Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Just nod if you can hear me
Comfortably numb - Pink Floyd

I started this blog to keep my friends and family up to date with my treatment progress. But I know from my own experience that, faced with a myeloma diagnosis, I googled endlessly for information, and found other people's diaries very helpful. Maybe you've found me the same way.

My name’s Alex Bicknell. In June 2012 I had it all. I’d just turned 39. My wonderful wife Marisa, who had worked hard for 10 years to study, at the same time as bringing up children, had graduated from university and was beginning to set up her own business. For the first time in her life she was doing the jobs she wanted to. I had 3 beautiful children, Ben aged 6 and full of spirit, Gyles aged 4 and full of mischief, and Lyndon, 2 months old and with the world’s most mesmerising eyes.

I had my own successful consultancy and was earning great money. I was part way through training as a primary school teacher in my “spare time”. I had plans and aspiration in the short term for a summer’s retreat to France and in the longer term to move “home” to my wife’s native New Zealand. I’d even appointed a local lawyer, and got a local bank account there. I was literally days away from buying a piece of land by the sea in Golden Bay.

On July 17th myeloma entered my life, abruptly, confusingly, frighteningly. It changed everything.

They tell us myeloma is “individual” which is a euphemism for lots of things. Every myeloma journey is different. In those confusing early days I felt more alone than I'd ever felt before. A young man afflicted by an old man's disease I'd never even heard of. Too often the information online about myeloma is horrific – dealing with information is actually one part of the problem. And inevitably (because few of us feel like talking about it all openly at the time) a lot of myeloma blogs start several chapters into the journey, rather than dwell on the initial decisions and emotions. So I'm going to start right at the beginning. I hope you find this helpful.


Anonymous said...

Im a 44 year old woman and was diagnosed today. I lucked out finding your blog among so many others with whom i could not relate as well. Scared witless. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Alex Bicknell said...

I'm so glad you did - it's precisely why I wrote it. I wonder where you are? You are not alone. There are groups out there who could give you support. Diagnosis is tough, but you will get through it. Strength to you. Alex

Anonymous said...

My best friend was diagnosed a week ago. 43-year old British male. I'm not sure if he'll be reading but I will be. Thank you and keep grooving.

Alex Bicknell said...

Sad to hear that - one club no-one wants to join. I think having access to information helps enormously. Your friend might find it all a bit much to take in, in the short term. Personally, I couldn't keep myself away from endless googling (I've got the compulsions under control, just about). If he is going online, I'd recommend he's better off in the dedicated myeloma places, rather than the likes of wikipedia. Strength to him. And stick around. He'll need you.