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Behind the Title: Living Through Cancer

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

Everyone knows the story innocent person or someone important to the main character in a movie is somehow incapacitated and kidnapped by an evil (fill in the blank) and taken to a secret location. When she regains consciousness, she feels strange...something feels wrong...she begins to examine her body and finds a bloody bandage and a lump just under her skin right above her heart. She arises to begin assessing her surroundings, looking for a way out from wherever she is being held. At the corner of the room, she sees a door which she tries to open. To her surprise, it opens and she carefully walks through. Suddenly, she hears a voice which stops cold.

"If you do everything I tell you," begins the voice, "you will live."

Terror overwhelms her.

"You probably noticed something just under your skin on your chest," the voice teases, "you can walk anywhere you want within this building, but you must not go outside."

"What happens if I leave?" she asked, pending dread visible in her voice.

"You will die," said the voice plainly. "I inserted a small IED, or a bomb under your skin right above your heart when I brought you here. If you try to remove the IED, you will die. If you leave, the bomb will explode and you will die!"

In our story, the hero shows up just in time and she is saved from the IED within. That is fantasy, the reality is that our own IEDs are not disarmed by a hero and many of us live in fear of our own IED within. You see, your IED may have different names; fear, abuse, addiction, loss, and even cancer. These IEDs cause us to stop moving forward with our lives, enjoying the activities that give us joy or committing to fulfilling relationships. Or, we may live in fear of the unknown, waiting for the next "shoe to drop" in our life, expecting the next tragedy to befall our life, paralyzed and unable or unwilling to move forward to happier times or even success.

Cancer is like an IED, silently laying in wait until something triggers it and boom; your life is turned upside down. My current cancer diagnosis is high risk Smoldering Multiple Myeloma. This means that a certain percentage of my bone marrow contains cancerous cells but I do not meet the criteria to begin treatment. Because I am high risk, I have a 50% chance that I will progress to active Myeloma within the next year. My symptoms come and go but I occasionally feel bone pain and get dizzy. My red blood cell count and hemoglobin are low due to having anemia. Other than my wonky blood work, I generally feel fine for a man in his early 60s. Having Smoldering Myeloma is like having an IED within my body as I often feel like an evil man is following me around with a thumb on a red plunger, waiting for a time of his choosing to push the button, moving my Smoldering Myeloma to active. Waiting and not knowing invades your life, affecting how you live, or don't live your life.

This analogy is merely a way for my mind to process the constant waiting; wondering if today is the day that I begin to feel symptoms. Will this next appointment's blood work be bad enough to send me into treatment? Will the other shoe drop and the timer to the end of my life begin to tick?

we may live in fear of the unknown, waiting for the next "shoe to drop" in our life

This is fear speaking to me, not God. My comfort is knowing that before I was born, He knew me and designed a life for me. Every good and difficult experience carefully planned to

create the man I am today, flawed but forgiven. God knows the future of my disease so fearing what may or will happen only fuels fear and fear is a liar! Fear tells you how bad everything is going to be, this treatment will be horrible, I will lose my hair, or I will feel sick all the time. Some of this may be true but God only allows what we can endure, cancer sucks, that is a fact but He will see us through our trials! Many of you are further along on your journey and can speak to the difficulties first hand and I invite you to comment not this or any of my blog posts. The good news is: the difficulty you are now experiencing is only temporary and will pass. How long until your next challenge? Only God knows His timing.

Many of you have treatable, even curable cancer. Today Multiple Myeloma does not have a cure. However, recent advances presented at the American Society of Hematologist (ASH) conference at the end of last year show great promise for treating and even sending some patients into long-term remission from this dreaded disease. I hope to publish a blog later next month discussing how this news might effect my possible treatment options and prognosis.

I am blessed to be in the care of 2 outstanding groups of doctors, my primary oncologist Dr. Reddy from Texas Oncology in Allen, Texas and Dr. Patel, Associate Professor, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas who I visit 2 times a year. I traveled to MD Anderson for a second opinion after my initial Smoldering Myeloma diagnosis and will rely on their guidance as we design my treatment plan whenever that time may come.

Under Resources, you will find links to major Cancer Hospitals in the United States, Cancer research organizations you may wish to support, and support organizations specializing in patient care and advocacy. If you have a story to tell, email me at and we can discuss cross linking our websites.

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