My 2nd biopsy, last Wednesday, was to measure the amount of myeloma in my marrow. In order to get into the clinical research study, I had to have at least 20%. I received a call Monday that I had gotten into the study and they set the appointment for this morning.
I get there for the 7:15 labwork. The phlebotomist (most people refer to them as vampires, but I don’t- I want to keep people who stick needles in me on good terms) drew about 7-8 vials of blood. Emory has this part figured out, I haven’t waited more than 10 minutes at the lab yet.
I then waited for the 8:30, biopsy appointment. They were just opening, so I had a wait here, but passed the time partly by watching people. I hope they get as amused watching me as I do watching them. I had just started pacing when they finally called me. I then found out, my Dr would do the procedure himself. He said he did it “old school”- no electric drill, but manually. He also said, with only one round of chemo, I’m down to 28%! I was blown away to say the least.
This 3rd biopsy hurt like hades. I found out that about half opt for the sedation, but so far, I have passed on it- but may rethink that the next time. They needed about a tablespoon of marrow this time. They’ve been getting a chunk about the size of 2 bbs. This will be used to create the vaccine, if in that part of the study or just general research if not.
With all of that going on, to get to the procedure rooms, I had to walk by a very large infusion area. This is an area where cancer patients getting treatments via IV get seen. There are beds where they can rest, while tethered to their IVs. Many of them are wrapped in blankets, their bodies now many pounds less than usual, trying to stay warm. Some sleep, their exhaustion from fighting week after week too much. Others read just to pass the time.
I have had a fairly easy fight compared to a lot so far. My chemo not causing nausea or sickness. My hair (what remains) hasn’t fallen out. I’ve been aggravated by the hiccups, walked with a weird limp at times , was tired for awhile and have had dry mouth. I know it will get worse when they get closer to the stem cell transplant time, but for now, I am thankful for it all.
For now, 28% is great news. A few hiccups are nothing. People ask me about how I keep a positive attitude about all this.
First, I just don’t worry. For many of you, you can’t even fathom that. Worry is useless. I don’t know why it was me that got it. I don’t how long I’ve had it. You know what? I don’t care either. It wouldn’t change anything either way. I’m different like that, so it’s helped me through life.
Second, I rely on God’s time frame, His plan and His promises. I didn’t set out to approach this from a positive way of thinking, I just kind of accepted it and moved forward. I treated it like waking up late or forgetting something- you just move on or give up. Giving up was never an option. Again, one of my quirks that work in my favor.
What can you take away? It’s easy for me to tell you “don’t worry.” It’s another for you to do so. Try it though! Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t, take it one small step at a time. Rely on God. This means you can’t do it on your own, so accept that you can’t. Allow it to be “we” or “us” (you and God) when overcoming something or going through it.