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  • Writer's pictureMark Pajak


Happy Thanksgiving? What, with cancer?

OK, as promised here is an update on my CAR T cell process.

I am proceeding forward with the Car T Cell Therapy procedure. I went through a battery of physical tests and scans and “passed” them all. Once approved for the therapy and earlier this month, my T Cells were harvested (a very mundane process where you sit hooked up to a machine and read a book or play games on your phone or do whatever you want to do as long as you sit still and not move around too much). After harvesting, the cells were sent off for modification. The modification process takes about six weeks and then the cells are sent back. They will be re-introduced into my body as “super cancer eating” cells that will help manage the multiple myeloma (certainly that is the hope). The current schedule has the T Cells being reintroduced into my body on +/- 12/26.

So, having written that, I would be less than honest if I did not mention that there are times where I still cannot quite believe that all of what is/was happening is so very real and so profoundly serious. I was laying on a table having the catheter used in the harvesting process removed from my upper chest and I realized again how life happens and often it seems as if I am just along for the ride be it smooth or bumpy.

I was almost brought to tears and was somewhat overwhelmed when recognizing how much so many people are doing for me to keep moving forward. People I do not know, people of whatever race, ethic origin, political leanings, spiritual beliefs, etc. that had happened to “catch the morning shift” got out of bed, got dressed, came to work that morning (maybe had a cup of coffee), and then proceeded to care for me.

Not once did anyone complain. Not once did any of those that I met have a discouraging word to say or a sour face to express or an attitude of arrogance and indifference. Never an energy of contempt or malice or pre-occupation with something else. Never did I witness someone not wanting to be right where they were – helping others.

No, it was quite remarkable. And that went on for the entire 6 or 7 hours that I was stranded in the hospital, a place that I have always not really enjoyed. A place that truth be told usually brings out the worst in me.

Whew. I had to take some time to look around and try to comprehend my situation and I finally settled on this: What I experienced was so LARGE and I am so small.

This most recent experience of living with Multiple Myeloma brought me to recognize that I routinely walk among giants.

No not the San Francisco Giants - although that would be cool as well.

We all walk among giants. People are incredible. People are good. And despite the many messages I am/we are exposed to about the "horrors" of the times, I/we are extremely fortunate.

Every day, all of us are given the privilege to see others, to see the giants and to walk with them. We get to witness their strengths and abilities. We get to share in their courage and kindness. We are able to get up in the morning, put on our clothes (or not if it is a down day and you just want to stay in bed – which is OK) and yes, walk among giants.

Bakers who get up early in the morning so that we can have fresh bread. Insurance adjusters who look out and help us when misfortune strikes. City workers who fix the leaks in the pipes that run beneath our streets so that we can have water at our beck and call. Giants. There are mechanics who fix our cars or help with their maintenance so we can get to wherever we need to be. Laborers who brave the rain, cold and sometimes snowy, nasty weather usually for the sake of my/our convenience.

There are so many people out there who are “doing the do” for my/our well-being and usually they do it without complaint, without brag-a-dosous-ness (not sure how to spell that word) and without the need for a big brass band, a microphone or a “special day/month” so as to tell the world how wonderful they are for being in service to others.

Giants they all are I say. And I really want to remember to say “thank you” to as many of those “giants” that happen to cross my path in the next few days.

I will try to keep the posts coming as I go through the CAR T cell process. Not sure how it will/or what will transpire but I will move forward.

In the meantime - back to the top of the page - Happy Thanksgiving? You are darn right - Happy Thanksgiving!


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1 comentário

Michael Grzybowski
Michael Grzybowski
21 de nov. de 2023

Very well said. So much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving

Mike Grzy

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