Saturday, October 19, 2013

Keynote Address

Sorry if I caused any concern by not posting anything for awhile.  I'm in sort of a "no news is good news mode."  But be assured I continue to do well.  I'm taking my Revlimid and Prednisone as prescribed and having no significant side effects.  Blood tests reveal no evidence that the disease has returned.  So I'm cruising along in a comfortable remission.

I was honored to be asked to deliver a keynote address at a celebration event for transplant survivors last week, which accompanies this post.  The event, held at the Skirball Center in LA, was organized and paid for by the head of the Cedars Sinai transplant program.   About 500 people were in attendance, 90% were transplant survivors and family.  Not all were myeloma patients.  And there were many who, unlike me, had allo transplants (requiring donors).

The address is about 6 minutes long.  It is upbeat and positive, as fitting the occasion. I'd like to advise my fellow myeloma sufferers that I struggle with how best to relay my good fortune when so  many of you have a much harder road.  I do feel particularly blessed with how well I've done and I attempted here to simply tell my story...with the thought that it can provide some semblance of hope for those that aren't as fortunate.  Susan felt i glossed over a lot of the difficulties I encountered along the way.  Maybe so.  But be assured that I have not lost site of how difficult the battle is and can be for those who have not had the good fortune that I enjoy.  My heart is very much with you.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day 365 - My BMT Birthday

Today is the one year anniversary of my transplant.  In Myeloma circles, this is often celebrated as a second birthday.

The photo above was taken on my actual birthday about two weeks ago when I turned 60.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by friends and family.  But for today, I am surrounded by the warmth and encouragement of the Myeloma community, which had such a large role in helping me get to this day.

I haven't posted anything in quite a while, since there has been nothing important in my myeloma life to comment on.  The post several months have been remarkable only in their uneventfulness (is there such a word?).  But to give you a a quick status:  I'm working full time.  I am playing a lot of tennis.  I am not experiencing anything that can be attributed directly to the disease   My hair has grown back and is now the same color and texture as it was pre-treatment.  I am on a maintenance dose of revlimid and prednisone, which I tolerate quite well with only occasional hand and foot cramps being the primary problem.

I feel extraordinarily fortunate and grateful that I was somehow chosen to be one of the ones who was able to skate through the treatment relatively easily.  Please don't let the matter-of-fact style of this post belie my true feelings about the matter.  I am very very happy with where I am and very optimistic about my chances of overcoming this horrible disease.

Special thanks to the extended myeloma community on this occasion: The team at Cedars... particularly Laura, who was such a helping hand when it was needed and Dr. V, who performed the magic.  Also to the group at Cancer Care in Redondo Beach for making me feel good about coming in for chemotherapy.  Also to my friends in the blogossphere, especially Nick and Pat, who continue to fight their own battles while serving as clearinghouses for others fighting the disease.

Damn, that sounded like an Oscar acceptance speech.

Anyway, Happy Myeloma Birthday to me and fervent best good wishes to all who suffer from or work to cure Multiple Myeloma.