struggle, spirituality, absurdity

Tag: leukemia

Thoughts on Remission

I have no idea where I am going with this but feel compelled to write. So bear with me. Or don’t, it’s your choice. That’s the danger (from my perspective) of blogging.

So I got the news that I have achieved a 3-log reduction in the presence of the Leukemia mutation. Or something like that, but I was never great with Biology. Suffice it to say, this is the goal for treating my kind of Leukemia (CML), and within this threshold the disease is considered well under control. My next step is for the mutation (actually it’s the presence of a protein, or something like that) to be undetectable by the machines that do the detecting. That won’t necessarily mean the mutation is gone, but rather that it is so low that the machine can’t find it (we are on the molecular level at this point).

It’s strange, though, because I still sense that I have a ways to go in terms of dealing with the emotional side of having leukemia. For those of you that know me well, this summer has sucked horribly. I’ve been sick and injured for most of the season, and then I was forced to try a different leukemia drug because the original one was no longer effective. Not to mention that I struggled with the side effects of that original drug.

Now I feel better than ever, and I actually have more energy now than I know what to do with. But this morning, a friend of mine mentioned in passing that he had had some blood work done and the doctor said he wanted to run another, more specific test. It ended up being nothing (except that my friend needed to lose a little weight), and yet when I heard this story being told, I almost had a small heart attack at the idea of him needing more blood work. I’ve been down that road, and it didn’t go well with me.

It was like a small panic attack induced by PTSD, or something like that. I can be a little dramatic at times.

But it did tell me that I have a ways to go. I still get depressed, and who wouldn’t? After the leukemia, the multiple deaths of loved ones, the car wreck, my cat that died, the million kidney stones, and a few other things, this shouldn’t surprise me.

It all reminds me of how messy life really can be. I get impatient with movies that have nice, black and white, neatly wrapped endings. How is that anywhere near life-like? Real life has real struggles, real joy, and everything in between – and often at the same time.

I am in remission. That’s incredibly good news, but it isn’t the end of the story, nor is it the beginning of another. My good news simply is. I will carry this damned mutation all my life, and my life will likely be long.

Learning to live in that tension takes serious chutzpah. I pray that God grants me some of his…

Ashamed to Talk About Leukemia

Until recently, I used to feel a bit ashamed to talk about the fact that I have leukemia when I met someone new (or even in normal conversation). This puzzled me. It’s an intense thing to find out about someone, to be sure, but why should I be afraid to bring it up? I’m the guy with cancer, after all.

After thinking about it for a while, I typically hesitated because I did not want to be that type that always seems to have something to complain about. It’s so hard to actually get to know someone like that, and I can imagine the reverse is true, as well.

You know the type. Drama, drama, drama.

This, of course, makes it all the more confusing when someone asks me how I am. “Well, I puked my guts out last night,” can come across as aggressive, at least in its openness and honesty. But then again, is that my problem? They’re the ones that asked…

I have leukemia. It sucks some times, though occasionally I don’t even think about it. But I don’t see the point in not bringing it up when it is on my mind, especially if I think I am trying to protect someone’s feelings or am afraid of their reaction.

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