man laying on a table with scans and x-rays above him showing his body parts and his hobbies

Scan, Scan, Everywhere a Scan

2019 has been the year of the scan for me. I’ve had 3 MRIs, several x rays and one PET/CT scan since January. I’m very claustrophobic so just the thought of going into an MRI tube sends my heart rate racing. By now though, I’ve developed a good routine to get through the tests. I’m not recommending this routine for others, but it works for me. I take an Ativan a half hour before the exam. Then a second Ativan right before I go into the exam room. And right before I am moved into the tube, I put on an eye mask, so even if I accidentally open my eyes in the tube, I won’t be able to see a thing. The eye mask was my wife’s idea and it’s been a game-changer. I also use the time in the tube to visualize all things purple in my house.

My scans for myeloma show no new issues

The good news is none of the exams showed any significant issues resulting from my myeloma. That’s always a relieve. Scans and tests can a bit anxiety-inducing. However, the toxicity of my eight years of continuous treatment and steroids in combination with getting older have forced me to rethink what I can expect from myself. I’m thinking I might have to accept certain limitations I have. It’s unlikely I’ll run any ultra-marathons or solo climb El Capitan or win a masters tennis event. I recently spoke with a pair of 20 year plus myeloma patients and it gave me comfort that the mental challenges I face are not unusual. I’ve said this before, some of the best support and inspiration I have received is from fellow patients. It’s a powerful community.

But, I'm still plagued with back pain

For the past two months, I’ve been plagued by a lower back and sciatica issue. It’s finally recovering, but in terms of fitness, I feel like I’m starting from scratch. It’s humbling and frustrating. I’ve also been home a lot, which I don’t mind. I read more than I ever did before. I am taking an online course and I dusted off my portable keyboard to once again try and learn the piano. I also get to spend more time with my wife and dog, which is a huge plus. But I need a hobby. Something I can do when I’m home bored or dealing with insomnia or that will take my mind off more serious things like cancer. I also need something that will tap into my hopefully hidden creative side. All suggestions are welcome.

An unexpected moment of gratitude

The other day I was driving to meet a friend for a walk. On the way, I had a blast of gratitude given that I’ve come through 2019 and 8 years of myeloma still kicking and still able to enjoy life. It’s all bonus time at this point. During my most recent scan, I had a powerful epiphany that left me calm and happy. I told my wife, but sadly I couldn’t remember the actual epiphany, but I did remember the feeling of contentment it gave me. And I think that feeling is why the other day I was feeling lucky to be where I am. We’ll see how long this lasts, but my goal is to maintain this attitude adjustment.

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