“Mike…Mike….Mike…Mike…Mike…What year is it? It’s hump year.”
I didn’t quote that iconic advertisement perfectly, but I’m sure you all get the point. Maybe not as good as me, considering my name is Mike. People were relentless with me for about a year - and most definitely on Wednesdays.
Does humpday qualify in this situation?
Before I got multiple myeloma, I was going on my second year of starting a new business. The concept of humpday didn’t quite apply to working 24/7. Humpday also didn’t apply well when undergoing chemo, stem cell transplants, ten collapsed vertebrae, and associated back surgeries.
“One day at a time” was the only relevant quote. Wednesday was just another day you need to get through.
Once humpday mattered
Prior to that, I held a few more normal jobs. They weren’t exactly five-day-per-week jobs, but they had some semblance of being conventional. Humpdays mattered. Wednesday at noon meant you reached the hump. Things were downhill from there.
Seven months ago, after being on disability for over three years, I finally found a good position with a non-profit organization, which my body is able to tolerate most of the time, and humpdays became more applicable again. Except for one thing…I still view life as “One day at a time.” I don’t look at my life any longer in weekly, monthly, or yearly increments – except in one case. The case is when I think about how long I’ve survived.
Humpdays Turn Into humpyears
I recently passed my five-year mark since I was diagnosed (July 2017). That anniversary had an impact on me I wasn’t expecting. Instead of the occasion being one for celebration, it became one of reflection. So, why am I talking about humpday, and why is this article titled humpyear? What I’m about to say is a reach, but here it goes.
When I was diagnosed and did what most people do these days, I searched the internet. At the time, the most commonly quoted number for the fifty percent survival rate was somewhere around three and one-half years. In terms of humpyears, I had until April 2019 before things started going downhill, literally.
As I traveled through time to that month of April 2019, more and more was being uncovered about multiple myeloma. The genetics of the disease were being understood at a higher level, and better meds were being revealed. In a short time, that fifty percentile rate had gone up. I had another year before reaching my hump year.
Hitting humpyear doesn't mean it's downhill after that
Now I’m at five years. The latest information I’ve uncovered is that an average of 52% of Multiple Myeloma patients live five years. I know it is probably higher now, and many variables are associated with that average.
In any case, it’s an average and the only one I have to go on right now. Based on that general number, for all intents and purposes, I have reached humpyear.
I haven’t found any statistics on how the curve changes when you hit 50%. My bet is that the curve is skewed to smaller numbers, so I’m past humpyear.
I can hear it now from those reading this. “Mike…Mike….Mike…Mike…Mike… Why are you being such a downer?”
Reflecting on five challenging years
Really, I’m not. All I’m trying to do is reflect on my reality. I have been given five challenging but beautiful years. I believe I am now more thankful at the end of each day and look more forward to my next day than ever before. I do my best to throw negativity out of my head.
I wish I could force myself to turn off the TV, stop listening to the news, stop going to the gas station, or stop worrying about my grandchildren. I find I have to deal with these things if I want to have a life, although I continue to discover more each day that worrying about things or letting them get to you isn’t worth it.
I hope you see I’m not trying to be a bummer. In my own particular way, I’m telling you to celebrate each day, no matter where you are in your journey. Know that each day is special. Some will be mundane but do your best not to take any of them for granted, which is so easy to do if you aren't paying attention.
When I was writing this article, I created a motto for myself that makes me smile. Consider creating a positive motto or mantra for yourself that will be your go-to during the rougher times. Hopefully, one that makes you smile. In closing, I’ll share mine with you.
“Mike…Mike….Mike…Mike…Mike…What day is it? It’s today. Embrace it!”
What does remission mean to you?
How has blood cancer impacted you financially? (select all that apply)