How I deal with myeloma amidst a pandemic.
The first thing is, I trust in the Lord. The next thing is, I follow the COVID-19 rules. The third thing is, I keep myself busy when I’m supposed to.
Trusting in the Lord allows me to keep my optimism going. Trusting God means that I am not always doing what I would prefer to do, or hope to do. In fact, sometimes rarely. But the fact is that God leads me to do the work God means for me to do, like write this essay. Being a myeloma patient for 8-1/2 years, I am hypogammaglobulinemic, as many myeloma patients are. It means that I have virtually no immune system with which to fight any infection, let alone Covid-19. I always get my flu shot early in the fall (in September) so that it has a chance to protect me as well as possible.
If I wish to stay alive longer, I need to follow the rules. My wife and I walk for about 2-miles every morning together. Living in southeast Florida means that this can be more difficult now with early morning temperatures of about 82° and relative humidity of about 85%. But we do it anyway. We wear loose clothing and keep to the shade as much as we can. At this time of day, 7 to 8 o’clock, the sun is not very high and the risk of sunburn is very low. We do not wear a mask during our walks because it is very easy to keep substantially more than a minimum physical distance from other walkers or bicyclists. Other than our walks, we only go out for groceries and doctor visits that cannot be done by telehealth. In these cases, we always wear masks. I certainly do not want to catch this virus and neither does my wife because she is protecting me. The main thing about masks is that they are very good at protecting other people and less good at protecting me. This is why If I ever approach an environment where people are not wearing masks, I go the other way.
So, what’s this about keeping myself busy when I’m supposed to? I enjoy baking: bread, cookies, pies, cakes, muffins, and etc. But baking bread is the most important to me. We have not purchased supermarket or bakery bread in years. I even now bake hamburger and hotdog buns. The trick is to bake when necessary, not just to keep me busy.
I also like to read. Theology is a favorite and so are science fiction, mystery, science, and biography. And as I am reading, if my eyes get heavy, I nap.
My wife and I also like to cook. It’s a good thing, these days, right? We often have said that our favorite restaurant is at home. We’re not afraid to try new recipes. Some we have again and some go into the trash. We’ve developed some recipes on our own. And, with the difficulty of finding quality tartar sauce or salsa in stores, we now make our own.
In the evenings we like to watch mystery or drama or comedy series on AcornTV or Netflix. There’s always lots of choices. We stay away from broadcast news because a myeloma patient really should not become depressed – it’s bad for our health!
Finally, we simply enjoy being with each other. We thank God we have each other every day. It is extremely important to have at least one someone that a person can talk with frequently. I honestly cannot say that I have ever been bored since the pandemic started. Yes, there are many people we wish we could see, especially our children. We get by with telephone calls, emails, and text messaging.
If anyone would like, I’d be happy to discuss any or all of this with any reader who would like to do so.
Karl Weinrich Myeloma Coach
You can find and connect with Karl or over a hundred other Myeloma Coaches @www.myelomacoach.org
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about the author
Rozalynn Hite is the Myeloma Coach Director and wife of myeloma patient Richard Hite. Rozalynn is an occupational therapist and mother of three beautiful children.