I consider myself an active person. I like to hike, kayak, and I run or bike daily. Pre-COVID, I travelled frequently for work and for leisure.
Ironically, it was during one of my daily runs when I first experienced symptoms of not being well. Within two days of the initial pain, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. This was the first major illness that I had experienced.
My treatment comprised a stem cell transplant, velcade, dexamethasone, and pamidronate. I received exceptional support from my healthcare team. My daughters were also exceptional. They moved in short-term to care for me after my transplant. They cooked and cared for me. They did research on diagnosis and treatments and, very selectively, gave me relevant information.
The illness and the level of care has brought my daughters and me much closer. Since diagnosis, I have understood the value of life and loving. I see in a different light some issues that I once considered important. I also learned to trust in the sincere caring of family, friends, medical staff, and support networks.
After two years, I was in remission. From this experience, I learned that it is important to know my body, seek medical attention when a health matter arises, be willing to talk about (physical and mental) health and side effects when they happen.
I signed up to volunteer in the LLSC’s First Connection peer support program. It allows me to provide support and empathy to others experiencing a similar diagnosis. I have learned to have a richer perspective on life and people. We are all multi-dimensional. We all have our joys and sorrows. We have a variety of methods to cope with our challenges. By listening to others and sharing my own story, I can be supportive of others as they move through physical and emotional stresses that they are experiencing for the first time.
I maintain eternal optimism. I know that the healthcare team with whom I have contact are highly skilled and doing their best on my behalf. I know that I am caring for my health as best I can. I know that I have a strong and caring support group. I am very grateful for that.