Tom Brokaw’s new book celebrates his remission

Fellow myeloma patient, Tom Brokaw, is back in the news again; he’s written a book about his experience.

People Magazine featured an article about Brokaw and his memoir, A Lucky Life Interrupted, This week.  In the article, the former news anchor is quoted saying, “That he was “utterly unprepared” to face his own mortality. However, the experience granted him a certain amount of perspective, especially now that he’s in remission.”

Ah, yes, the honeymoon period; the two, three, four years or more that many of us were fortunate to get after induction.

Here are links to the People article, as well as a cover story in Parade Magazine.

Tom Brokaw cover shot

Mr. Brokaw uses the term, “cancer survivor,” to describe himself.  Fair enough.  I use it too, from time to time.  But to me, “patient” more honestly describes our experience.  Because unless someone is an outlier and very fortunate, undergoes an allogeneic (donor) stem cell transplant and get’s lucky (15% chance of ten year or longer remission; even a possible cure) or is a low risk patient that undergoes grueling Total Therapy (a 20%  or some say better chance of a similarly long remission), we’re all just making the most of the time we’re given as we live through subsequent, inevitable relapses.

Of course the public doesn’t understand any of this, so I’m OK with laying things out by describing the post induction period as “remission.”  But here’s the thing.  The implication is that remission may be long lasting; probably not the case for the majority of myeloma patients.

For some reason I feel like I need to clarify it all.  See, I just did it again.  Why is that?  Why not leave it alone?

Nothing wrong with believing you may be one of the lucky ones.  That is, unless you aren’t.  Then any relapse can leave one dazed and confused.

Here’s hoping Tom Brokaw is one of the lucky ones.  I hope other newly diagnosed patients reading this are, too.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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