Friday, May 3, 2013

Mick McKellar Update -- Day +802

A Pleasant Surprise

Internet surprises are rarely welcome and seldom a cause for rejoicing. Although I rarely open unsolicited e-mail from unfamiliar sources, one message caught my eye. Before opening it, I searched for the originating site and found it...a consulting firm. Intrigued, I opened the message and (for the first time in a while) smiled my "pleased as punch" smile.

A person (or, most likely, an algorithm) found a résumé I posted nearly ten years ago (about the time Michigan Tech involuntarily retired me), and a member of their staff wanted to interview me about a job opening in Appleton, WI. If that was not a good fit, they had another opening that seemed to fit my qualifications.

Cattle Call

Now, I am all but certain this was part of a cattle call, a résumé roundup to fulfill a quota for a client, but (expletive deleted!) it just felt good to be asked again! The job opening was for a Union benefits specialist, starting salary $50,000 per year. If one is going to dream, why not dream above the poverty level?

After I calmed down, and quit grinning at my reflection in an inactive computer monitor screen, I set about writing a worthy response to this unexpected boost to my flagging self-confidence. Here is the message I sent to the firm, with names removed, of course:
Dear (Name Withheld), 
Ah, you have given my poor old heart a satisfying and much appreciated lift. I am writing in response to your e-mail of May 2, 2013, requesting an interview regarding a job opening (or two!).  
In the nearly ten years since I posted that résumé, a dark torrent has passed beneath my bridge. I am 63 years young and 802 days out from the blood and marrow stem cell transplant that saved my life -- and altered it forever. On May 26, 2010 (at 9:00 AM, actually) I received a call telling me to report to the hospital. I was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia. Three times I knocked on death's door and three times I fought back before he could answer.  
I am now in full remission; subsisting on a small pension and Social Security disability benefits, taking 20 + medications each day, and learning to cope with only 27% remaining lung capacity. (Sometimes, the treatment can be more painful than the disease...) 
I have been feeling particularly useless of late -- not much for snow shoveling and all that -- and your kind message reminded me of the value of a mind, which despite the chains on the body, remains free and able to "slip the surly bonds of Earth." (With thanks to John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
If you wish to talk, please call. I am home most of the time, except when weather permits me to totter about in the wilds of Laurium, MI. It seems however, that I may not meet the physical qualifications for said employment. 
Pleased as punch, I remain, 
Elwin N. McKellar, Jr.

Other Good News

I received a call from my local oncologist/hematologist office with the results from yesterday's bloodletting. The numbers, although far from sterling, are well within limits for one well past his expiration date:

  • Hemoglobin: 12.6 (a bit anemic, but don't tell anyone)
  • White blood count: 5.0 -- in normal range
  • ANC: 2.8 -- in normal range
  • Platelets: 186,000 -- well within normal range
  • Total Bilirubin: 0.6 -- normal
  • Creatinen: 1.1 -- within normal limits
  • Magnesium: 2.0 -- normal as can be...

My walking has been curtailed by the sudden onset of winter's white and ice -- too slippery for old numb-foot to be tottering about on the snowy, slushy, frozen roads (no, we don't have sidewalks in Florida Location...).

Thanks to everyone who prays for us and sends us supportive thoughts. Thanks to God for granting me the gift of yet another day (even with the snow...).

God bless and good afternoon,


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