Yesterday, the media was buzzing with news about the long-awaited launch of the new Blackberry. Last year, Blackberry-maker RIM made a strategic decision not to rush into market with an incomplete product, but to slow down. Slow down, and make sure the final product would work well and last a long time. They were criticized for delaying the launch, but they were resolute in their decision.
Monday’s Globe and Mail Editorial applauded them for this:
“In a world where customers and stock markets are relentless in their demand for constant innovation, RIM has done something strikingly original: It has taken its time.”
In a similar vein, I was thinking that our experience in the last few months has been similar to that of Blackberry’s. Since Munira was diagnosed with multiple myeloma almost a year ago (Feb. 3rd, 2012 to be exact), we have been focused on fixing her (with chemotherapy and stem cell transplants) and relaunching the brand new, cancer-free… Munira, version 2.0.
Originally, the plan was to have her complete her chemotherapy and stem cell transplants within six months. However, due to the additional diagnosis of lymphoma, that plan had to be set aside until the lymphoma was put into remission, which it was in July. So, it was with great anticipation that we came back from a much-needed one week vacation to Florida to begin treatments for the multiple myeloma.
Except, there were further delays. The stem cell collection process did not work completely, despite nine days of daily trips to the hospital, and numerous neupogen injections. Thankfully, Mozibil, Sanofi’s wonder drug, came to the rescue and, on December 10th and 11th, 2012, we were able to collect enough stem cells for multiple transplants, if necessary. Now, the waiting game began.
The stem cell transplant unit at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre was extremely busy, and patients who were expected to be discharged over the Christmas holidays became sick, and the waiting list grew. We were told the wait was anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. Munira’s weekly chemotherapy treatments were restarted on January 12th as her oncologist, Dr. Rodger Tiedemann, did not want her to go without treatment while she waited for a transplant bed to become available.
Since that time, however, we started to notice that some of the symptoms of the lymphoma (such as night sweats) were coming back. Out of caution, a CT scan was done of all the lymph nodes. We were told earlier this week that the results were negative for any lymphoma (whew!).
So, yesterday, with anticipation (again!), we sat down with Dr. Tiedemann and waited for him to say, “pack your bags, you are all set to be admitted for the stem cell transplant ”. Instead, he expressed concern over the night sweats and asked if we would consider delaying the transplant (again!) until we definitively ruled out any recurrence of lymphoma. This necessitated yet another bone marrow aspiration and biopsy yesterday (the seventh one in one year!) and a two week wait for the results.
On the one hand, we had waited so long. Munira had been through too many painful biopsies – and we were so close to the transplant. We just wanted to get it over with and, you know, get on with life.
On the other hand, like Blackberry’s stakeholders, we had to make the tough decision to take the time and do it right. Dr. Tiedemann left it up to us to make the decision. After thinking about it for a few minutes, we agreed that an additional two or three week delay in the transplant process was, in the scheme of things, a relatively short period of time. We decided to slow down and do it right.
So, over the next two weeks, Munira has decided to live life even more fully (her weekly chemotherapy will continue). Last week, we went to 5th Elementt, an Indian fusion restaurant on Queen St. West for her birthday. The food was so delicious (try the lamb shank!) that she invited the Chief Culinary Officer (i.e. the Chef) home to teach her how to cook new Indian dishes. We have also both joined GoodLife Fitness, to keep physically fit and strong for the three-week long hospital stay and the two to three month long recovery period at home which will follow the transplant.
In keeping with the Blackberry theme, since she will have lots of time on her hands over the next few months, I’ve reserved for her the new Blackberry Z10, which goes on sale on Tuesday, February 5th. (We are # 42 on the Rogers list !). Munira is an iPad and iPod junkie (see picture on the right from the hospital yesterday), so it will be interesting to see if her alliances change with the new Blackberry Z10.