Journey of a Lifetime And My World Falls Apart Pt.2

©PHOTOPQR/LE PROGRES/PHILIPPE VACHER - LA VALLA EN GIER LE 7/06/2008  - ACCIDENT D AVION DANS LE MASSIF DU PILAT. TROIS BLESSES DE NATIONALITE ANGLAISE ET BELGE.   

An aircraft, with 2 English passengers and 1 Belgian passenger crashed in the massif of Pilat, on June 7th, 2008

©PHOTOPQR/LE PROGRES/PHILIPPE VACHER - LA VALLA EN GIER LE 7/06/2008 - ACCIDENT D AVION DANS LE MASSIF DU PILAT. TROIS BLESSES DE NATIONALITE ANGLAISE ET BELGE. An aircraft, with 2 English passengers and 1 Belgian passenger crashed in the massif of Pilat, on June 7th, 2008

Part 2 of my doomed journey to Mexico City and receiving some of the worst news imaginable…

I spoke to my family about options of getting home as quickly as possible and was gladly prepared to pay through the nose in order to get back. I should add that I am far from ‘flush’ but would have given every penny I had to get home, I’d have traded an organ if needed. I was reassured by family that there was no need to pay eye watering ticket prices and also that it wasn’t the case that I would be coming home to pay my last respects, far from it in fact, but I still couldn’t rest and just needed to be moving.

After two and half hours online I managed to find a trip to Houston TX then on to Vancouver and then back to Manchester, it seemed a long way around but it fitted into all my speed, cost and leaving time requirements. The point was that I was moving and heading home.

Finally, 37 hours later, on Friday the 10th July I arrived in home in Durham and went straight to the hospital to see Mum; today was D-day as we would find out the results of the tests and the severity of the disease.

I’ll be completely honest, my expectation was to walk into the hospital to discover that my Mum had cancer which was at stage ‘x’ and that she had ‘x’ amount of years left, of course the human pschye invariably expects the worst and despite never being able to fully ‘prepare’ for the news that your loved one now has an expiry date, that is most certainly what I walked in expecting.

Before I go into the rest I feel it’s important to give the diagnosis in brief.

Diagnosis and Symptoms as a Result of the Myeloma

  • A type of bone marrow cancer called Light Chain Multiple Myeloma
  • Kidney failure
  • Chest infection
  • Compression fracture to the vertebrae in the lower back
  • Swelling to the legs and feet ( a result of being bed bound)

The truth about multiple myeloma ( or as far as I understand it ) is that there is no staging process like cancers such as breast/lung/prostate etc. Those cancers begin with a tumour or problematic cells and the staging process regards the level to which it spreads; Myeloma is a problem which takes place in plasma cells in the bone marrow and it does not begin with a lump or a tumour. One positive of Myeloma is that it is extremely unlikely to spread anywhere, but in terms of positives there are not too many more.

I am studying all I can about this disease and forgive me if you’re better informed than I and there are some incorrect medical facts here.

– Myeloma is Incurable but Very Treatable

This would appear to be the key headline with this form of cancer, there are thousands of varied accounts of Myeloma sufferers but the general gist is that the Myeloma cells do react very well to treatment and in general, and I stress ‘general,’ most people recover well from treatment and essentially enter a remission phase, but this motherfucker will come back and eventually it will take you. Many people have had 3,4,5 sessions of successful treatment with years of remission in between, but as it stands right now, the Myeloma cells will eventually become immune to treatment and I’m sure you don’t need me to spell out the rest.

I began this blog to talk about my amazing new life and my travels and it now seems to have a taken on a whole new meaning. On top of everything else I think that this blog, and sharing to the world the brutality of such a disease will help myself emotionally in dealing with my Mum’s illness and to hopefully help others who are in a similar predicament. For anyone affected by Myeloma, here are some important statistics.

  • Last year (2014) there were only 4,800 cases in the UK and that number made up just 1% of all UK cancers.
  • Average age of sufferers is 63
  • Slightly more popular in males than females
  • Slightly more popular in Blacks than Caucasians 
  • Huge steps made in research in the last 5-10 years and awareness is growing.

One thing I will add is that I have read as many positive cases as I have a negative, some people have lived for 15 years and up with Myeloma, however, there are also cases of people living months to just a few years. If you are in a position like I am or you have just been diagnosed yourself then I want to share with you my approach to Cancer in general.

IGNORE EVERY OTHER STORY OF SURVIVAL RATES

Focus on the individual, by all means pick up helpful tips from people, make use of the cancer community for emotional support and, during treatment, take advice from others on how to cope best but do not even begin to think that you or your loved one is a ticking time bomb because that kind of thinking will erode hope when you need it most.

  • Deal with what is in front of you
  • Approach everyday with a different mind set 
  • Positivity is the golden word, without this you might as well give up now
  • Cancer is a brutal and unrelenting, meet it with the strength of a thousand hurricanes and a soul that is wrapped in barbed wire, it’s the very least that this daylight robber of an illness deserves 

Finding out that a loved one has a severe illness is heartbreaking and fills you with days of despair, whether you are travelling like I was/am or in any other situation. Family unity is imperative at such a time and I know that without mine, I would be lost in the sea of sorrow.

Finally, and on a happier note, I am currently flying back to Mexico to re-start that trip I started in July. My Mum is improving, slowly but surely and is currently undergoing her final stages of chemotherapy. She had a set back recently when she suffered a ‘mini-stroke,’ but is still remaining extremely positive and looking ahead, mobility is massively improving and I speak with her daily, I love her spirit so much.

Future posts will be filled with far less doom, I assure you, but I felt it was important to write this as an indication that you really don’t know what is around the corner.

Now, if you are able, go and ring your Mum and remind her how much you love her.

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