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  • Writer's pictureMark Pajak

A Bunch of Baloney



Personal Disclaimer: I have nothing against baloney. The title above is just a saying I have used on some occasions without harboring a known negative bias or prejudice to baloney, luncheon meats, cured meats, smoked meats, bar-b-q’ed meats or any other such delicacies found in the grocery store.

It is not uncommon in our culture today to hear the following: If you want something bad enough you have to just go out and get it.

Sounds simple enough does it not? I can have what I want if I just go out and get it.

Wellllll, I guess I do not put much faith in such a blanket statement. My experiences in life have not always run in accordance with such a mantra.

Living with Multiple Myeloma/cancer has taught me much. And one of the truisms that it has taught me is this: Sometimes, heck often times, I get what I would define as something I do not want.

Yep, that’s been a repeated pattern in my life. What lands on my plate is not something I went out and got. And, for a long time, I kept wondering - What’s with that?

Here are a few examples that I can rattle off the top of head my head in less than one minute concerning “things” in my life that I do not/did not want:

  1. I do not want to have Multiple Myeloma/Cancer.

  2. I do not want to take my chemo infusions when they cause me to have headaches and vomiting and nausea.

  3. I do not want to feel fatigued and tired.

  4. I do not want to see the suffering that comes to most of us who live with or are caring for someone who has cancer. It is tough.

  5. I do not want or like that I have had to make many concessions to what I thought my life would be like in order to move forward while living with MM.

That was easy. I suppose each of us could fill a notebook on the topic of “stuff” we have had to encounter while traveling life’s journey that we really did not want nor expect. But for me, that is OK. It is simply fine. We take our cancer diagnosis, pick it up and walk with it the best we can.

It has been my experience that most of us who have MM/cancer in our lives are low on the complaining totem. At the hospital infusion center, very little “fussing” is encountered.

Multiple Myeloma came to us. We did not go out and get it.

What to do, what to do.

The thought has occurred that maybe I have not lived my life like I thought I wanted to live it. Could it be that I just never went out and “got” what I wanted and instead got what came my way?

I love that I am living, writing and laughing when I hear a funny story. I cried for joy when the Avs won the Stanley Cup last year. I love a good meal, a good book or a good conversation all of which I get to regularly experience. Golfing, hiking, phone calls, taking day trips or weekend jaunts with friends and family - all are top of the list items in my life. I really am glad that I am still alive.

Frankly its pretty easy for me to list that for which I am grateful in my life. I have a life that I like but it does involve to a large degree one huge item that I do not like - cancer.

Many of the items in my life that I really like are somewhat of out of my control. I mean I cannot make my sons call me or make the Avs win the Cup. I cannot expect to just go out and “get” those kind of treasures. I have to nurture and work toward and even hope that what I do matters or works, while recognizing that for much of this I am not in control.

I now accept that most of what I like/love in my life with or without cancer just comes to me. That’s right, it just comes to me. A lot of stuff I do not like comes to me as well but hey life is not perfect.

I have to be diligent, caring, aware and available if I am to experience that which I like in my life. Most of the time, I do not have to go out and “get” anything. In fact, often times when I go out and try to “get”, well things get all messed up.

Having cancer is tough, trying and not something I went out and got – no it got me. That is part of my life.

Oh well, traveling forward, I will take my meds, be dutiful to what the doc and nurses say and remember to try and stay away from anyone who is telling me I can just go out and get what I want.

I mean, what a bunch of baloney.

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1 Comment


grzybow36
Mar 29, 2023

Mark, your writing is truly inspirational. As a 3 time cancer survivor you help bring everything into perspective. We’ve known each other a long time and have had many conversations and made many memories. Thanks for being a friend and sharing your perspective with others. Mike Grzy

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