Monday, January 19, 2009

Telling Friends

Ok - I've been dealing with this since late-October and have yet to really move forward on anything. I feel like I'm moving in the right direction now, having decided to work w/ Dr. Richardson/DFCI. But until now, I've only spoken w/ family, key people at work and a few, long-distance friends. This weekend, over beers and a friendly card game, I told the immediate rugby family, "I've got bad news and I've got worse news...."

Which brings up one of the tough parts (and the purpose of this space): how do you tell people and how do you explain everything.

You balance the decision to tell with the "telling" you'll have to do afterwards explaining all details as if you are the expert (even though you're just learning most of these things now.) It's not that you don't want to tell but when is the right time, how do you start the conversation and what reaction will they have? Playing cards, having beers, break in the game, break out the vodka red bull and have at it. Perfect opportunity - kind of changed the mood of the night though! But I don't remember much after the vodka (that had a splash of red bull!) Bottom line, you don't want to email someone - in some cases you can only say it over the phone - in some cases you're introducing this after "how were your hols?" There's no good time to break this kind of news and I think most people get it. But then you have to explain - and that just gets tough.

Let's take a step back - at this point I've got nothing wrong with me. Yes, I have cancer and yes it's NOT good but it's not actually doing anything to me yet. I still have to do something but at least it's not causing problems. So a lot of my talk, compared to somone that's already gone thru their transplant, done the chemo thing, etc.; is whiney piddlesh*t! That said - everyone starts somewhere. This is my way of saying, "this site is going to do a better job explaining what I'm going through, what's happened and what are the next steps."

So the bad news was I'm not playing rugby this season - and to me that's a beyotch! I'm not really worried about the disease. I know I'm going to fight it and that I'll be fine - can't say it's as strong as knowing I was going to have 1 boy and 1 girl but I'll take what I can get. But rugby was the one thing that actually kept me active, fit (i should put that in quotes) and young. Taking that away is a pain. I know plenty of people that have retired at the ripe old age of 38 or younger. But I played with a gentleman in Hong Kong who was 66 and I said then, "that's what I want to be doing!" Who knows - it's a good goal!

And so you want to help - can you find a cure for this? That would be a great help! But seriously, if you want to help, let me know. I don't have anything but when I know there's something you can help with I will definitely give you a ring. Beyond that, my family network helped identify doctors, hospitals, etc. At this point I just need to get on with this and get rid of it! I don't know how you can help beyond one thing:

Don't treat me any different - I'm still me. I can't drink as much (if you call 1.5 pints a week even a drink!) but that doesn't mean I can't live vicariously through you! At some point I will be a wreck - then don't come near me if you have a cold or some type of nasty illness. Till then, talking, laughing, joking about this mess is the best medicine.

I need to crash now - I've read this and re-wrote it once - not going to bother doing it again so if I've said something to offend it wasn't intended.

As for help - I would like everyone's help - I just don't know how you can help right now. Thoughts are good, prayers are fine - fruit cake...let's send it around as a test for 6 degrees of separation - how long before it reurns to you? Seriously though, there's nothing you can do. Should a need arise and you can fill that need, bottom line, you'll be called. Otherwise, all I can ask is to realize I haven't changed - will be putting up w/ a lot of sh*t over the next year or so but haven't changed - meaning, don't treat me different. I can't play rugby, and that's killing me. I can't drink more than 3 units of alcohol a week (1.5 pints mate - 1.5 pints!) and that's killing me. I'm not on oxygen, I'm not in a wheelchair, I'm still me and just want friends there and things as normal as they can be for this juncture in time.

Again, I apologize if I sound like a whiner/whinger/mr pissypants! I'm not like that but the whole concept of telling people is a double edged sword. I'm not holding out as I don't want to tell YOU - it's the whole process of telling that's a pain. But that concept has now been talked to its fullest. Many thanks for listening and cheers for now.


Alan Lobo said...

Billy 1, Myeloma 0
Hang in there brother, we're with you.

Malone said...

geez, Billy, i just found out yesterday. stay strong and rely on friends and teammates for support. and see if your doctor can give you a little more leeway on your weekly alcohol allotment.
the malones' thoughts, prayers and good energy are with you.