Tom Swick (TS): Tell me about the first time you came into one of the meetings.
Andy Sninsky (AS): When you walk into a meeting there are around, it can be as few as two people and as many as 50 usually in a support group somewhere. And what I noticed right off the bat when I walked in with my walking sticks, was we are the healthiest looking sick people that I’ve ever seen. I was under the impression when I was diagnosed that I would only have three years and I’m still going strong.
TS: My myeloma diagnosis was the day they told me I might have five years to live. So, to me, when I see a patient come in with a walker or with walking sticks, like you did Andy, I just thought to myself, “This guy can hardly walk, he can’t walk without these sticks, and he’s talking about bicycling.”
AS: In 1968, there weren’t many people doing cross-country bicycle trips. But, I have always been an adventurer, I have always been outdoorsy, and I’ve always looked at the far horizon and was never really afraid of it.
TS: I’d like to go back to the day I was diagnosed. People often ask, “How were you diagnosed? Were there any signs? How did you feel about it?” And, um, faced with this diagnosis of myeloma, and when they told me I might have five years to live I was relieved that that was enough time to get everything in order and it wasn’t going to be like six months and I had to run out the door and make sure all my affairs were taken care of. I have three daughters, the oldest one was 16 at the time, and she was kind of concerned, looking forward to college, wondering if she was going to have to go through this important period of her life without her father. And she’s a very good planner, but I don’t think she ever planned for that possibility, so she was definitely concerned about it. And I’m happy to say that we danced together at her wedding and last month she presented me with my first grandchild.
AS: I’ve been fortunate to meet so many people who are doing well and that’s what drives me to keep going forward. There are many people at the meeting who do better than you and I, there are many that aren’t doing as well as you and I, but we’re all looking for that answer: When will the cure come, or when will I get better?