Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mick McKellar Update — Day +637

I have not written an update for awhile. Part of my reticence can be chalked up to fatigue. Each and every day is a gift, yet each and every day is a battle — fought with an enemy both unseen and inside. There is no tumor to scan, so that I might have an image at which to glare. There actually is no cancer (of which I am aware) to blame, as my Philadelphia chromosome positive, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia is in full remission — the blood tests cannot detect the fusion protein that causes the cancer. However, that does not mean it is gone...the tests may simply not be powerful enough to detect it. Therefore I take medication each day to block its return.


My medical problems spring largely from the blood and marrow transplant. The tiny warriors, those red-neck Tennessee T-Cells I received from my brother, Kevin, saved my life by wiping out any stray cancer cells and still police my blood stream for enemies. Unfortunately for me, their enemies list have included: my skin, my liver, my kidneys, and now my lungs. Quick and effective action by the BMT team at Mayo Clinic and Rochester Methodist Hospital saved my skin (it was literally coming off), my liver (renal failure), and my kidneys. All this happened within the first 100 days after transplant.

The lung attacks began without warning or detectable symptoms early in 2012. By April, 2012 my lung capacity was down to about 70%. By June, it was down to 27%. It has remained near that level since. Any infection becomes critical. If I get the flu, I go to the hospital. 


Right now, I am fighting something that is causing severe coughing jags, but no fevers, etc. All my other numbers, for the white blood count, liver function, kidney function, hemoglobin, platelets, and neutrophils look very good.

My blood pressure appears to be under control (with medications) and my blood sugar usually behaves itself (no insulin needed). The peripheral neuropathy in my feet, legs, and hands appears to have stabilized. The cataract surgery by Dr. Leep on October 23 appears to be a resounding success. My vision is terrific for near and distance, but not up close (as is expected). The right eye healed nicely with no apparent problems. However, everything seems much brighter than before, making me grab for sunglasses much more often.


Our trip was better than I expected. We saw only four deer on the trip, however, two of them played chicken with my little Focus...and both were big enough to take out our windshield. Oddly, as I was driving east on M 28, about five miles east of Bruce Crossing, a fellow in a black pickup was tailgating me something awful. I mumbled something to Marian about wishing I could slam on the brakes to teach him a lesson. Five seconds later, a very large doe ran in front of my car -- barely 20 feet ahead -- and I had to slam on my brakes to avoid possible collision. The fellow in back stayed well back for a minute or two until he sped past me in a fog of salt dust, engine smoke, and chagrin.

The remainder of this update continues on my other blog: out of my mind: The Jag

Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts. 

God bless and good night,


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