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Own It!

Of the many characteristics inherited from my mother, being impatient is the most difficult to manage. It is bad enough to get a diagnosis of Cancer, but it is even more challenging to get a pre-cancerous diagnosis like Smoldering Multiple Myeloma. You ask your doctor what can be done and they say, wait and watch. Those who have completed their first line of treatment for Multiple Myeloma and joyously find themselves in remission, go into a waiting pattern much like I am in now. Wait, wait, wait.

The problem with waiting is you forget to LIVE! This is not God's plan for each of us as He wants us to have fulfilling lives filled with joy. When you choose to live through your Cancer, you make a conscious decision to do the things you love, but maybe could not due to being in treatment. If you stop doing what you love, you put yourself on a path to resentment and finally depression.

We all know how depression can creep into our lives, even if you are mentally healthy. I began a new job in June of 2022 that proved to be more challenging than I could ever have imagined. Unlike any job in my long IT/Telecom career, this job required me to embrace a changing work environment greater than I had ever experienced. Just days before I was about to begin my new job, my new company was purchased. One element of stress. Learn a new product line, stress. A new set of requirements for each new executive report, still more stress.

One month into my new job, I got COVID, you know the drill. Three weeks after recovering from COVID, my 88 year old mother had a serious health emergency and had to be hospitalized, keep adding. On top of all of this, I had an appointment at MD Anderson where my 24 urine test results were higher than ever experienced. My Light Chains were rising. Am I going active?

I was in unfamiliar territory with no map or compass and no way out of the hole I dug for myself

Suffice to say, my world seemed to be imploding around me and I could not keep up with the demands of my new job and the health deficits my mother had after she came home from the hospital. I found myself shutting down, choosing to do anything but deal with the stress of my life. I was in unfamiliar territory with no map or compass, and no way out of the hole I dug for myself.

Two months after my visit to MD Anderson, the appointment with my local Oncologist came with another increase in my Light Chains and K/L Ratio. My doctors never told me what values would cause me to begin treatment, so every increase in my numbers ratcheted the stress even more. What I did not acknowledge was the slow march to depression happening before me and no one around me seemed to notice.

After being first diagnosed, I researched Multiple Myeloma like most everyone of you reading this blog. I learned about the standard treatment protocol followed by a Stem Cell Transplants (SCT) and I set my mind to prepare for that treatment protocol. I would breeze my way through treatment, have a SCT and go into remission for at least 5 or so years. That was my plan. I was in denial about the severity of the disease and the difficulties in front of me.

At the same time, my church began a community group program where we would meet for dinner at a host home followed by fellowship and prayer. Sounds good to me. The first meeting came, we ate and began discussing our concerns. As there were people in the group who did not know about my Cancer, I began to share with them the difficulty I was having dealing with the waiting...then it hit me. I lost it.

As I began to weep uncontrolably, I realized I had never emotionally dealt with/processed that I had Cancer and it was incurable. I thought I had, but through my weeping, a sense of peace washed over me and I was able to see a path forward at work and with my mother. I believe you must own your diagnosis, however that may be for you. For me, my peace comes from the assurance that God has my Cancer and no amount of worrying about the details will change anything, it is not up to me to deal with everything causing stress in my life. Eight months later, of course there is some stress, but I am calm as I prepare for my impending treatment and whatever comes next. He has it and it is not up to me to do anything but enjoy the ride, bumpy as it will most likely be, but just what God has for me in His perfect plan.

A Bone Marrow biopsy later and I now have High Risk Smoldering Myeloma. In January 2023, I visited my local Oncologist who told me I would be in treatment by the end of the year. My April appointment with MD Anderson is looming and I feel some concern about my next set of labs, but nothing like I have in the past. In a previous blog post, I stated I do not wait well. I am a man and we need to fix the environment and circumstances for us and everyone around us. I have learned that waiting is a gift. The gift of living another day, to do the things I love to do, being with the woman I love, and experiencing the overwhelming love of Jesus in my life. Enjoy the wait!

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WOW! Blessed to be reading of your journey. Please know we are praying for you. We serve a faithful God and He hears those prayers. He sees you and He cares for you. Keep trusting Him. ❤️

Love you,

Mark and Marla

Brad Hanson
Brad Hanson
Apr 01, 2023
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Thank you Mark and Marla!

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