I came across this quote when I was looking for a photo to accompany this post. At first I passed it by because I wasn't sure if I liked what it said or if I even agreed with it. I will explain why.

Up until Aug of 2011, I had never even heard of a cancer called Multiple Myeloma. During that time, I heard that one of my co-workers had a husband that was fighting cancer so I asked her how he was doing and what kind of cancer he had. She told me that he had MM and tried to explain it to me. Since I like to be informed, I immediately ran to my favourite search engine and googled it. I came away with much more insight into this cancer. In November of 2011, her husband had a stem cell transplant and was doing very well. I quit my job in December, 2011 and within a month found out that Mr. B was diagnosed with MM also. So I guess I have to admit that this quote is true. I don't think it was a mistake that I was working at this company and met a caregiver for someone who was battling this cancer. Because of her, I already had a basic knowledge of this cancer when Mr. B was diagnosed. So I have to admit that it was a blessing that I was able to learn from and not just a coincidence.

On Thursday of this past week, I received an email from a different woman in the same office. She had left our office about a year before I did but I had kept in contact with her. As a matter of fact, her new employment was at the same hospital where Mr. B spent 3 visits. I even ran into her in the hallway during his last hospitalization. She told me in the email that her husband was recently diagnosed with....wait for this.... Multiple Myeloma. So what are the chances of three people in the same office having husbands with the same cancer?

I had been told that Multiple Myeloma was a rare cancer so I did some research at the Canadian Cancer Society to find out some statistics. There are an estimated 186,400 new cases of cancer that will be diagnosed in 2012. Of those new cases, only 2,300 will be Multiple Myeloma cancer. So I guess it is not as common as lung, prostate, breast or colorector cancers which account for over 50% of all new cancers diagnosed. But it does seem to be an amazing coincidence that three people in the same office would have been affected by MM. I had also heard that Multiple Myeloma is the fastest growing cancer in the world with the most new cases diagnosed. I was only able to find two references to that statement and both were from about 10 years ago. I would be very curious to know how that statement stands today.

So I think that this quote was bang on for me. Knowing people that are struggling with this same cancer can turn into a blessing. Only those of us that are walking the same journey can truly understand what it is like. And I pray that I can be a blessing to any caregivers who have a loved one that was recently diagnosed with this horrible cancer.
9/2/2012 01:10:42 am

Hi Shelley,

My husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on January 27th 2012. Since then, I have been reading all the blogs by MM patients. I have never commented on someone's blog until today. This may be strange, but I feel extremely connected to you. Your blog seems to parallel my life very closely. For example, we had never heard of MM until my son's wife's father was dagnosed with it, then my husband was diagnosed about 6 months later. We felt the same way "what were the odds that my son and his wife's father would get the same rare cancer...at the same time!?" Also, one of the first activities my husband accomplished when he first came home from the hospital was unloading the dishwasher! There are many other similarities, but the most dear to me is our common belief and trust in God.
You are in my thoughts often and I will hold you in my prayers. Your blog is a blessing to me.

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Shelley
9/2/2012 02:35:43 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words, Dianna. The main reason I started this blog was to fill a void. When my husband was first diagnosed I looked for caregiver blogs that would be helpful to me. It seemed that most of them had spouses that were doing very well with their cancer. I felt we were going from one crisis to another and I was devastated. Writing this blog helped me unload my feelings in a safe place.

I look forward to more of you comments. :-)

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Sybil
9/2/2012 10:21:18 am

Shelley,
Speaking of coincidences, my father battled MM for 13 years.
Fourteen months after he died, my mother was diagnosed, at the
age of 79. She has been fighting myeloma for almost 5 years and is
now 84. I am quite sure she had the disease while my father was
still alive. We just didn't know it yet.

I wish you the best as you go through this experience with your
husband. Myeloma has been constantly present in my life since 1993 when my father was first diagnosed. If there is one thing that I
have learned in regards to myeloma ,it is that you can never predict what will come next or when.

Don't forget to take good care of yourself, stay involved with people who understand the disease (especially since most people have never even heard of MM), and try not to jump to conclusions when times get rough (my biggest challenge).

