I’ve had one of the worst weeks of my life, emotionally, so if this is discombobulated it’s because I am. Going to avoid getting into why, however, as it’s so ugly, anxiety-inducing and just plain wrong it’s a no-fly zone for now. Been fighting off a serious depression for a week straight and it’s taking everything I have just to maintain.
I did want to get a few things down on “paper” however, as it were — this is the Magellan aspect of writing for me, this hope that in just typing I can find connections, put my life in order, discover what the REAL problem is, exorcise something, whatever.
So one thing that’s somewhat interesting is my only real-life (as opposed to online) friend who has Myeloma, Mary, convinced me to go to a monthly support group in Denver with her this past Saturday. Specifically we went to the Denver Multiple Myeloma Support Group, which meets downtown on the second Saturday morning of each month. It was interesting, and surprisingly (at least to me) I think I’ll try to make it regularly. Oddly enough I tend to get a bit introverted speaking about myself in person so I don’t generally do group-speak activities but I figured fuck it, I’ll get to hang with a friend I don’t get to see enough and be supportive, plus why not?
So the agenda changes depending on whether they have speakers or not but this time the meeting started with a nice meditation and then we just went around the room sharing our stories. Obviously for privacy reasons I’ll avoid relating individual’s information but interestingly for there being only eight folks this particular morning there was a wide variety of Myeloma experiences, from a 19-year survivor to someone who just got diagnosed and hadn’t even started treatment yet.
One person’s experience was actually similar to mine in that they found out via a blood test that looked bizarre to a doctor instead of some catastrophic Myeloma-related incident. And I mention this only because the person noted while relating their story the experience of that moment where you’re hoping it’s MGUS (“monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.”). Which for the uninitiated requires a bit of explanation — so MGUS is like a precursor to Myeloma with something like a 30% chance of blossoming into the wonderful gift we know and love (no idea where I remember that stat from, so apologies if it’s incorrect).
Point is it’s what you want your blood test to say when a doctor sends you to a hematologist to explain the weird blood test results. It’s a significant moment because here you are in the hematologist/oncologist office with what feels like your last chance that this is all some crazy mistake, that the nightmare of sitting in a cancer doc’s office isn’t really happening, primed and ready for the biggest sigh of relief you’ll ever have in your life … and then WHAM. Nope, sorry, fuck-o, you lose!
It feels like I’ve walked this road for so long that combined with the chemobrain I look back sometimes and wonder at it all, especially when I recall moments like that. More, I wish I had some pithy useful conclusion so far besides “What a long and bizarrely tragic shit show,” heh.
Onward and upward, this weekend is the American Society of Hematology’s big annual meeting. I’ve been following it on Twitter as best I can and re-Tweeting links to articles normal human beings can understand (i.e., minimal obscure acronyms and jargon), so check the Twitter feed if you want some highlights focused just on Myeloma. All the big hitters in the industry seem to be there, including both Drs. Mikhael and Matous, my favorites, so it’s been interesting for sure. I’m not sure what the big takeaways are from the weekend yet in terms of new stuff for Myeloma, but my list to discuss with Dr. Matous this coming week includes:
- what’s going on in CAR-T for Myeloma
- what is my sub-type?
- what’s all this about doubling up on the flu vaccinations
- what’s the story with Venetoclax for Myeloma, and
- what are the latest thoughts on transplants. Seems like I’m seeing more and more about allogeneic (other peoples) stem cells for relapsed Myeloma victims like me as opposed to a second autologous (your own).
No cure yet though. Also if you want a wrap-up Dr. Mikhael is one of the three experts who is going to present a free streamed discussion on the latest trends in treating Myeloma on Monday night which you can watch here.
That’s pretty much all I feel like unburdening myself with right now. I have a big meeting with the Doc on the 13th where we’ll be discussing what we do next, so I’ll post again this week when I’ve had time to process. Toodles.