Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mick McKellar Update -- Day +286

"As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Many of my friends have inquired: Why have I stopped writing? I confess that, at first, I had no answer to that simply happened. While planning what to write in this update, I found a quote from Philip Pullman that opened a door to understanding for me. He said: "For that reason you can't write with music playing, and anyone who says he can is either writing badly, or not listening to the music, or lying. You need to hear what you're writing, and for that you need silence."

I stopped writing to quiet my own voice and all the associated noise. I sought silence to once again hear what I was writing, to listen to my own words, and to perceive the integrity of my message. For the tales of my journey have grown taller with the telling. I have taken time to reflect, and apply the guiding principle of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous sleuth: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

Lookin' Good

Folks tell me that I look good. Watch for the quick smile before I brush it off...because I love hearing it. I am doing improbably well, and have beaten so many odds that I feel like I am living on borrowed time. Each new day is a gift, and I have received more than 286 wonderful gifts since February 21, 2011. The best way I can describe my current condition is a full remission, supported by a core group of powerful medications and a healthy dose of personal paranoia.

Checkin' Up on Me

Marian and I returned last night (Friday, December 2, 2011) from Rochester, MN; after two days of testing, poking, prodding, and consultations. The pulmonary function studies showed no further decrease in my lung capacity. The CT scan showed no perceptible lung problems, but did show some pericardial effusion (fluid build up around my heart). An echo cardiogram demonstrated that, although there is some pericardial effusion, it is a small amount and only bears watching.

My other numbers and counts continue to alternately impress and disturb my physicians.

I have (by all measures) recovered very well from my laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of my gall bladder).

My liver seems to have recovered completely and the medication for treating my liver has been discontinued.

My anti-rejection drug (cyclosporin) has been reduced to only 25mg per day and may soon be stopped completely. However, my anti-cancer drug (imatinib) will continue and may increase -- to prevent a recurrence of the leukemia for as long a possible.

If all remains well, I will go back in late February or early March 2012 to begin the inoculations each newborn must face...

What does it mean?

For me, each new day is another chance to "get it right." Like all traditional human bunglers, I never seem up to the task, yet I appreciate each new opportunity and try to make the most of it. It means I can shovel some snow. It means I can give my grand-kids a hug. It means that, despite the aches, pains, shortness of breath, frustrations, and fatigue, I get to keep keep living.

Earth-shattering, profane, or profound insights remain in short supply, but I get to spend time examining my conscience and scrutinizing my soul in the soft, golden light of the precious present. If the conduct of my life and the content of my love has been lacking when measured against my capacity or intent -- I seek forgiveness and another chance to do better. I find I have little time for either recriminations or regrets.

It no longer frightens me to need a nap. I go shopping and don't want to buy anything. I understand flannel.

Your friendship, prayers, and good thoughts mean more to me each day.

Now, I must sleep. God bless and good night,


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