Matt Goldman
Matt Goldman

Step One - Climb a Mountain
Tuesday, February 14
I’m just a couple of days away from getting on a plane and flying to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’m pretty darn excited. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and represents how far I have come since being diagnosed in 2011. I’ve been so focused on training and getting everything I need for the trip, that I haven’t really stopped to think about what I’m about to do. But with departure just days away, I can feel the emotions building. This is a big deal. 

As I’ve told people over the past few days, I’m 90% excited and 10% nervous. We’ve been planning this trip for months and it seemed so far away. But here it is. I’ve trained, fought off any doubt or worry that creeped into my head, and I’m ready, mentally and hopefully physically. Several people have told me to take each day as it comes and embrace the newness of each day. That’s also part of the challenge of myeloma. You need to appreciate each day and try not to get paralyzed by the fear of having an incurable cancer. At the same time you need a treatment plan and you want to try and live your life as if everything is normal. It’s a balancing act and it’s not always possible if you’re feeling fatigued or sick or low on energy. I started a new treatment regimen just a few months ago and I’m fortunate that it’s working great. But I know it can change at any time.

This past weekend I was running around town getting last minute items for the trip. I was talking to a friend and I realized that while I see this climb as a stand-alone accomplishment and a once in a lifetime opportunity, I also see it as Day 1 of the next stage in my life. I’ve been dealing with myeloma for almost six years. Life has gone back to being fairly normal, a new normal but normal. Although I’m not sure I’m ok with that. I’m hoping to have some sort of epiphany or moment of clarity over the next two weeks.  I’d like to know what is next for me. My excitement and anticipation for this trip is magnified because it is a bit of a stepping stone for me.

Yes I plan to enjoy every day of this journey. I’ve met amazing people and am looking forward to getting to know them better over the next two weeks. As a team we’ve raised almost a quarter of a million dollars to help support the MMRF and their mission of accelerating the development of next generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend patients’ lives, and eventually lead to a cure. This is the most important thing. I’m fortunate that I’m able to make this climb and able to raise money to help find a cure. Then throw in the added personal significance of this journey and I can’t even accurately put into words how I am feeling.
I’ve received tons of encouragement and support throughout this process. This support has made me stronger and more determined to conquer this challenge. I am ready to go. Focusing on work or anything else is pretty difficult right now. In the words of Alan Shepard as he waited for his Mercury rocket to launch 50 years ago, “Let’s light this candle.”
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