Mike Burns [MB]: We were playing Frisbee golf, and I remember telling you I had something called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. You couldn't help but start laughing because that whole name is so crazy. It evolved into symptomatic multiple myeloma, and that's when I needed to start getting treated.
Ed Hansch [EH]: You always dealt with multiple myeloma and talked about it, I think, in kind of a more clinical way. So I always felt very comfortable talking to you about multiple myeloma and how it was impacting you.
MB: Partly because of the science background that I've got. I can't help but try to learn as much as I can about it. It's complex, it's difficult. At this point, it is considered to be treatable but incurable. You are able to get it into remission, but it comes out of remission and looks like I may be coming out of remission now. Although, we're not sure about that.
EH: You're not one of those kind of people who the train's coming toward you and you jump off the track, and it turns out it was a car light on a different road. You think about things and gather the facts and deal with it as it comes along.
EH: I remember the visit where you didn't have a hair on your head.
EH: It was bracing to see. But once we got to chatting within 15 minutes, we were in our usual zone.
MB: Your visits meant more to me than you'll ever realize. And also, your continued support throughout this whole process, including right now, means more to me than you'll realize. What do you think has enabled us to continue as close friends for 40 years?
EH: One of the things is being able to exchange ideas, learn from each other. Not necessarily agreeing but being able to think in both analytic and shades of gray. Meaning, not everything is black and white. I've really enjoyed that in our friendship. The ability to challenge conventional wisdom, that's a point we resonate on together.
EH: It's been a little bit of a journey for me as well, being your friend and hearing the stories and watching how you cope with the disease very constructively. There's still teasing; there's still the competitive stuff going back and forth, but I think the conversations, from my standpoint, I feel like they've gotten deeper and more meaningful.
MB: I've come to realize how much I'm loved. I think there's this love between friends for everybody, but most times, people don't feel free to express that love until something like cancer happens. So I feel really fortunate in that sense.