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  • Writer's pictureMark Pajak

Mashed Potatoes


Well, October finds me preparing for Car T cell therapy. I am scheduled to have my T-Cells harvested in early November. Once harvested, they will be sent off to be modified. If all goes according to plan, the modified cells will be returned by mid to late December. I have been told that what follows is two to three days of some chemo infusions, a couple days of rest and then the T Cells will be re-introduced into my body and then we will monitor the heck out of my condition. Poking and prodding and blood testing on the horizon.

There are both certainties and uncertainties with any medical procedure and this one is no different. I can go down the list of unknowns or “what ifs” associated with this process that has been provided to me but if I shared them with you, it would be difficult to keep this post at about 800 words. The potential side-effects make me somewhat nervous. The success rate/ratios, while encouraging, are by no means guaranteed. I am somewhat nervous or anxious. For me, it is best to trust the doctors, trust the process and trust the universe and to remember to focus my attention on what is right in front of me right now.

All of which brings me to a quick look at the word “comfort” and how I can apply it to my life in preparing for this next step.

By definition, comfort is a state of physical ease, a state free from pain; it is the easing of a persons’ feelings of grief or distress. Now that sounds real nice. Imagine a cool glass of water on a hot dry day.

I must admit that I really like comfort. A state of being where pain, grief, distress, and anxiousness are hard to find sounds appealing. Who in their right mind wants to be miserable? Comfort seems to be a decent ticket to hold/have.

I know that the effects of chemo and some of the potential side-effects of Car T cell therapy can be difficult to manage – painful and unattractive and involving physical distress and alarm. I do not expect it to be a comfortable process. All things considered; I am very very grateful for the upside to the treatment which helps fuel my enthusiasm about moving forward.

So what to do? How do I find comfort? Is it possible? Is finding comfort all about an awareness of or an acknowledging of the available goodness within the reality that I occupy? If I am to seek comfort, then most likely I must understand and accept that I must also give comfort.

So, here is a reality check:

Having Multiple Myeloma (MM) is not an end-all, worst possible, totally unfortunate condition. It is just a condition of special circumstances that warrants some adaptations and adjustments. It does not prevent me from comforting others.

Having MM does not constitute a crisis in and of itself. It is just a situation that I must deal with. In fact, my response to what is in front of me can prevent a crisis mentality from taking over. I can choose how to respond. I can choose to seek and then work on creating a comforting mind-set for myself and for others who are in need.

Having MM does not mean I cannot have a “comforting” time of it. If I want comfort, I can identify what that would look like and put forth a solid effort toward that end. Rather than keeping the notion of comfort in some quasi-mysterious state of being, I can work at nurturing comfort both for myself and others. It may be high time to adopt some new ideas or perspectives which accent or promote this desire for comfort.

Well now,…. Indeed… Hmmm.

Writing about doing something, changing something, or accepting a new mindset or challenge is always so much easier than actually taking on the project and working toward tangible results. But, there are rewards to be had through action.

If I seek comfort, well then let’s seek comfort but be generous in providing comfort. How about I approach this new protocol, these new uncertainties, these new treatments with a genuine effort toward that which I have identified as being comfort inducing. Remove or at least minimize the stuff that gets in the way of seeking/providing comfort and let’s see what happens.

At my age, I realize that sometimes possibly/maybe even most of the time I will not “get my way”. Defugalties seem to appear at every turn. True – but so what.

This comfort idea or change in mindset has the potential to “grow legs”.And wouldn’t that be something.And that thought seems almost as comforting as a warm gravy covered bowl of mashed potatoes.

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