Nine years ago, we moved into our beautiful home on the Merrimack River in West Newbury, Massachusetts. It has been a wonderful journey, with many fond memories of family gatherings, birthday and graduation parties, cookouts, nights in front of the fireplace, beautiful sunsets, boat rides on the river, and just relaxing on the deck or the dock enjoying the ambiance, listening to the waves lapping the shore or the cows mooing on the farm across the river.
But alas, the time has come to move on. The house is huge, and it's only the two of us here. We have talked for several years now about downsizing. The recent recession didn't help much, so there is a financial incentive for us to move to a smaller place. But the real elephant in the room is this inescapable thing called Multiple Myeloma.
I am very fortunate to be in "remission" right now and feeling good. But the question remains: how long can I continue to be the ladder-climbing, chain-saw-wielding, roof-scampering caretaker of this immense property? There is always a lot to do. It's not that I'm getting old...I'll never admit that. But I do have to admit I've lost a step or two. I don't feel quite as comfortable cavorting on slanted roofs painting or staining or power washing as I used to. My recent ladder experience has given me a new respect for heights. I still love caring for my lawn and garden: trimming, edging, mowing, liming, fertilizing, planting, watering, etc., but the hand writing on the wall is now starting to come into focus. It's really time to start thinking about the "End Game".
I am now going month-to-month at the Farber (as many like to call DFCI). On one of these visits the blood tests might not give me such good news as they have until now. Then what? So we have started talking to realtors, and in the next couple of months we may put our home up for sale. There is no real joy in doing this as we will really miss this place, but we are both comfortable that it is the right thing to do. We are starting to look forward to finding a smaller cozy home that will fit our needs and lifestyle. We love this area, so we won't be moving far. Personally, I wouldn't mind moving to a warmer place where it doesn't get down to zero degrees in January like the last couple of nights (I'm sorry, but this is fucking cold!), but that's not going to happen. Besides, I have to stay close to the "Farber". How lucky we are to have it close at hand! Can't lose that.
There was an interesting article in the Boston Globe today about new understanding of the effect of genetic mutations on cancer. In this case, they found specific genetic mutations in the so-called "junk DNA" region that is a hallmark trait of melanoma. Dana Farber researchers were involved in this study. This is counter to most recent research pointing to the conclusion that cancer is really a mosaic of many different subtypes. In fact, there may be genetic markers, as yet undiscovered, that are triggers for many types of cancer. I guess the "junk DNA" isn't so junky after all. Finding these markers and targeting therapies to counter them could be the future of cancer research. I'm encouraged to see such progress in this area.