptomatic annoyances. Thus far, my exposure to the public at work has not caused me any problems. I will receive my childhood vaccinations in August. At that time, my immune system should again be intact.
Lingering effects of the cancer treatment do persist. Peripheral neuropathy causes numbness from my toes to my ankles. It is more aggravating than disabling, much like my feet going mildly to sleep. The problem is that they don’t wake up. Incidents of nerve pain flare on occasion, though the neuropathy stabilized once I stopped taking thalidomide. It has not gotten better…or worse.
Off and on I experience a rapid onset of fatigue. I believe it relates to my red blood cell count. If you recall, anemia led me to my doctor and the diagnosis of multiple myeloma. My counts improved over the last year but have yet to return to normal levels. Therefore, I am prone to unpredictable slumps in energy.
Furthermore, there are mornings when I awake unusually sluggish. It’s not sleepiness. I sleep more soundly than I have in years. It’s more like my blood has congealed or pooled as I lay in a prone position. It resolves rapidly and I’m soon perking along with my morning person enthusiasm. But there’s no precedent for the logy beginnings to my day other than the treatment I received or the cancer that I have.
As much as possible, I detach myself from what the cancer does or doesn’t do. I observe it, accept it, and write about it. For now, the disease behaves itself. I enjoy a quality of life unique to anything I’ve known in years past. I live in close proximity to not only my own mortality, but also that of a cadre of cancer patients writing about their journey. Together, we seek a pattern in the chaos beyond the ordinary boundaries of life. It may not always be discernible. But it’s there, in that wildflower portion of our soul, germinating in the most unexpected of places, vividly coloring the landscape of our lives.