I just found out that my friend, Joyce Wells, has died. Myeloma took her life.
Joyce and I met in 2003, because she saw something I posted to the ACOR myeloma list, and wrote to me. I always signed my posts, “Beth in NC.” Joyce asked where I lived in North Carolina, and it turned out that we were less than a 30 minute drive from each other. We met for lunch, and were friends ever since. We scheduled our clinic visits and treatments at the same time whenever we could. We’d meet for lunch before (or after) and sit along side each other when we were having infusions of something or other. We tried to schedule our stem cell transplants for exactly the same time frame, but it didn’t quite match up. Mine started a week before Joyce’s. Still, our apartments were next door to each other, and we saw each other in the clinic every day.
Joyce made me laugh. I’ll never forget how she spoke of stem cell transplant programs as being either “inhouse” or “outhouse.” Of course, she meant to say inpatient or outpatient. It stuck though, and that’s what we called it from then on. She explained what the term, “Massholes” meant. It has never come up in conversation, but, if it ever does, I’m not going to have to ask what it means.
Dr. Peterson, who we both saw for a while, used to call us the “Myeloma Twins.” I have to say that, if you can manage it, having a treatment buddy is the best way to get through chemo.
I don’t have anything more to say right now, except that I’ll miss her terribly. I’ll never forget Joyce. I’ll try to post more memories of her as time goes by.
During the time I was in treatment, I coordinated my doctor visits and chemo with another myeloma patient who lives about 25 miles from here. We traveled to Chapel Hill appointments together and, when we were told the only treatment left to us was a stem cell transplant, we had ours together through The Duke Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant (ABMT) Program in Durham, NC. We even had apartments next door to one another!
One of our doctors started calling us the “myeloma twins.”
I’m really glad to have just gotten the news that Joyce is moving to Pinehurst, which borders on Southern Pines (where I live)! She’ll only be a few miles away, so we’ll get to see each other more often.
I went to Dr. Peterson’s office for my first dose of Velcade. Joyce took a picture on my phone, but I have NO idea how to get it off of there. Nothing I’ve tried has worked. I’m going to be one of those people who has to go into the phone store to ask for help.
Before I had the Velcade, I had some saline, 10 mg of IV dex and some Aloxi. If you know me, you know that I make them do everything they can to make sure I don’t vomit. I have emetophobia, and, for me, vomiting is almost as bad as dying. If I feel icky, I have compazine and ativan here at home to take. I do have a headache. I think that’s from the Aloxi. I kind of have an acidy feeling in my stomach. I had that with Cytoxan. I think I’m really prone to that. Even Zometa gives me indigestion. Anyway, so far, there’s nothing to report. I’ll go back Friday for more Velcade and some Doxil. I’ll keep going for up to 8 cycles if it works.
I’m home now. I’ve been home since Friday evening. I feel pretty well, but very, very tired. My Hgb is low, for the first time since I’ve known I have myeloma. . It’s been borderline low, before, but only 11.3. Now it’s 9.3. For some, that seems good, I know, so I’m not complaining.
The thing that’s most annoying is the triple lumen catheter. I feel it there every waking minute. I supposed it will take some getting used to. The harvest is the 16th, so I have to put up with it until at least then, right?
Thanks, Emily, for visiting me in the hospital and bringing the Lifesavers. The little drawing was cute, too. I would expect no less from someone who carries crayons in her pocket. :)
Again, I want to thank Joyce for getting me there and getting me through it. I think it might have been too hard, had you not been there! Thank you!
And thanks to Kelly, Mary, Cathy, Karen and all the staff who were there to help along the way. Dr. T., I’m glad I got to meet you.
I’m in the hospital now. I had a Neostar triple lumen catheter inserted this morning and have had xrays and labs drawn. Other than that, not much else. At 10:00 PM, they’re going to start hydrating me in preparation for the Cytoxan and Mesna. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t hurt to have a catheter placed in your chest. It would be a lie.
Thanks to Joyce for getting me here and helping me not to flee.