Friday, January 2, 2009

2008: A Year Without Leukemia

I got into this leukemia business in March 2006. With much toasting and anxiety-tinged hope, I looked forward to 2007 being a much healthier year for me. It started out that way. I was teaching ESL classes, and I'd been appointed the library's first grant writer. I was looking forward to new challenges and most of all, staying in remission.

Unfortunately, the blood cancer bus pulled up next to me in May 2007 and I had no choice but to board that dark beast once again. I spent the remainder of that year as a science experiment, receiving a double umbilical cord transplant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in September. Bald and somewhat broken, I gingerly walked toward 2008.

Many people would like to forget 2008, the year in which their financial health seriously deteriorated. Our personal finances are ailing like everyone else's. Our retirement now stands on one leg and is hopping further and further into the future. Our home lost value; medical expenses were up; employment was down. For the next 4 years, we'll have two kids in college. The money we started putting aside for tuition when the kids were babies has, like most
investments, decreased in value while tuition steadily rises. This is the stuff that wakes you in the middle of the night with chest pain.

No matter how bleak the financial picture was in 2008 (and continues in 2009), I cannot let the calendar turn without observing that for me, it was a very good year, a year in which I didn't have leukemia. Remission is a fragile truce, but I'm approaching 18 disease-free months.

Here's to health in 2009, for all of us.


Ronni Gordon said...

Here's to being leukemia free!

I for one am not sorry to see 2008 go. Wishing you a happy and healthy year.

Jim said...

Money means so little in comparison to the things you have - your health and your family. Best wishes, PJ, to a happy and healthy 2009.