It’s been one year since I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I have learned much since then – about the disease, about myself and about the joy of support from friends, family and even strangers. It has not been an unprofitable year! Nonetheless, both Joni and I will be glad to get back to our jobs this month. It feels a bit like going back to school after a long break, back to something we are meant to do and back to feeling useful.
I have to remind myself from time to time that although I hope to spend many years in remission this myeloma will one day reappear. Relapse is more or less a fact of life for me and for the other 1200 Canadians who are diagnosed with MM every year. And so I feel an obligation to continue to help fund the research that will save our very lives in the future.
OUR APPEAL TO YOU
All the donations we collect will go to fund new research and clinical trials at The Molly and David Bloom Chair in Multiple Myeloma Research at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. This relatively young program is dynamic and has risen to become one of the leading institutions for myeloma research in the world, constantly moving discoveries from the lab to the clinic. Year after year new, less toxic drugs and therapies are approved in Canada. A mere 5 or 6 years ago a diagnosis of Myeloma usually translated to fairly brief and terrifying outcomes. Today research has changed MM from an aggressively fatal disease to a chronic and manageable one with very optimistic outcomes which are expanding constantly. Multiple Myeloma is on the ropes!
I have to tell you this story: A few weeks ago I was notified that a donation had been made on our page by someone whose name I did not recognize. I checked the phone book here in Perth and there was indeed a listing. So I called, curious to find out more.
”I read about your plans in the Perth Courier for Myeloma Awareness Month in September”, she said, “and I wanted to do something.” She came to Perth recently from northern Ontario, to be close to her grandchildren after the death of her husband. He died of Multiple Myeloma only 6 years ago. The problem was that he went undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, for far too long. Eventually his kidneys failed and he soon succumbed. I did not say the words to her that were blaring in my skull: “This should not have happened!” What I did say was that her story strengthened my resolve to improve awareness of Myeloma symptoms so that patients themselves are better prepared to ask their doctor about the possibility of blood cancer before irreparable damage is done.
On September 23 at 2 p.m. The Perth Citizens’ Band (celebrating its 160th anniversary!) is giving a free benefit concert for Myeloma Awareness in the beautiful Stewart Park Band Shell. For the finale of the concert they will debut a new composition by Perth composer Jack Hurd, the “Myeloma March”. Many of our friends will be bringing complimentary home baking and apple cider. This is not a fundraiser, just a good time musical event.
Have a great Fall everyone.
Jackie and Joni