Today Mr. B and I took a new step in our journey. We attended our first Multiple Myeloma support group at the cancer clinic. I wasn't sure if it would work for us to attend it because it is always the day after Mr. B's chemo treatments and so far those have not been good days. But in good faith.....
I decided to book our volunteer driver to pick us up anyway. If Mr. B was not feeling well, then I would have to meet the driver outside and let him know that we would not be attending. The driver program is only for patients so I would not be allowed to go by myself if Mr. B was not attending. I kept my fingers (and toes) crossed that he would feel well enough to attend. He had been struggling the past few days with more rib and back pain so it was not looking good for us to go. But this morning he seemed determined to attend even if he was in pain. There were 14 of us that attended plus the social worker that led the group. 4 of us were caregivers. It was so good for us! We were the "newbies" with a diagnosis of less than 3 months so we were able to question some of the others on how they were feeling or how they felt at the beginning of their treatments. And the most important thing that I took away from the meeting was that EVERY PERSON was different! Each person reacted differently to medications, each person had different pain levels, each person had different blood counts. And some of them had been battling this cancer for over 10 years. I suppose that this could have scared me, but it didn't. Surprisingly it gave me comfort to know that if you kept a positive attitude, you could still have a quality life. The important thing was to understand your limits. There would be good days and bad days. On the good days, you celebrate life and enjoy as much as you can. On the bad days, it's ok to cuddle up with a blanket and watch tv or read a good book. I really needed to hear that because I was getting concerned that Mr. B wasn't progressing. He often described it as taking one step forward and 3 steps back. Now I know that there will be times like that but there will also be times when Mr. B will take many steps forward and take no steps back. I am SOOOO looking forward to those times!!!
One of the patients shared that he made an impromptu decision to take a cruise. He booked the trip and left two days later. He said it was the best thing he could have done and was going to do it again and go to Alaska. For many of us, this was a scary thing. People with a disease like cancer cannot get travel insurance. So if something devastating happens it could wipe out a family financially. Yet, here was this guy just glowing when he shared his news. In his eyes it was worth the risk. I learned something valuable today.
"Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart."
- Erma Bombeck