Thursday, November 5, 2009

Annus Horribilis

The following is a note Dad posted on his facebook page on November 17th 2008 and speaks of his more recent journey.

My year has been dominated by my health. After being diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL) in June 2006 I had to start treatment (chemo and mabthera - (monoclonal antibodies B therapy)) in March 08 when in increasing pain and difficulty. The B cell count was 100 (normal is around 5). After the treatment and a five week rest the count was 270. My enlarged spleen was removed and found to be 85% mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), a relative of CLL and in the same spectrum as non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It took a long time to recover from the op. The count peaked at 350 then began dropping slowly. I started daily tablet chemo at home with mabthera every three weeks. There was a 10% drop over a four week period then 77% drop after 18 days before the last treatment. The count was then 60.8, arounnd the level of June 07 when the affliction was causing me no difficulty. My lymph nodes are harder to detect meaning the MCL is less aggressive. So one or two more big drops and I may MAY enter remission.
The whole thing has been interesting. At first I did what I was told with complete trust in the doctor and the treatment. When things went pear-shaped (You will die within months if you do not take this massive treatment which will destroy you and give you a 10-15% chance of living 2-5 years) I began the reading, questioning, exploring that I should have done earlier. I have a wonderful, loving, supportive family and we rejected the massive intervention, went to Port Douglas for a week, and planned to live as fully as possible. I wrote a Bucket List and enjoy planning and ticking off the accomplishments (short, medium, and long term). I pray, read the Bible and my list of aphorisms as well as positive books. I laugh and smile a lot and frankly am happier than I have been in many years.
The first thing I read each day is:
It's morning; I'm still alive. Let's go, Lord!
and the last few are:
I want to live so I set real targets.
I will follow the plan always.
I am temporarily afflicted and will recover.
My affliction melts away as I become healthy.
My reality is peace of mind always.
Two other really helpful ones are:
I always see the funny side.
If unhappy, I will smile.
This has been a relatively short time when compared with others' journeys but we have traversed much territory in it.
Right now, I feel I would not change a thing...

Feel free to ask me anything.

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