March is Multiple Myeloma month. I never thought in a million years that this life would become my new normal. It’s weird because I felt an instant relief when my doctor told me that I had Multiple Myeloma. Wait…Let me tell you why. For years I had been going back and forth to different doctors/specialist explaining my symptoms such as back pain, rib pain, spasms, weakness, fatigue, low energy, shortness of breath, and anemia.
It appeared that I was lazy and not interested in participating in life activities. I use to be this fun, outgoing, bubbly personality type of woman that slowly began shutting down. There were many times that some of the accusations I heard from family and friends really hurt me.
I have written numerous times that my dreams are visions and they also serve as the messenger. My medical team thought I had lost my mind when I called the radiology department after having a mammogram about a dream I had. I dreamt I was walking down a hospital corridor and a nurse stopped me in the hall and said to me, “Sweetheart, you have cancer.” Ask your doctor to review your blood work again. I just assumed the dream was about a mammogram I just had.
I did as I was instructed to do. I explained that I knew that I sound crazy explaining this to the nurse. To my surprise, she stated that she believed in things like this and took it seriously. I got a phone call that the radiologist said, “absolutely not.” He wouldn’t make time to take a second look because he was the head of the department of radiology and he knew what he was talking about. Finally, a year later and living with unbearable pain. In 2015, a hematologist told me that I had Multiple Myeloma after numerous visits to the Emergency Department.
Therefore, having a name for what was wrong with me came as a relief. I felt validated and wanted to fix it expeditiously. It took me a long time to come to terms that I couldn’t fix it. It was something I had to live with; I just had to do it differently.
My new normal.
Things changed quickly due to new medications. I take naps now. I never took naps. I can fall off to sleep within minutes. I used to take medication to assist with that. I relax and rest more than I ever had. I used to get so upset with myself because I felt like I should have been doing something; anything besides relaxing in bed… I never wanted to appear lazy. I felt guilty about not doing things other people wanted me to do because they didn’t understand. My appearance changed. I gained 20 pounds due to the steroids after my stem cell transplant. At one point, I lost all my hair. That was cute! See, check me out.
I appreciate the small things in life more than ever. It took me a while to be comfortable in my new zone. I’ve come to realize that I had to accept and adjust to this new way of life. Just because I live with a blood cancer does not mean I have to look sad and act differently. There are some days that I don’t have the energy to do anything, and that’s okay. I had to learn to relax with it. There are still some days that people look at me wide-eyed as if I am lying about my diagnosis because of my appearance. I wear makeup and dress nicely to chemotherapy. Why not? A big part of healing is your attitude about your illness. Cancer is ugly. It doesn’t mean that I have to keep it company and not present myself the best way that I can. So, yes, I get up, shower, get dressed, and apply makeup. I tell myself that I am loved. I am strong. I am supported. I can get through this as I am gotten over many other things before. I am beautiful.
I am truly blessed that I didn’t have to go through this alone. I have the best friends and support a person can have. Living with Multiple Myeloma is a challenge. However, I AM LIVING.