We are definitely in very strange times. Who would ever imagine that so many challenging things would happen all at once? We’ve all been through some tough times going through life, but this pandemic seems to be taking a lot of the wind out of our sails.

It wasn’t that long ago that everything seemed okay. Even though, yes, there was a flood here and a landslide there, and of course, hurricanes and drought. But we tightened our belts and made the best of it.

Now it’s a whole different landscape. One thing hasn’t changed: we’re still the same people who care about one another and do everything in our power to make sure that we’re okay. In the opening of his novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” This line especially rings true today. And yet, sometimes the “worst of times” turns out to be the “not so bad times.” How? We push through, and it gets better.

That’s why I think we should continue to try to do whatever we can to make things better: I know it’s not easy. However, pulling the covers over our heads will not solve problems. Feeling a situation is helpless and worrying too much doesn’t improve things either. So…what are we to do?

I have a dear, dear friend who acted as a counsel to me, a “therapist” of sorts, for many years. She would offer a beacon of hope in times of difficulty. Once she said, “Okay, Susie, you can feel sorry for yourself, but only for five minutes. For five minutes, you are allowed to cry, to express frustration, to let it out. But that’s it! Then you pick yourself up and dust yourself off and move on. Move forward and don’t look back. Just keep on going.”

Like all of us, there are times when I might have fallen down. But I did get up and I’m still getting up. I hope all of us have our special “therapist,” our “champion” who believes in us and cheers us through the challenges. As humans, we are always works-in-progress. But focusing on self-care, self-improvement, self-forgiveness is worthwhile and meaningful. I know I am grateful to so many people who have helped me along the way.

So enough about me: Now you get out there. You can do it. Start small if need to, and believe me, you’ll keep going. Along the way so many of your friends and family and colleagues will be there for you. I know this is true, and you have my promise that I and the entire team at the IMF will be there for you too.

headshot of Dr. Susie Durie

Susie Durie founded the IMF in 1990 with her late husband, Brian Novis, to advance myeloma research and to develop and implement patient and physician educational programs in myeloma. In 1992, she was elected Executive Director of the IMF and today holds the title of President. Under her direction, the IMF has experienced impressive growth, and the programs that she has developed have become models for other organizations worldwide. She is also a recipient of a joint honorary doctorate for scientific excellence from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

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