Cancer and minimalism

June is a difficult month emotionally for me. June 15, 2005, is the day I received the phone call that changed my life. It’s always hard to put into words what goes thru your mind. But certainly, there is a lot of ‘why me’? I started out with 17 rounds of radiation and then moved on to 6 months of chemotherapy then preparation for a Stem Cell Transplant and then the transplant.  I was in the BMT unit for almost 3 weeks. And then, of course, there is the recovery for me that was about a year.

It’s been a lot of ups and downs but here I am 12 years later. For someone with Multiple Myeloma, that is quite extraordinary.  I’m one of the lucky ones. My cancer responds to the treatments I’ve had thus far.  There are new novel therapies out there now that I still have as an option.

Now, June 23, 2016, was my last Velcade treatment.  So, now June is a happy time for that reason. In two weeks I get my labs, so that will tell me where I am with my cancer. I suspect my numbers will have gone up some but still not enough to start treatment so I am lucky.  I have had a year of wonder.

So how does this relate to minimalism?  I’ve been on this minimalist journey for about 5 years now. Prior to that Flylady gets the credit for helping me with zone cleaning and doing just what I could in 15 minutes.  When I was in treatment this was extraordinarily helpful.  But then I moved into the space of wanting a fresh look, a minimalist look and then it just took off from there.  We have gotten rid of thousands of things, some valuable even.  Just gave them to the thrift stores.  I didn’t really try to sell a lot.  It was more important to just to let it go. Plus, I’ve always believed what goes around comes around and if I need something down the road, it’ll come my way somehow someway.  Maybe, I needed to purge things and create a new space for myself and my family. I try not to over think things so who knows. i just know it has felt right to do.

I also think having to face one’s mortality, does affect bring into focus what’s important. Plus, I was very taken with things I’d read about NOT leaving stuff for your survivors to deal with. In reality, we didn’t have a lot, but it was still too much for the intention I had to be a minimalist.

Creating a minimalist space has let me enjoy a clutter free space and while I’ve been off chemo, a more simple schedule and lifestyle. It’s been a joyful year filled with wonder, excitement, and beauty.

8 thoughts on “Cancer and minimalism

  1. I lived for six months with the specter of “Probably cancer.” Then, it was cancer. From the day I heard “cancer,” I had the impulse to get rid of things, giving things to my children or labeling them as such. It was stage 1 uterine cancer, and so far, 18 months later, I am still cancer-free. I live with never knowing the day it will rear its head elsewhere. I am doing a lot of decluttering. I understand your impulse to get rid of things. I’m glad you are still here!

    • yes, it’s true.I think maybe the reality of such a disease motivates us to get rid of things that are hindering us. or maybe our tolerances are just lower. Congrats, on cancer free!! the Best news always!!

  2. Just discovered your blog. I’m also a myeloma patient, diagnosed in 2011. Simplifying and decluttering and learning to say no are all high on my to do list. thanks for the motivation.

  3. Congratulations on 12 years, and also on the last year without treatments! I’m not in your position, but generally just find that I enjoy what I have so much more when I rid our lives of things we don’t want or need. Wish you all the best in continued good health

  4. Happy 12 year anniversary Christina! Wow, your journey is very impressive, and I am so happy you have been able to be treatment free! Crazy how MM morphs so differently for everyone. My IgA numbers were really outta control late last year into early this year, but my new triplet cocktail of Darzalex, Pomalyst, Dex is doing the trick, and my numbers have plummeted. But my MM type, responds well fast, but then comes back fast with a vengeance. I am so happy for your treatment success, I love and envy your Minimalist lifestyle. I’m trying, but I’m too fatigued most of the time to purge stuff, and I’m also an “organized sentimental hoarder” of family stuff. You inspire and motivate me to get going on letting go of stuff… soon :)) Stay well, and congrats on your good health! Julie

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