In Irish: Trodaire
In Italian: Lottatore
In Icelandic: Bardagamaður
In Welsh: Ymladdwr
In Spanish: Luchador
In Chinese: 戰鬥機¹
In 2008 I was diagnosed with a disease called Multiple Myeloma. This is a blood cancer that develops in the plasma cells within the bone marrow. The plasma cells are responsible for creating the antibodies that your body uses to keep you healthy. Ironic that it can also kill you. At the time I was diagnosed I was essentially given 3–5 years. It’s now 2018 and I’m still here and, unfortunately, I am still fighting.
In 2009 I had chemo and harvested my own, now clean, stem cells and placed them in the freezer. Don’t worry — they aren’t in my freezer! In 2013 I had a stem cell transplant where they basically re-booted my system and put the clean stem cells back. For five years there has been no trace of the disease — till now. In January, for the first time since December of 2012, I had an m-spike, one of the measurements of my disease where they identify the monoclonal protein (antibody) that is attacking my body. I knew it was coming as I have an annual bone marrow biopsy which revealed a faint trace of the disease making a recurrence back in June.
Bottom line — it’s back.
When faced with the C word you have two choices — my choice has always been to fight. At the end of the month I will start chemo again. This will be a new set of drugs for me and I expect great results. I’ll be on chemo once a week, but that one time a week will be 9 hours long — it’s a really slow infusion! I will be on Dex (steroid) again so that will just help make everything that much more fun! I am hoping to get on a clinical trial and will know more about that in the next week or so.
I am not worried and neither should you be worried. For those of you fighting this disease daily, going through your own chemo and steroid hell, you inspire me! A fellow patient mentioned to me that my relapse really rocked their world. They’re in CR (complete remission) but afraid that might change. It may — but does that change your first choice, whether or not to fight? No — you get up, put your shoes on and kick cancer in the ass!
For those of you that haven’t been with me since 2008, I will thank my buddy Jenny for reminding me of my own words. You see, I was diagnosed with cancer during an annual checkup. Most people find out they have MM because a portion of their spine collapses. I caught it very early simply because I went to the doctor. So I will repeat my own words:
“There are some things I’ve written that are relevant to the moment and there are others that should be repeated — and here’s where I get on my soap box (yes, again!) GO TO THE DOCTOR — GET AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL. For those with the attention span of a flea — LOOK A NAKED GIRL — NOW GO TO THE DOCTOR AND GET A PHYSICAL! Get an annual physical — get it every year (for those who’s English, albeit their primary language, don’t really get that last point — ‘annual’ means every year!) For the next 10 callers that prove they’ve had their physical this year I will send you a Tootsie Pop!”
I wrote a post back in June about being afraid of the results from my tests. If that’s the way you feel about going to the doctor then GET OVER IT YOU BIG PANSY! I found out I had cancer because I simply went to the doctor. I’m here 10 years later because I simply went to the doctor. Get an annual checkup — and the offer still holds on the Tootsie Pop!
¹ — the translations above are compliements of Google — if I chose the wrong version for “fighter” and have somehow insulted your wife then I apologize profusely. Just please let me know which word is bad so I can add that to my list of naughty words!