We’ve all known people who have had periods where they have had more bad luck than the average bear. Right? Sure, it happens with good luck, too, but when has too much good luck ever been an issue?
So, our friend goes along being hit with one misfortune after another, and we express the correct amount of sympathy. And it’s genuine. We feel bad. But after a while, doesn’t something change in your approach? Come on, you think, no is ever that unlucky. Then, unbidden, the word “jinxed” enters the arena. Once that happens, it’s only human to want to switch from concerned, sympathetic friend to jinx avoider. I mean, people weren’t exactly lined up on the dock waiting for the Ancient Mariner to arrive, were they now?
All this came to mind when I was trying to frame the latest incident that has been added to my list of woes. One of the things about myeloma that has been made abundantly clear from Day One: falling down is bad. Because the disease can cause lesions in my bones, thereby weakening them, it is much better to not fall down.
Well, after having made it through almost the entire flippin’ winter without incident, I fell down not once, not twice, but three times last week, within a 12-hour period. One came as I tried to help my wife cope with our flooding cellar, by moving a 60-pound bag of sand into place. What could possibly go wrong? I thought. Well, as it turned out…
… An incomplete fracture of my right clavicle, terribly painful bruising to my ribs and sternum, and a bump on the back of my head. The clavicle fracture limits my ability to use my right hand and arm, while the pain in my ribs makes it very hard to take a deep breath, or even a shallow breath at times.
Now, I’m supposed to walk with a cane to help me with my balance. And I can’t do anything else while walking. Chewing gum and walking at the same time was not specifically excluded, but why take the chance? My physician’s assistant also told me, at least six times, that I could not fall down again… ever.
On top of that, I now have to see a radiology oncologist. In addition to attacking my blood cells, myeloma also causes the aforementioned lesions/holes in my bones. That’s how the initial diagnosis was made, through X-rays after I had hurt one of my ribs. The radiology oncologist needs to see if my clavicle had already been weakened by the effects of the myeloma prior to snapping when I fell.
And … in the midst of all this, I had to notify human resources at MaineToday Media that I would not be returning to work. I guess we all knew that was going to be the case, but now it’s official, and it sucks. I really liked working for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, and I liked the people I worked with. Realistically, though, returning to work hasn’t been in the cards for a few months, especially since the stem cell transplant entered the picture.
I’ve already been away for six months. The lead-up to the transplant would keep me out for weeks, and recovery from the transplant would mean even more months out of work. The decision itself was easy enough, I guess, but I hated to make it; hated to leave.
Before going to work at MTM, I had been out of work for almost two years. In that time, I interviewed for numerous jobs that I was supremely qualified for but did not get, for a variety of reasons, mostly my age, I believe.
When I interviewed at MTM, I had not worked for a newspaper in 13 years. I had never used the design software they employed and I had always worked on PCs, while they used Macs. I got the job anyway, and I came to believe that there was a reason for that. I have no idea what it was, but I’m just as sure now that there is a reason for leaving the company and moving on to whatever’s next; sort of like Mary Poppins or Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name.
I don’t know what that next thing might be, but I remain willing and open to whatever it is. Since I’ll still be writing my blog, we can take this latest part of the journey together and see how it unfolds.
Jim Arnold is a former copy editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. To read more about his journey through cancer, visit his blog, findingthepony.blogspot.com.