August 18, 2011
Time flies. Just over a year ago I sent out an email to you guys letting you know the news that the CLL was back. This past November Mom and I went to Paris! I revisited Richland Oregon where my family band Say Uncle started up during a family reunion. We planted gardens and pet animals and rode horses. And of the 365 days in this last year I was at OHSU one hundred times. Mom kept copious notes of each visit in the margins of her Sedoku book. Next to the pages of number puzzles she wrote my vitals, notes about our visit with the crew and I don't know what other details of our escapades. She has details in there that I'd rather forget on most days. We thought the Sedoku book was the lost the other day and had a boastful round of applause for finding something precious that we'd thought we'd lost. Like her Sudoku book, these pages hold my most recent history. Thanks for reading.
Leukemia sounds softer to me than Cancer. By the time of my diagnosis I had already known two young woman who had been diagnosed and even though neither of them made it to here today knowing them gave the term "Leukemia" a face. Both of these very young women were beautiful to me -- inside and out, They were both open and loving and exploring a future even in the face of maybe not having one. I know one of them enjoyed the love of her boyfriend in every way possible (is this too much information?) Well, it's true. Each of them endured painful experimental procedures that I can see the results of today.
On the morning after being diagnosed with my own case of Leukemia, more common in older white men than younger brown women, I had to internalize that the oncologist gave me eight years. That was over eight years ago. And added to the fact that my disease is most common in people who are nothing like me I haven't been one to put a lot of weight on that oncologists opinion. It has been over eight years.
My Grandma and my mom have often said to me, "Life is change."
On that December morning 2002 having heard the afternoon before over the phone that I did have a form of Leukemia, I asked mom to please go and get me "that Lance Armstrong" book. I didn't get out of bed until I'd finished his book with gigantic waves of tears filling my face but somehow, also, a chance at hope. This guy had cancer and not only LIVED to tell about it, he WON the Tour De France? It was miraculous knowing this as a new member of the club.
As I lurch from one change to the next, I give great thanks to those of you who have read these words (poor grammar and all) and only made friendly fun of me in private. I am not a writer but I have loved this outlet so why stop now? This story ain't over yet.
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