The Size of the Dog

John DeFlice |
John Deflice, myeloma patient, with backdrop of ASH conference in Orlando 2019

In the words of Mark Twain, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but fight in the dog.” We are often so consumed by our bad feelings that we don’t have the energy to deal with the issues that accompany us on our myeloma journey.  When listening to the speakers at the 2020 Brian D. Novis Grant Award Reception, I was reminded to take inventory of all the positive aspects of our myeloma lives.

The “Living Well with Myeloma” speakers all shared their myeloma stories about how they have been able to transcend their hardships to live a fulfilling life. A young father of two has climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa. Another has taken to traveling between his infusions so he can check items off his bucket list. A female comedian finds that “laughter brings people together.” One survivor even recorded a CD of Irish songs after performing them in different venues.

Resilience is getting through the hardship of the diagnosis of myeloma without letting it crush your spirit.  “The wound is the place where LIGHT enters you.” – Rumi

All of the speakers demonstrated the hallmarks of resilient survivors and reminded us that when we are struck down by life, we have the choice to come back just as strong, if not stronger.   

They are living proof that there is life after the diagnosis of myeloma.  Regardless of age, these survivors have shown they have the mental fortitude to cope with their illness. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou.

Not only were we moved by these life changing stories during the program of “Living Well with Myeloma” but the grant award recipients were also touched by these stories of resilience. Coincidentally, one of the recipients who was present, was from France and has collaborated with a researcher from New Mexico. Her interest is “Functional Characterization of Monoclonal Immunoglobulins from Antigen-Driven MGUS and Myeloma”.  She promises to contact me when she returns to the Land of Enchantment.

Finally, I would have to acknowledge the myeloma survivors present that assisted in raising the money to fund these research grants. They have worked tirelessly to fundraise for projects across the U.S.  The money raised is providing research in the U.S. and Europe towards finding a “Cure” for myeloma as a mission of the Black Swan Research Initiative.

Myeloma survivors with resilience have been described as having persistence, compassion, and insight and I am sure we will continue to meet more of them on our respective journeys.

One Response to "The Size of the Dog"
  1. Laura Mooney says:

    Hi John,
    I just love your words….and particularly the title of this blog! Resilience is crucial in any an all diseases and to be able to rise above the diagnosis takes courage and faith. I can see how much you got out of this conference, ammunition to continue on. I do believe one has to dig down to bring these qualities to the surface in order to go on and enjoy the good things in life. Thanks for sharing, Affectionately, Laura

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