For the last fourteen days, I have wandered around the corridors of my flat in a state of disbelief, doubting my ears and those belonging to the head of Mamma Jones. When I was bored of that, my brain waited for the other shoe to fall, because in my world, it almost always does. The shoe drops to the ground, damp and covered in holes, and myeloma wins some more in this game we call My Life.
Let’s face it, since the 17 August 2012, my life has hardly been the warehouse party I would have liked it to be. There have been ups and there have been downs. There have been good cylinders and bad cylinders. There has been treatment and after treatment and setback after setback. I feel like my stoicism, made way to a pessimistic realism disguised with a smile and nifty wordplay.
The last 15 months have not been easy, just in case you were in any doubt. Anybody who wants to know that can know that, because I have recorded them for all the world to see, accompanied by a plethora of grammatical errors and melancholy. The fault there belongs to the drugs and not to me, I assure you. I was once as hard as nails.
The last 15 months has changed me irrevocably. Sure, much of the old me is still about, but to be dramatic, I am not what I once was and nor will I ever be. My Myeloma and me will be forever entwined; the blood sucking, life zapping, filthy bastard that it is. We’re together now and that is how it has got to be.
Two weeks ago, I heard something, four times, that defied my expectations. Unlike many people, who I wanted to greet in a dark alleyway with a pair of nunchucks when they opened their mouths or touched a keyboard prior toy transplant, I did not believe that my transplant would give me a remission. At some point, I was told that in all likelihood, this would not happen. To protect myself, that is what I had to expect. After the dogged stubbornness of my disease, the chances of my transplant failing right off the bat, were high. And still, I went in fighting, backed up by my Support Network, waiting there like a fleet of Lancaster Bombers, with teddy bears on board to protect and comfort me.
And here we now are, back to that pesky disbelief. I did not want to write it down for fear of jinxing it, thinking that I would force the gods that be, the Medically Trained People that is, to shout “CORRECTION, it’s not over, we’re giving you another round of treatment because we have to, and thus, you cannot resume your life.” I definitely did not want that to happen. I do not want it to happen.
I may have uttered the words to one or forty people close to me, but I have not believed them. At a time when I imagined I would be singing and dancing and prancing, I walked around like I was suffering from concussion. I cried. Even Mamma Jones drew a tear and that just plain freaked me out. I have made practical steps that somebody in my position might do, like plan a return to work, spend a few nights pretending I am 21 again and slept, but it did not sink in. I would not let it sink in until I received it in writing. Until I had the proof I needed to know that for however long I have, that I am in remission. There I said it. I am in remission. I don’t think I am in remission. I am. It’s not how I imagined it, nor did it come as quickly as I had wished, but it is here. I now have evidence that there is no evidence of myeloma, and that made my day yesterday.
I am in remission. I might just say it again, because even with the proof, I still don’t quite believe it.
That damp, dirty shoe is going to fall at some point in my future, but for now I am going to exhale like I have never exhaled before and relish in this feeling that after 15 months of illness, sickness, treatment and limbo, I am free. Well, as free as I am ever going to be from this. And that fact makes me do something I had yet to experience and that is to cry rivers of joy. Joy and relief.
Those of us unfortunate enough to have myeloma know that the magic word of which I speak does not mean a reversal of fortune and a physical rewind to a pre myeloma life. Everything that poisoned my innards, has left a mark, and now the challenge is to learn to live with that. I still experience pain, I am still in recovery following the Big T and I am still required to attend the hospital and receive the fortnightly injection of Velcade. This is why we are intertwined. The story goes on, and hopefully, on and on and on.
In time, I will learn that this first all consuming 15 months were only part of my story. I have to learn to live with My Myeloma now, I have to properly enter the big wide world and discover my limitations and exceed its expectations, and I hope that I will continue to be surrounded by the people I love for the ride.
Right now, however, and I mean right now, at this instance, I can officially say that after so much, so much time, so much pain, so many needles, so many stem cells, so many drugs, that this chapter, this volume, this tomb, and whatever else I have called it, is over. It’s done. It’s closed.
The only thing left to say is, my name is Emma Jane Jones and I am in remission.
To be continued… For sure.