A man sits at his laptop as a maroon ribbon and football pop out of it

Me and the Vikings

Shortly after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma on May 2, 2011, I started my blog, MattvsMyeloma, as a way of letting family and friends know how I was doing, given I wasn’t doing great and was in no mood to talk to anyone. And I didn’t want everyone calling my wife either. She had her hands full with me and her dad and all the stress that comes with a diagnosis of your partner with an incurable cancer.

Love letter to the Vikings?

The blog became very cathartic for me, and even as the disease stabilized, I kept it going. And over time, it became less of a summary of my myeloma journey and more of a love letter to the Minnesota Vikings. Crazy, right?

It’s important to note, that I have found many parallels between my life story and blood cancer and the history of the Vikings. We’ve been close to the top, but never quite reached it.

Also note, I was born and raised and have lived my entire life in Southern California, yet the Vikings have been my obsession since I was born. You laugh, but the Vikings played their first ever game two weeks before I was born, and we’ve been connected ever since.

In fact, I wrote a screenplay called: Buy the Vikings. It’s pretty darn good. I’ve entered it in screenwriting contests. And while I haven’t won, I haven’t received letters telling me to stop. So now I’m working on a new screenplay called: When the Chips are Down, fictional with hints of autobiography. I thought I’d maximize my down time from my back surgery by finishing the script. But no such luck. I think 12 years of chemo have truly caused chemo brain and given me a real lack of focus.

Feeling cheated

Back to the overlap of my life and the Vikings. I can also tell you that as a kid, I adopted the Vikings as my team because my dad and older brother hated them. Plus, I learned that Leif Erikson shared the same October birthday with me. I could point to 1975 when the Vikings were cheated out of Super Bowl berth and I was cheated out of a summer and fall, because of a nasty infection in my foot that sidelined me for months and actually led to surgery in 2010. Problems with the right foot continue to this very day.

Life mirroring the Vikings

There’s also 1998, 2009, 2022 and this season, which left Vikings fans exhilarated and heartbroken in a matter of seconds. This season the Vikings have used 4 different quarterbacks while this past year, I have had 4 different surgeries capped by my recent back surgery. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Although Mr. Eko in the show Lost, warned not to confuse coincidence with fate. But that’s exactly what I do. Thus, my blog became a place for me to overlap my close calls with jobs, relationships, dreams, etc., with the near misses of the Vikings. It’s a little nuts, I acknowledge this. Especially since I’ve married a wonderful woman, am doing shockingly well 12 years into myeloma and no longer have back pain just 7 weeks after major back surgery that left me with 8 pins, rods, a spacer and synthetic bone growth material in my L5/S1.

Emotions weighing on me

But the surgery and the heavy-duty painkillers really messed with my emotional state. In the hospital I was transported back to when I had the foot infection as a kid and the feelings of being abandoned and alone. I’m off painkillers, but there is a part of me that can’t shake that feeling. Being able to walk again and get back into shape is helping my mental state, but I’m also searching for a new therapist. I’ve got work to do. There are times where I miss my geographically dispersed family and other times, I’m thinking I am just going to become a hermit and ride out myeloma in silence. And the feeling of ruing my mistakes or bad choices are weighing heavy on me. There’s a book called The Power of Regret, that I need to read.

Shutting down my blog

I have decided to shut down my blog. I rarely write on it anymore. I don’t share anything pertinent and as I wrote previously, I’m tired of thinking about and writing about myeloma. I like making pronouncements, so I’m going to write one last post on my blog, saying I’m shutting it down. I could just let it fade anyway, but I would rather have a grand goodbye. I think this is connected to my regrets for not being bold or brave or honest in the past and having avoided taking bold, grand steps or moves.

I think the combination of the end of the year along with the Dexamethasone from yesterday’s infusion and being awake since 1 AM have clouded my thinking. But I’m putting it all down here with metaphorical pen and paper.

Don’t’ worry, I’m ok and if anyone knows where I can send my screenplays, let me know. And the beauty of the Vikings and my disease being stable is that I have next year and next season to look forward to. I remain hopeful.

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