Randy made me realize I should bring this community of ours up to speed on something he kind of eluded to in one of my posts.
I have not been as responsive as such to so many of the posts here (though I read them daily) as I have kept a lot of what's been going on with me private. Well, I feel it's time to share.
Back in November of last year I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Back then I had never even heard of this. But it's a form of bone cancer which can cause masses to grow on your bone structure. I had 3 masses, all of them on my spine. The largest was on my sacrum and it was the size of a golf ball. Fortunately for me, this cancer was considered Stage 1. Also, I was considered young (58) for this type of disease and fairly healthy. I was, however, not able to work for quite awhile (November until the first week of March) as my oncologist was concerned of the potential for paralysis due the location the largest mass.
Until the end of June I was on strictly medication for the therapy to combat the cancer. However, I recently went through a major procedure which, if all goes right, will keep the cancer at bay for good. I went through what's called a stem cell transplant. What they did was extract stem cells from my blood (this they did the last week of July). I was then admitted to the hospital on July 29th in reverse isolation and they gave me a massive dose of chemo. This is to kill all the healthy bone marrow and, hopefully, all the cancer. The next day they gave me back my healthy stem cells. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks and went through all of the fun stuff that happens when you get chemo. Amazingly enough, the 2 week stay was, from what I understand, unusual. Most patients stay in for 3 weeks. Well, I responded very well to the procedure. My blood counts have been excellent since being released and continue to improve. I have been in isolation here at home until today. Up until that time, I was able to get out, but only with a mask and never around people. Today I was able to finally drive around, do some shopping and do my morning walk without wearing a mask. I did lose my hair because of the chemo, though not all of it. I have this nice, short white fuzz on my head. Feels really weird when it's windy. About the worst things about the last few weeks is the occasion nausea and not tasting anything. Food has not been my best friend. Only the past few days have I finally started being able to taste some foods, otherwise food has tasted horrible. But it's getting better.
I feel pretty good for the more part considering. Some days I feel as good as before I went in for the transplant. I am more tired which is why I don't always feel up to writing. I hope to return to work by mid-September.
So that's it, everyone. This has been quite the journey. Speaking of which, I am working on a three movement symphony called The Journey and it will reflect on the journey I've been undertaking since first having been diagnosed.
I have maintained as positive an attitude throughout this entire ordeal. I have looked at this as "a bump in the road." I will get through this and hopefully help others along the way. Take care everyone.