Best of luck to both you and your husband.
Sybil




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Shelley
9/2/2012 02:44:49 pm

Wow, Sybil! I think you've been reading my mind! I know that I jump to conclusions when times get rough. It's been one of my biggest hurdles to overcome.

Even currently....my husband has not been feeling well and I have to be careful that I don't over react. The doctor has been trying different prescriptions for the nausea that Mr. B has been experiencing from the weekly cyclophosphamide treatments. This last one, Kytril, has made him just like a zombie. And he still has the nausea. This week we are to try a new prescription called Aprepitant. I hope it works better. So I try to tell myself that the way Mr. B is feeling is due to the medication. Then I start worrying that maybe there is something else brewing that hasn't reveled itself yet. You just never know with this cancer. It likes to knock the wind out of your sails just when you start relaxing.

Good luck to you and your mom, too. :-)

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9/10/2012 04:02:54 pm

dear shelly,

lovely to get to read another one of your wonderful posts. i just want to say that i think you are doing a tremendous job as an MM caregiver. and i am sorry that you are in the position of being in a cycle that i also have noticed - lots of MM patients and their CGs moving forward into remission after treatment. when i started to read MM blogs, many of those i followed were a few steps ahead of us in being diagnosed, then in treatment. so i found myself going back to the archives of each blogger so i could see what there was to relate to in their early on journeys. it helped to learn about their experiences, but just wasn't quite the same, though i did learn a lot about finding MM specialists, being an advocate, determining what drugs gven initially could preclude hugh having a stem cell transplant, and how to maintain sanity being a new MM caregiver. another aspect of this "cycle" for many of us that became connected in the MM blogosphere has been the death of several young MM bloggers last spring. i think we were all positively decimated, and many bloggers who are themselves continuing treatment, as well as CGs, have had the wind taken out of their sails, and desperately needed a break from all things MM. we miss them terribly, but just have to hang in there and see if they will be able get their blogging groove back on. another thing - MM is such a highly individulized disease. in 3 years i've not enounter a single person who has the exact same form of MM! i find that it helps me a great deal to maintain my "professional commenter" status, reaching out to others who may not be in the place we are now, but who value, need, and welcome positive and encouraging comments. you've done a stellar job in finding your voice to tell your's and mr b's story. keep shining your bright light, and know that what you write about is important - both for your readers, and for you. i will be keep you and mr, b close to my heart, hoping that exactly the right anti nausea med will be found asap. one thought - do you have access to reiki or healing touch people at your cancer center. often, these complimentary components can be of great help, ones that involve helping to produce a state of well-being and comfort prior to and during treatment. sometimes, just dealing with the terrible anxiety a patient experiences along with a dreadful side effect that has persisted, like mr.b's nausea, can help to actually facilitate a medication's effectiveness. i wish you both comfort and a release from this on-going complication - warm hugs, karen s.

Reply
Shelley
9/11/2012 04:06:46 pm

Thank you, Karen. Your comments mean a lot to me. Sometimes I feel that I'm too brutely honest with my posts and maybe a little too negative. I think I'm mostly a positive person but I do know that I am also a realist. I want to believe that Mr. B will be healed but I see him day after day slipping away from me. His skeleton looks like it is collapsing. He walks a little more bent over each day. I see him suffer each week from the chemo treatments. It started out as only one day of nausea, then it was two, then three, etc. But we could usually count on Monday and Tuesday without nausea. Now we can't even count on that. His nurse told us yesterday that she doesn't think there is anything else that they can offer us. I think that Mr. B was crushed when he heard that. We had just come from a session with the counselor and it was pretty emotional. I wish we had gone to see the nurse before that session.

No, the cancer center where he is treated does not offer much in the way of alternative therapies. I wish it did but we live in a country with universal healthcare and you are limited for treatment. I did read an interesting article in Prevention magazine about acupuncture for chemo treatments. It is something that we can pursue although it will depend on the cost. I haven't been working since last December so our finances have become pretty critical. I'm hoping to pick up some extra employment in the next few months that will help us out. But as long as the acupuncture centre takes credit cards, then we are ok. Thank goodness for credit. :-)

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