Twenty-three years and counting

Anniversaries are important; they mark the occurrence of many events in our lives. Each first Sunday at my church, members are given the opportunity to stand and be recognized for having a birthday or wedding anniversary for the month. Members with wedding anniversaries are asked to state how long they’ve been married. It may seem a bit corny, but it’s one of the welcomed traditions we practice that brings a smile to the face of all.

Today, March twelve, is an important, personal anniversary for me. It marks twenty-three years since I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I’ve written several times about this horrible form of blood cancer from which I suffer. Here are links to two post I’ve published previously :  To be diagnosed with a disease that yet kills forty-five percent of its victims within five years of diagnosis, and still be around after twenty-three years, is  definitely something to celebrate. Wouldn’t you agree? At the time I was diagnosed, the overall survival rate for people diagnosed with multiple myeloma was thirty-five percent beyond five years. The rate for that same period of survival currently is over fifty-five percent. For four percent of people who are diagnosed at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is over seventy-seven percent. I wasn’t an early diagnosed patient. That’s even more reason to celebrate. My oncology team calls me a poster child for multiple myeloma.

During my early years of living with this disease, I looked at the future tentatively. At some point, not sure when, I began to realize multiple myeloma didn’t give me some unique inability to dream about what the future might bring. The future is no more certain for an Olympic athlete as it is for me. More than ten years ago, I accepted the fact that my joy for life came in making the most of each day that came my way. Isn’t that the reality for everyone? Now, I enjoy the peace that I’m convinced my Creator wants me to have. The burden of worrying about whether I’ll be around tomorrow, the next day, or the next year is absent from my life.

And so, I’m twenty-three years and counting, and I’ll continue to count until I’m not here to count anymore. Happy anniversary to me, and to all other multiple myeloma patients who might be celebrating an anniversary around this time.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

5 thoughts on “Twenty-three years and counting

  1. catterel March 13, 2023 / 10:54 am

    Happy anniversary indeed! None of us know how long we have – sufficient unto the day be the evil thereof, and make the most of each and every day God gives us. Be blessed!


  2. Donna March 13, 2023 / 8:16 pm

    Wow! Happy 23rd Rebirthday!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and words of wisdom. I celebrated my 1 year rebirth and look forward to many more years not waiting for the journey to end but living life to the fullest. Thank you again!!!


  3. revruss1220 March 14, 2023 / 3:42 pm

    Happy 23rd anniversary! And here’s to many, many more.


  4. rangewriter March 20, 2023 / 4:20 pm

    The future is no more certain for an Olympic athlete as it is for me. – That is so true and such a marvelous perspective. I will remember your story of MM, as the my neighbor’s father was diagnosed with this last fall. Thanks for being so inspirational and Happy 23rd!


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