....when I began this healing blogland trek back in late October of 2008, having already goofed off with a Road Trip blog that summer, I had just been hospitalized with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) which came out of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) which WASN'T supposed to be that sort of an issue at all but was. Clearly. So my counts were a little low and I was tired sometimes. Somewhere I read that in 33% of the cases, the MDS would flip suddenly and without warning into AML but no, that would not be me, thank you very much, nuh-uh! I was healthy. Ok, a little grumpy and thanking God for post-menopausal greater calm, but I ate organic when I could, took vitamins, had 22 years of continuous sobriety, prayed, meditated, jogged!, helped others, worked hard, and wouldn'tcha know it, got freakin' leukemia. No fair!
I created the blog so my friends would know what was up. I could not keep up via phone or email when it was just so SO all-encompassing. And then I realized that folks I didn't know would read my blog, which I found puzzling but hey, whatever worked. Now and then I'd get a Comment - and if they signed their name and didn't say something weird/horrible/annoying/antithetical to my beliefs, I'd publish it. I may be in Alanon but hey, the control issues CAN sometimes be coddled.
So now and then this very nice person named Steve would respond. He was polite, prayerful, encouraging. What a nice person I had not even met!
And then Steve got cancer. He has a blog and more Followers than I do (hah! Of course I noticed!). I pray for him now. If you want to read his blog and have your heart open to his authenticity, humor, courage and faith, perhaps you will, too.
My leukemia is in Remission today, which no oncologist worth his or her salt will acknowledge without then growling that I will collapse eventually without warning into a wretched and helpless relapse. What this means in only slightly clearer language is that the leukemic blasts (aka the cancer cells) will go over a certain percentage (I think 20%; last check I was 6%) and that the thin ranks of the Good Guys - my white and red blood cells and platelets and loads of other bits - will sigh and say, "Hey! No fair!" And the damn leukemic blasts, which are white cells which don't grow up (immature - really, they're called that) and don't do ANY worthwhile work, will be partying and I'll get very very sick and kick the bucket without being dragged back into the hospital for .... well, all that stuff I wrote about before.
What am I doing today to keep the blasts at bay? Everything that I can to rebuild and revitalize my immune system, which clearly went down for the count to the extent that something as pervasive as a blood cancer could then manifest. I have no tumor. My bone marrow stopped working properly. Some chromosomal abnormalities kicked in (Trisomy 8, for you scientists). The conventional world pours in the chemo and then says, "bone marrow transplant." I'm considering the latter, even though it alone could kill me. With no guarantees, I turn to the One who gives me the only Guarantee I can count on in my heart.... and add this herb and that tincture. I make fresh organic juices (the new juicer arrived today, woo hoo!) and cut down the cookies by 85%.
And I pray and ask for your prayers. You know, I'm still sorting out what I am asking for. It is for life.... for A LIFE!.. and not merely to have this flesh heap more years without purpose, service, joy, God's grace and, ok, I'll admit it, chocolate now and then. Christ breaks through my chains and, winking, says, "You're free, daughter - run and dance!"
I meet with a possible new oncologist on Monday the 24th. I'll eye him and he'll eye me. Will it be a fit? I had one after making the appointment, triggered to the nth degree. Will I be shown how to bridge a chasm and not just call a blockade a boundary? We'll see.
It's been Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and today, by gar, I have a life. Thanks BE to God.