Tuesday, June 11, 2013

3 Years Later

This week marks the 3 year anniversary of when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.

It has been just about 10 months since I've written.  For all of you who have wondered  out there on cyberspace, no,  I have not died.   I am happy to say I am still here and still enjoying a "Complete Response" (ie: no Myeloma Detected!).  So why have I been so quiet?

I guess there are a number reasons I have been silent for a while.  The easy answer would be that life got so busy that I didn't have the time to write.  Or perhaps I didn't have much to say?  Or maybe for a while I just wanted to try to get some sense of normalcy and not think about my Myeloma? In a way,  it is all those reasons.  But if I look back at my last post in August of 2012, it is difficult for me to read it.  I had opened up and  shared that I was struggling with my "New Normal" .  At the time,  I didn't realize just how dark my world had gotten.

When the kids returned to school last fall, I made an appointment to see a therapist.  I had struggled for so long.   I remember how nervous I was waiting in the waiting room. Wasn't it easier to just carry on and block out all that bad stuff and stay busy?  Did I really want to share all that happened?  Did I  really want to go back there?  I wanted to just get up and run out that door.  But before I could, a woman came out and called my name.  Within moments I felt completely at ease with this person.  I felt safe.  And at the end of my first session, I learned that I was in very deep depression,  and had been for quite some time.

I believe that people come into our lives not by chance.  That if you are truly present you realize the gifts that are sometimes right in front of you.  Well, I have had quite a few gifts lately.  One in particular, is a beautiful woman named Robin.  She is one of the most compassionate people I know.   Robin owns an incredible antique, collectible and home decor store.  It is like no other store I have ever seen.  In fact, customers often say that going to Robin's Egg is their therapy.  That it just feels so great to be there.  I was one of those customers.  For a long time, I would find myself coming to the store just to walk around and take in all of the beautiful things inside.  Robin always had a warm smile on her face.  I felt peaceful and happy there,

Week by week, I was making progress in my therapy sessions.  I was also finding myself visiting Robin's Egg more and more.  I started to experiment and play around with paint and began refinishing furniture.  At the end of November, I asked Robin if I could help out at the store.  I told her she didn't have to  pay me.  I  would volunteer, I just wanted to be there.  She took me up on the offer.  My son Cam often told me that I was crazy to work for free.  But I assured him that I was getting something much bigger than money in return.  He of course could not comprehend this.  Each day I spent there, I found myself feeling happier.  I just loved meeting and speaking with all the customers coming in and I loved learning from Robin and all the talented people who worked there.  In fact, I began to feel that passion, that spark that I had lost for quite some time.

Doors began to open.  Opportunities came along.  And things just started to feel right.  I now not only work at the shop, but I am dealer there.  In fact I have been pretty successful.  I have a garage full of projects.  I'm enjoying every moment of it.  I love finding the treasures, bringing them to life, and sharing them.  I love that people appreciate my work and actually purchase them!  I love the women I work with and the friendships we have formed.  But I am most appreciative for Robin, for coming into my life and helping me discover something totally new and finding that spark, that thing that makes me feel alive!

My kids just have about a week of school left.  They have had a wonderful year of growth and achievements.  They are really coming into their own.  And although we need a chalkboard in the kitchen to keep track of where everyone needs to be and when, I just love how full of life they all are.  My boys loved their first year of middle school.  Cam loved being on the Cross Country Team, Wresting Team, Flag Football, Track and Student Council.  He also has achieved his Brown Belt in Karate.  Mitch had an incredible year discovering his love for piano, and enjoyed his first year on the  Football Team.  He played on  Basketball Team, Flag Football,  Track and of course Baseball.  All Stars has just begun and we have our first of many baseball tournaments this weekend.  Sarah and Emily are completely passionate about gymnastics and compete on Team.  I am in complete awe as I watch how they can move their little bodies.  Sarah has also become a beautiful pianist.  I just love listening to her.

It has been at times painful, yet amazing to watch my kids live everyday knowing that I have this incurable cancer.  We may not speak about it everyday, but it shows up in their poetry, their writing and sometimes their doodles I find at the bottom of their backpacks.   The boys in particular, as they are older, try to make sense of it all. Sometimes the boys will tell me a fact they have read regarding the life expectancy of a person with this disease.  And they tell me I guess we are one of the lucky ones.  I can see them worrying about me relapsing.  Sometimes I can see the worry and concern in their eyes.  When I'm tired or if I am not feeling well, I can feel them worry.  If they hear of someone dying of cancer, the worry returns.  As a mom, it is so hard to watch them struggle.  I never had to worry about having a sick parent as a kid.  This makes me sad.

My husband Mike has also had a year full of discovery and new passions.  In the fall he completed his first marathon.  This is the same guy, that ran his very first 5k 3 years ago and always said that he could not understand why anyone would ever want to run 26.2 miles.  Well he did it, and he rocked it!  He didn't stop there.  He has spent the past several months training to compete in his very first Half Ironman.  Crazy!!  I have never seen anyone so disciplined.  Mind you, this is a guy who travels for work and is pretty much a workaholic.  Now throw in the training that is required for this event.  Well if anyone can do it, he can.  And this Saturday, all that training will come together as he crosses the finish line.  I am so proud of him.  He is doing this not only as a personal goal, but also to raise money and awareness for Multiple Myeloma as a member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Power Team.  Mike has kept his own blog on his training.  http://www.70point3timeandacure.blogspot.com.  Please click on the following link to support Mike

Tomorrow I have my appointment with my Oncologist and I'll receive my Zometa Infusion.  I actually missed my appointment on Monday.  I couldn't believe it. My favorite nurse Leslie called to see where I was.  She laughed and said that it is a good thing when life gets busy and a cancer patient forgets their appointment.  It is nice to finally be at a place where the first thing I think about in the morning is not the Big "C".

Three long years.  But here I am.  Grateful, happy, healthy ,busy and filled with passion.


  1. What a wonderful post Jean! It's a hard path for us myeloma moms of young kids for sure, but you are nothing short of amazing!

  2. Like all painful memories these things are never forgotten. The best we can hope for is maybe seconds, minutes, hours, or days without wondering.

    As usual I admire your courage on honesty.

    Passion on Jean!

  3. Beautiful beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Jeanie, you captured so beautifully what so many of us with myeloma feel. It's a long road and though I try to live each and every day not thinking about myeloma, it's always lurking somewhere in the background. I think I would do just about anything for the MMRF, so that research is accelerated and a cure found sooner rather than later.

    I'll hope to stop in to see you sometime at Robin's!

    To good health for us all,

  5. As with you, life has been busy doing "normal" things and I have been behind in keeping up with blogs. So wonderful to read about your discoveries and help through therapy, your new passion and job, your husband's amazing accomplishments with a marathon and Half Ironman, and the busy, busy athletic and musical schedule your four children keep! Life is full and life is good! So happy for you!