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Monday, April 15, 2013

Marathon Day in Boston

Today was my monthly appointment at the Farber.  Gretchen wanted to come into Boston with me, and we decided to do something different.  Instead of our normal drive into town, we would take the commuter train into North Station from Newburyport, then ride the Green Line subway out to the Longwood medical area, and walk the rest of the way.  It would be an adventure!  We had no idea how much of an adventure it would turn out to be.

Getting there was a bit of a hassle due to the crowds swarming into the Copley Square area for the Boston Marathon, but we got to the Farber without incident.  However, while I was getting my Zometa infusion, we heard the news of the Boston Marathon bombing, and we sat transfixed in front of the TV as the news unfolded.  What an awful thing!  One just never expects something like this to hit so close to home.  It's like who would ever expect to get Multiple Myeloma?

It is in times like these that you find out how wonderful people can be.  As the area around the crime scene was locked down, we heard the news that the Green Line subway was closed through Copley Square, which left us wondering how we would get home.  A woman MM patient in the next cubicle was getting her infusion therapy at that time.  We struck up a conversation with her and her daughter, and when they found that we might have a problem getting home, they offered to drive us all the way back to West Newbury, even though they were going in another direction.  We declined, of course, but we did accept their offer to drive us to another subway station that had an unimpeded route to our destination.  We were very grateful.  How nice is that?

On the subway, we met an older woman from Canada, a cancer survivor, who was running in her first marathon for charity.  She was stopped along the way well short of the finish because of the bombing.  Her daughter, who was also competing, was far ahead of her, and when she found out what had happened, she thought her daughter might have been near the finish line just about when the bombs went off.  After some moments of terror, she discovered that her daughter was OK, and now she was just trying to find her way back to the hotel where they both were staying.  I hope she made it there soon, as I'm sure they needed each other then.  Another woman on the subway (a nurse at Dana Farber), cheerfully helped us figure out how to get to where we wanted to go and led the way for us.  After that, we manged to get back home without further incident.

Boston has a reputation for being a somewhat cold and unfriendly city.  Don't believe it.  Certainly not today.

With all of the tragedy of this day in Boston, there was at least some good news for me personally.  My bone marrow biopsy results were back.  I didn't think I was at all anxious about them, but as my nurse, Mary, handed me the pathology report, my heart was palpitating a bit.  But the news was great!  There are fewer than 5% plasma cells in my bone marrow, and the Flow Cytometry results showed no evidence of residual disease.  So I have now gone a full year since my ASCT, and I am still in complete remission.  While I am happy with this report of course, it is hard for me to me to be too ebullient, what with all the suffering of today's victims and families.

We were looking for a day with adventure.  I guess we got that and then some.


  1. So glad your day in Boston ended safely and successfully for you!

    Here in Florida I had been pretty annoyed that there was NOT ONE mention of the Boston Marathon in the papers or on TV before its running. Then of course, we got the news about the bombing, followed by an overload of information! So scary! As a John Hancock employee, I used to volunteer at the Marathon and would have been in Copley Square at that time myself. But read on . . .

    My daughter and two grandsons (7 and 11) went in to see the Marathon. Her husband was working at the warming tent at the finish line. He's a mechanic and installs and maintains outdoor heating systems, usually for construction areas in the winter. The tents are actually in Copley Square AFTER the finish line, not the exact area where the explosions occurred which was just BEFORE the finish line. I was driving and heard the news, then stopped to call my daughter's cell. Very strange conversation with I don't know who - so I turned around and went home. Called again and she answered. They were fine and on the train going home to Cohasset. Whew!

  2. So glad that your Boston adventure went OK and so thrilled that you got such wonderful news and that you remain in full remission. Yes, you can be happy about that and be compassionate about those who lost their lives so senselessly and for those who are hospitalized today.
    Marilyn (New York)

    1. Thanks, Marilyn. Of course I'm glad about my results, while at the same time feeling terrible about this awful tragedy.

  3. Bill, By accident I happened on ur blog and feel terrible your having to deal with multiple myeloma. Your outlook is so amazing - so positive and keeping active. I was diagnosed by Dr Churchill at DFCI in1997 or 1998 with Waldonstroms md monitored twice a year - so far so good no chemo yet. I now live in Durham, NC, and close to Duke where I feel comfortable. UNC is about a half an hour but Duke only three mile which is so convenient. I am also sorry that Gretchen health issues. You both have had a difficult time. Hope all is well with Jeffand Brian - you have such great boys.

    1. Hi Bette. It was so nice to hear from you after all these years. I'm glad your encounter with Waldenstroms has been inactive for so many years. Let's hope both of us stay in this inactive state for a long time. I'm glad things are going well for you and that you enjoy North Carolina. Jeff and Brian are both doing great. Thanks for asking. Best regards, Bill