Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dear Tom

Letter to Tom Brokaw:

Tom-

First and foremost, I am sorry that you have to carry this burden. My heart is with you and your loved ones, as are my thoughts and prayers.

One year after being diagnosed at the rare age of 28, I decide I need to (1) aggressively treat this disease and (2) open up to all that will listen to share my journey with Myeloma to help build awareness for a disease that doesn't get much airtime, although it affects many each year.

I encourage you in being bold in your fight, but also helping all those who have gone before and will be diagnosed after. You have an opportunity to shed light on a disease that is dark, but is losing its power every passing year thanks to the advancements in treatments.

I went for the game winning kick almost 5 years ago (or maybe it was more like a two point conversion); which is the only way I know how to live due to my indoctrination as placekicker at the University of Michigan. We just recently realized that it didn't produce a cure, and rather than winning in regulation, we are now going into overtime.

Simply put, I am both mad and sad. My kids are roughly 8, 6, and 4. I had hoped that Myeloma would be no more than a name given to my children's Myeloma buddies that they snuggled with as very little ones. Now, it looks like they are going to be pulled into this journey as I begin treatment again. I feel like they are losing their innocence to this disease. I want them to fear not, Daddy is here, he will be okay.

Your diagnosis in a strange way brings more hope than ever to me; to thousands of others I bet too. One man once told me I was given this rare gift (of Myeloma) as an opportunity to bring hope to others. I wasn't exactly sure what he meant at the time. I share the same word with you. You are strong enough to carry this burden, and through your journey, your story, you have an opportunity serve and help many. It's a paradox, but I think there is some wisdom there.

Lastly, you have joined a faMMily of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and cousins; that you never knew existed. This coMMunity is loving, caring and they will be there for you every step of the way. Lean on theMM.

You will doMMinate, we are with you.

-Phil & FaMMily

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3 comments:

jane sharp said...

Hi Phil. Yes, maybe MM will get more attention. Never a good thing when someone is diagnosed with MM. My grandson was diagnosed at the age of 17. Only way we found out was his leg broke. He had very aggressive treatment with Dr. Barlogie at University Of Arkansas MM center. He has been in remission 4 years. Keep up the good fight. My prayers for you and all MM family.

Linda said...

Phil, I'm glad you wrote your thoughts out in a letter to Tom Brokaw. I was pretty shocked to hear he was actually diagnosed in August, and was just now announcing it. As you stated, I would hope he would use his position and career as a journalist, to shed light on this disease, increasing awareness, and educating others about treatment. We shall see...

Nina Cunningham said...

Phil, thank you for writing this. My husband has MGUS - we are watchfully waiting, and have been for 4 years. I've been following your blog for years. When Tom Brokaw announced he had MM, I was hopeful he would shed light on the disease and help people become more aware. I know it is his right to have privacy, but as the most public figure to ever have this disease, I think he owes everyone something, don't you? It's just disappointing. And when he was asked this week on the Today show how he is doing, he acted annoyed, and just said, Fine. My husband thinks he is not speaking about it because he's writing a book. I guess we'll see. Best to you, as you continue to Dominate. M forever. (LSA, class of '85)