Thursday, November 10, 2011

Marines and Multiple Myeloma

There have been some rough spots during my last three years of treatment for multiple myeloma, but when it gets particularly bad, I think of a short-list of people or groups whom have shown extraordinary courage under fire, proverbial and otherwise. 
I remember other cancer patients (including my parents) whom have quietly shown me that there is no disgrace in being afraid in the midst of adversity. They've shown me that it is possible to face difficult times with dignity and grace; that to ask for help and understanding is not a weakness; that to reach out and help another person in distress, even while facing my own pain and uncertainty, is noble. They have taught me how to march forward.
Today in the United States we celebrate and remember the 236th Anniversary of the founding of the U. S. Marine Corps. 
I have known many very fine Marines in my lifetime. Men and women, Generals and Privates, active duty, retired and reserves. Wet-behind-the-ears youngsters just out of high school, college graduate professionals, CEO quality senior officers, family members, neighbors. Some I like personally, some I don't, but U.S. Marines one and all.
Almost to a person, they abhor war. Like me, they prefer peace. They have made a choice to put their lives in jeopardy to protect, promote and preserve the freedom of our country and for others around the world.
I have met Marines with myeloma. They have shown me how to summon a personal strength from within to fight and keep fighting against this cancer. Some have said that the duel with myeloma is scarier than conventional warfare, because the fighting is internal. You can't look myeloma in the eyes - you can't reason with it. You can't sit at a negotiating table and vie for compromise or surrender.
I view the battle with myeloma as a that - a battle, a war. Myeloma is a terrorist, an aggressor. My job is  to wage the best campaign against myeloma that my team and I can muster. As I have said before, myeloma is willing to take everything I value and hold dear from me. I won't sit idly by, because my time is running out.
Please, these thoughts are not intended to spark a debate about Marines or policies or anything political. I'm just sharing a bit about a special group of people whom have influenced me in my joust with myeloma.
Most importantly, Semper Fi and Happy Birthday, leathernecks! Thank you for what you do.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Indeed it is a battle - a battle of wits and wiles, of determination and resiliency, it's not just for the MM patient, either, but for the caregiver who has his or her own fears to allay, sleepless nights, long hours in a waiting room, and churning over a discussion with a member of the medical team.

The Marines motto "Always Ready" is not unlike that of the MM'ers who must always be at the ready for changes in battle plans, ready to tackle this elusive enemy one more time.