Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I can do anything for 10 seconds

So, the latest is somewhat more boring compared with previous posts.  We are heading again to see the BMT tomorrow, to get another blood workup and probably to get my trifusion line removed from my chest.  It will be a pleasure to have this thing gone.  I'll update you all on the results of our visit  once we know them.

It has been a tremendous relief not to be in the hospital, and to be home with actual, comfortable furniture, my wife beside me, and a chance to be around familiar things.  My appetite has mostly returned, although I could not eat a frozen pizza we had cooked because it tasted like vinegar to me!  So, I guess there is still some adjusting going on there.  We gave the pizza to a neighbor, and her kids loved it, so it was me, not the pizza.

If you haven't seen it, I would encourage anyone reading this to take a look at the tremendous documentary by Ken Burns that aired on PBS recently based on the book Cancer:  The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee (he is amazing as well, and I'm sure this book is just stupendous).  It goes over the history of cancer as well as how our understanding (or lack of it) has been tied to the treatments we have used over the years.  It ends by helping us get a glimpse at how complex cancer really is and helping us understand that this is part of the reason it has taken so long to get where we are today.  That said, the progress we have made in the past decade or more is truly amazing.  Although there is no "cure" for most forms of cancer, including Multiple Myeloma, one of the goals right now is to turn the disease from a fatal one into a chronic illness like diabetes or heart disease.  I think we are within striking distance of that goal, and who knows what the future will bring?

To see the film (it is in three parts), go here:

This is the first episode, called "Magic Bullets".  The second is called "The Blind Men and the Elephant", and the last is called "Finding the Achilles heel".

Now to the title of this particular post.  While I was in the hospital, Patricia and I watched the pilot and second episode of a new TV series (we haven't watched it since) called Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  One thing we got out of the show was a mantra she was using to get through difficult things:  I can do anything for 10 seconds (and then repeat.....).  So, Patricia wrote this on the wardrobe panel in my hospital room.  We expanded the 10 seconds to 10 days, but you get the picture.  I kept track of each day I had completed, and it helped me think about how I was making it through my time there.  Here is a picture of the panel:

Sometimes, persistence or endurance means just this -- gritting your teeth and counting to 10.  It is a little harder when it is 10 days, but it still works!  

So, I am grateful for being able to count to 10 twice.  I'm grateful for the advances humanity has made in fighting this terrible Emperor -- I will still benefit for years to come from these advances.  The dedication and perseverance of those working in this field is inspiring.  I am grateful to all of you for your ongoing support and help - trying to do this on my own would be much, much harder.  Hopefully, tomorrow we will have more good news, and I will return home with a healing hole in my chest, but no more tube.  I'll let you know!  

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dr. T.,

    Thanks for the inspiring message! "I can do anything for 10 seconds" is a wonderful mantra. That fact that you embraced it and DID it helps bring a lot of things into perspective. The daily hassles that I have to deal with have no "Emperor" due to being small. Regardless, you teach that whether large or small, the same mantra can effectively work. Thanks for the insight. I look forward to watching the pbs documentary and I send my hope your way: NO TUBE!!