We are preparing for another trip to Rochester, MN, so the Mayo Clinic can ascertain why I am still alive. Although I do not look forward to long road trips anymore, I hope we will have some decent weather for our travels. I’m once again up for a bone marrow biopsy and the ubiquitous pulmonary function study, as well as multiple blood tests. Mostly, they are tracking my remission and checking medication levels. They search for a type of fusion protein whose presence indicates active CML, but whose absence indicates that their tests are not sensitive enough to definitively state it is not there. They will also do a chimera test, which so far has indicated my blood remains 100% donor DNA, and we hope it stays that way.
All my medications and the chemotherapies I endured have left my memory like a fine Swiss cheese -- aging very well, but there are some holes. I continue to write, poetry mostly, with increased use of a thesaurus and dictionary. Often, I know there is a word I want to use, but I just cannot put my mental finger on it. Frustrating.
Recently, I found I can no longer remember all the poems I wrote. In fact, I cannot directly quote from most all of them. So, I began cataloging all the recorded poems I could find in my records, at least since I started putting them into digital files, in or around 1999.
This afternoon, I brought my catalog up to date in a searchable, cross-referenced file. My ancient paper records are still in the attic, awaiting some long winter afternoons. The poems I wrote and gave to my mother prior to her death in 1990 appear to be gone forever. They disappeared upon her death and I did not keep copies of those hand-scrawled poems. Those poems were carefully crafted correspondence in meter and rhyme, and one simply did not keep carbon copies of personal letters.
The official count from the last 15 years is 876 poems, including a few Haiku and more than a few limericks. I was pleased to discover that over that same 15-year period, I duplicated titles only twice. Now, I can run a title search and prevent duplication.
The Minstrel cycle is well underway, with many more stories haunting the edges of my waking dream, begging to be completed and shared. Lately, they clamor so incessantly, they wake me in the middle of the night. I must rise and write them down -- fearing that else, they will be lost forever. I wish I didn’t love it so much...I would get more sleep.
Having been granted many more days than I thought possible, I search for a reason. I pray constantly that it is to help someone or entertain/inspire someone who is lonely, lost, or losing it. I would be seriously disappointed if I was spared only to be an object lesson to others.
Thanks to all who still pray for us and send good thoughts our way. Though we are often running just ahead of the wolf to get to our door, life is good. It’s increasingly complicated, but good.