Pat Killingsworth Pat Killingsworth

Let’s toast to a new and better new year!

Happy New Year!

I’m not a big “this was a good year” or “this was a bad year” kind of guy.  Heck, I’m not even big on “good days or bad days.”

Each day seems to bring both good and bad, let alone an entire year.

But I must admit that where 2011 is concerned, I’ve had better years.  My multiple myeloma relapsed.  My auto stem cell transplant yielded what best can be described as disappointing results.

And I joined the “secondary cancer club,” needing surgery to remove melanoma–and a large part of my left ear–most likely caused by a compromised immune system after years of myeloma therapy.

Pattie also needed surgery to repair a damaged right knee.

Even my dog, Finnegan, required major surgery to remove a large tumor from his leg.  Too bad I cant add the cost of Finnegan’s surgery to our other medical expense deductions on this year’s tax return!

That’s OK.  We have plenty of deductions for this year anyway.  I haven’t finished adding up all of the receipts, but it looks like we spent over one third of our income from 2011 on medical expenses–more than enough to allow us to become part of the 56% of Americans who will pay little or no income tax this year.

Maybe I should write a country song about our 2011:

“Myeloma, melanoma–and my dog almost died…”

But as much as I hate to break up my 2011 “pity party,” there was even more to be thankful for in 2011.

Pattie remains cancer free, ten years after undergoing ovarian cancer surgery and chemotherapy.  I met some amazing new friends, speaking to myeloma patients and caregivers from more than a dozen different states.

I finished my second book, Stem Cell Transplants from a Patient’s Perspective, and have already started two more.

I was privileged to cover the large ASCO meetings last June in Chicago, and ASH last month in San Diego.

We traveled north in September to watch the University of Wisconsin win their homecoming game–and the Green Bay Packers win in Lambeau Field the very next day.  Two Rose Bowls and a Super Bowl victory.  It’s been a good sports year for Wisconsin fans!

And not to rub it in, but Pattie, Finnegan and I are heading out for a walk along the beach today in idyllic, sunny 75 degree weather.  I’ll make sure to take some pictures to share with you tomorrow.

Any way you spin-it, I’m ready for a new year.  Heck, I’m just thankful to be alive in 2012!

So raise your juice glasses and let’s toast to a new and better new year!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat