Thursday, September 6, 2012

Making Adjustments.....

“Happiness comes from... some curious adjustment to life.” ... Huge Walpole, Sr.

During the almost two years that we've been dealing with my honey's MM, we've waded through many "curious" adjustments.  Prior to his diagnosis, I'm not sure if I'd ever heard of Multiple Myeloma - but I knew, just by the suffix  'oma', it was some type of cancer.  I was definitely eager to learn more, I HAD to learn more. I HAD to know what he (we/were) was facing.

I became very inquisitive, not only of his doctors and nurses, but of others who were also dealing with this rare form of cancer. I was thankful for my computer skills and quickly learned that everything online shouldn't be construed as gospel. Being inquisitve, and prying, took me to great Myeloma websites, lists, blogs, and put me in touch with other patients and caregivers on this same journey. 

I now see others, on the various Myeloma websites, that have the same curiosity and are just as inquisitve as I was. I encourage curiosity and inquisitiveness, and I advise that everyone keep in mind that changes, improvements, advancements are being made everyday. It's wonderful to read that MM may soon be thought of as a "Chronic Disease".

We've had to make many adjustments to both our lives, while on this journey. One begins to understand that the damage the Myeloma causes to the bones may mean that former activities, once enjoyed (like golf or working in his shop), may no longer be possible.  Walking long distances can cause pain and may even be impossible.  Fatigue is a big issue, while balance and stability are even more so. Just recently, while getting ready to FINALLY try and get our RV back out on-the-road, my honey had a terrible fall in our kitchen. It can only be best described as a "stumbling, staggering, trying to stop falling" type of fall. It started at the kitchen door and ended when his head slammed into a cabinet across the room, and his knees hit the hard tile of the floor. Thankfully, no broken bones - just bruised and swelling and off his feet, with legs elevated and with ice packs to try and alleviate the swelling.  This sudden, unexpected, (certainly not needed) fall has caused a set back.

And just as we have had to make adjustments for him.....I've made them for myself. No longer do I feel that I can "jump in the car" and go somewhere. Even though he would probably be okay,  I don't leave him alone for very long periods of time.  That's an "adjustment" that I haven't been very successful in making for myself - that feeling that he shouldn't be alone. I'm working on that one!

            As another caregiver/blogger wrote, life tends to become a balancing act. We begin to realize that life isn't what it once was. We do what we can, when we can. We make adjustments. We often make plans that are unable to be kept.

Things that my honey once did, or were his responsibility, have (in many cases) either become mine.....or often just don't get done. He isn't supposed to lift anything that weighs more than 10 lbs. That's quite an adjustment for him, and he doesn't always adhere to that restriction. After all, it isn't very "manly" to allow a woman to do the lifting of heavier a case of bottled water, etc.

Accustomed to going wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted, is no longer possible.  My honey is unable to ride long distances (we loved road trips), unable to sit for very long, unable to stand for very long, unable to walk very far ....... you get the picture.  We've had to adjust for all these new inabilities.

As Sean Murray, another MM "victim" and blogger,  wrote in his column in The Myeloma Beacon, we've had to "say goodbye" to life as we knew it.

We're learning to balance this life with the days, weeks, months, and hopefully years that my honey has left.  It isn't easy to "say goodbye" to the life we knew and enjoyed.  Probably the best adjustment has been to learn to enjoy the life we have. Treasure each and every day. Take nothing for granted.

Happiness absolutely is whatever curious adjustments you need to your life (let's just hope YOUR life doesn't include MM!)