Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mick McKellar Update -- Day +325

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday was a good day for me. I received two calls regarding results from Monday's blood tests, one from my local oncologist's office and one from Mayo Clinic. The numbers look pretty good. My hemoglobin is at 12.6, and although that is still below normal, it is the best number since before my chemotherapy and transplant. Most all other numbers are well within the normal range, and that is very encouraging.

Another one bites the dust...

My doctor in Rochester stopped my Cyclosporin medication, effective today. Cyclosporin is the anti-rejection drug which helps prevent Graft versus Host Disease, but also suppresses my immune system. After a (short, I hope) while, I may be able to discontinue some of the other drugs that help simulate an immune system. The only downside is that the dosage of my anti-leukemia drug will likely increase by a factor of five...the dasatinib that helps block the return of my Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

Although no specific appointments have been set, I will have to return to Rochester, MN near the end of February to be tested again. Should those results look good, they will begin my inoculations. I wonder if they will give me a lollipop?

Taking the air...

I love the above quote from Emerson, but might have rewritten it for our area: "Look for the sunshine, shovel the snow, chew the icy air." Of course, despite a few storms and some windy, snowy days, our winter has been warmer than far. Our snow total is barely over 90 inches to date, though I hear up to a foot may be coming in the next 48 hours. Winter here remains, as always, totally unpredictable.

Although I have not yet been able to renew my long-distance walking, I look forward to trekking further from home with each passing week. I remain too unsteady on my feet to play chicken with oncoming traffic on our local highways. In the winter here, there are no sidewalks except, perhaps, downtown near the stores. One must walk on the road (or the shoulder, should the plows ever push the snow off the shoulder) and move off the road when traffic slog in the slush and sludge piled on the shoulder for pedestrian walking convenience. The side roads are no clearer, but there is less traffic to dodge. A couple of miles of that kind of slogging is more than a mere "stretch of the legs."

Why not "bite the bullet" and pay for a gym membership? Because when the weather is bad enough to require that I remain indoors, I would likely have to walk the mile to the nearest gym. I may as well save the money and endure the walk...

Way out west...

Our son-in-law, Chris, is beginning intensive rehabilitation. We were waiting to hear what the pathologists have to say about the nature and treatment of his glioma. Heather posted the following this afternoon:

"We have final pathology - level 2 - low grade glioma. This is the best of the bad, so that's very good. We haven't spoken to anyone about treatments, yet. That will be later. So - yippee!!!"

Their decisions will determine future treatment and prognosis. We pray constantly for him, and for Heather, Eli, and Rose.

Day by day...

I still treat each new day as a mighty gift from God and I thank Him each morning, when my eyes open and I realize I am alive and kicking for one more day.

An Indian proverb says everyone is a house with four rooms: a physical, an emotional, a mental, and a spiritual. Although most of us live in one room most of the time, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person. I like to spend as much time as possible, rummaging about in all four rooms. They may not be orderly, but the doors and windows are open, and I try to let as much light in as I can manage.

Thanks for your prayer and good thoughts, God bless.


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