Myeloma patients, most of whom are measured by the increase or decrease in Monoclonal Protein – – “M-Spike” have our labs done when we see our Oncologist/Hematologist: some monthly, like me, some of the lucky ones, quarterly, or yearly (really lucky). Most of us wait eagerly for these results, and we dive into them for clues and reassurances.

There are several other important markers, and in the wake of two relapses, I understand what I previously may have dismissed as a slavish obsession, in the relative halcyon days of deep response after my 2011 Stem Cell Transplant.

Lately, I’ve shared via text to my sister and four closest girlfriends, a few choice stats from the report: The IgA Kappa M-Protein persists too small to measure!!!!

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Since my first relapse in the Fall of 2016, I have new feeling about time. Of course there are days, months and seasons to consider. I’m a gardener, so time of year is usually top of mind, even in winter, when I consider snowfall, and how good a soaking that will be for everything out there. I think about new research advances always happening, hoping they develop better drugs, or a cure, before my cancer figures a way around my current therapy.

Lately, I’m making some decisions with “four more weeks” in the back of my mind. I’m reaching out to friends, and pressing for encounters – to busy lawyer friends, and folks from college or high school whom I met up with on Facebook.

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Next month, I am going on a road trip with a friend to Montgomery, AL to the opening ceremony of the Equal Justice Institute’s Peace & Justice Museum. I’m looking at the calendar to work out a visit to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African American History in Washington, DC, probably in the Fall. And, there will be a trip to Austin, TX in the not-too-distant future for cowboy boots – which I’ve coveted since childhood, but always saw as an extreme extravagance for a Midwesterner.

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I guess you could call this a Bucket List. You would not be wrong. But, lately, I’m not just on borrowed time. Time is more precious to me, more finite. This isn’t anything everyone else isn’t subject to. Like the Buddhists are fond of saying “we’re all dying.” I appreciate the outlook I’ve recently acquired, despite the companions of fear and anxiety that sometimes come with it. We all benefit from a concept that helps us mark the passing of days, weeks, seasons: filling them with ideas, joy, understanding, good works, love, or whatever you really and truly need.

Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2010, Suzanne received induction chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in 2011 followed by ongoing medical therapy as part of a clinical trial. She has been a Support Volunteer since 2013.

Photo: FelixMittermeier, Pixabay