Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thank You, Mark Twain

Last night I finished reading (or re-reading after many years) The Adventures  of Huckleberry Finn, one of Mark Twain's great American novels. I remembered the same feelings that I had as a young boy, being swept away on Huck and Tom Sawyer's tale of drifting  down the mighty Mississippi River, meeting colorful antebellum characters, visiting quintessential river ports of the late 1880s. This trip was about freedom and losing yourself in a world of your own choosing.

During the final chapter it was time for me to take my Revlimid, Coumadin and various other evening pills. It just so happened that I ran out of three of the medications and, as I stared at the empty bottles, a bright idea hit me.

I decided to gather all of the empty pill bottles, and the as yet unused, send-a-sample-to-Little-Rock-once-a-month urine collection bottles, to build myself a modern day raft. Myeloma patients, if they're like me, go through pill bottles faster than  a speeding bullet. I have hundreds of them!

I live a minute from beautiful Tablerock Lake. I imagined myself floating under the stars, listening to the wind birth small whitecaps across the pristine water, an occasional cry of a lake bird. If lucky, perhaps I'd get a glimpse of one of the majestic eagles that call the lake and surrounding hills home.

Myeloma has tried to take so much from me, but I'm determined to keep the upper hand. I decided to use those pill bottles and the bright orange urine jugs to recreate Huck and Tom's voyage. This morning I excitedly told Karen about my bold maritime goal.  

'How are you going to tie all of those bottles together?  You realize that you weigh 190 lbs and are bigger than a breadbox. Do you really have enough bottles? Do you have to call the Missouri Water Patrol for permission? What about Celgene and the FDA? Using a Revlimid bottle as a raft is an off-label use. Can you swim with fractured vertebrae? Take your hand sanitizer. Do you really think that you can pull this off?'

'Well.... yes I do!'

'Okay, I believe in you. But be back before supper. And take your pills with you. And...........'  

I'm never going to let Myeloma take away my dreams - even the little ones.

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