It's been more than a few months since our hero (me, of course) posted. Sorry, I've been busy. New job, expanded connections w/ the new fam, time w/ the existing fam and, oh yeah, I got cancer.
Some of you already know this, some don't. Regardless, it is what it is. What it is, specifically, is Multiple Myeloma. It's a cancer of the blood. Ironically, it's generally not believed to be related to smoking, so I guess the two pack a day habit I had been working the previous 20-odd years wasn't so bad after all. The good news is, I'm told, due to being caught in very early stages, it should be very treatable. The bad news is, well obviously, it's still cancer which means eventually it'll probably come back. Oh well, what can you do. The saga runs a little something like this...
Early January, 2010: For the first time in forever, I find myself working for a corporate bar. Con - corporate bs, Pro - insurance. When my insurance kicks in, I keep my promise to Rita and go for a check up. After being poked, prodded, probed, tapped, flicked, fingered and generally manhandled, I'm told I'm severely anemic. Over the next few weeks, I see several specialists to determine the cause of this anemia. For reasons unknown to me, it seems the entire medical community could not suppress their urges to shove their fingers/hands/arms up my pooper. Not to sound like a prude, but I'm not a fan of this procedure. It makes Mr. Starfish VERY unhappy. But enough about my sphincter.
My hematologist/oncologist diagnosed me in about two minutes. She's a very sharp lady. Smart and aggressive, I liked her immediately. Her "take no prisoners" attitude won me over out of the gate. I started Revlemid immediately, as well as assorted other meds to combat pain, infection, constipation and any of another dozen afflictions. Things were cool for a couple of weeks, but then took a turn for the worse.
Late February: Deterioration of mass in the femur and the quadriceps (thigh bones and muscles) led to a pretty painful condition and made walking nearly impossible. This landed me in the hospital. While the good people were trying to figure out how to deal w/ it, I wound up stoned as a bat for two weeks and some change. I'm not talking a little stoned. I'm talking gooney-goo-goo, mumbo dog-face, banana patch stoned. I have absolutely no recollection of my stay from about an hour after I hit the emergency room until I "blinked back in" two and a half weeks later. The bad news, I lost two weeks. The good news, I quit smoking. Who knew you just had to get really high on two different kinds of morphine, oxycodone, oxycontin, vicadin and various other pain killers to get the monkey off your back?
Mid-March: After waking up from my med-fueled stupor, my legs were in rough shape. Though they'd achieved the right mix for a cocktail to deal w/ the pain, my legs had deteriorated further, and now I could add two weeks of atrophy to the list of problems. The lower quads wouldn't quite fire correctly anymore. I was gonna have to learn to walk again. Two weeks of physical therapy got me up in a walker and motoring around pretty well. My first day, I was only good for a very painful 20 ft or so. 4 days later, a moderately painful 75 ft. 9 days, 300 ft. 12 days, 600 ft and change and I was tired before I felt any residual pain. the Matty rocks!!!
Now and the Future: I've set up a fb fanpage to keep my homeys apprised of what's going on titled "The Matty vs. Multiple Myeloma". Look it up if you like, join if you like. I appreciate the feedback and it feeds my ego to see the numbers climb.
In the (hopefully) near future, I'll be putting together fundraisers for several Cancer funds that have stepped up to help during my time of need. Since all I really know how to do is throw a party, I'm sure it'll devolve into some type of drunk-fest, but I'll already have the cash in hand, so screw it, just don't drink and drive. The work in progress is a tour of several cities (Atlanta, New York, Chicago and L.A. are the working cities, thus far) to raise money for local as well as national charities.
I'm also setting up a shop page on Cafe Press for T-shirts, hoodies, steins and stuff to help keep the bills paid (not working sucks). If you see something you like, by all means buy it. I'll post the sites on the Myeloma and the Asshats fanpages, so there's no excuse to miss it.
Hopefully, this answers all the questions my pals have been afraid to ask for the last couple of months. Yes, it sucks. No, I'm not scared. Yes, I'm annoyed at the timing (Jeez I finally hook up w/ the greatest gal in the world after 40-something years, and now this). No, I'm not ready to run the white flag.
With a little help and support from family and friends, I'll beat this by the end of the year. No doubt...no fear...no problem.
Big Love to all.