Off the Mountain, Back to Life
October 11, 2016
Wednesday, October 12
What an incredible experience Machu Picchu was this summer! My hike to celebrate my journey of 10 years, LIVING with multiple myeloma. The sights, the people, the relationships and the connections I found to into the myeloma community have been amazing. The hike has impacted me as a patient, finding a new community of others who are passionate, are caring, and are committed to the cure through the MMRF. The grace, determination and the efforts of this group amaze me as I learn more about the programs, the research, the fundraising and the people.
Since I returned back from Peru over a month ago, I have learned that I am back in “Prime Time” in fighting my disease as the next step in my journey. The biggest part of me is influenced with gratitude for LIVING with disease these past 10 years. And the intriguing part for me now, as I take new aim at my personal fight, is how much has changed on the landscape of treatments, drugs and therapies. And while I hate the part of beginning a new battle ground, I am empowered with knowledge, and choices and research that are making a difference, today, for me. In this fight against Multiple Myeloma. And for that I am grateful.
I attended a MMRF Patient Summit in Chicago in September not only to share my story, but to connect with professionals, doctors and researchers who have the latest and most up to date knowledge about this disease, that currently has no cure. I connected with others who chatted with me, made recommendations and shared their insight. I found terrific resources available through the MMRF for me discussing treatment options, therapies, drugs, and clinical trials, new drugs on the market and current information.
All of this has allowed me to gain valuable knowledge to be my own advocate, asking questions to know which treatments might fit my disease and lifestyle best. All of this, because of a 10 year celebration living with disease, because of a personal Victory Lap, because of a Mountain to Climb in Peru. Because of people who care deeply about finding a cure.
When I was diagnosed at the age of 42 years old with MM, the average life expectancy for people like me was five to seven years. A game changer for me. Since then, I am living PROOF, that RESEARCH is the game changer in this disease. Partnerships like that of MMRF, Takeda Oncology, CURE Magazine and others make a difference for people like me. Having cancer allows me to live my life with intention, to not let the little things in life derail me (most days) from what’s important. Because, I know with me, I want to LIVE my life with cancer, not have cancer and live my life.