Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Been There, Done That

The first time I faced leukemia I was so dumb I didn't even know what questions to ask. I was frightened, but it wasn't until after my treatments ended that I suffered post traumatic stress syndrome. I could see those cowardly panic attacks sneaking up on me out of the corner of my eye.

At my first relapse, I knew too much about the disease, and what I knew set off an internal flash fire, reducing me to a pile of ashes. I was going to go with the Lot's wife metaphor, but I hold with those who think the world will end in fire.

Three years of accumulated leukemia knowledge have made me realize how little I know about leukemia, or much else. I am strangely calm, and although I smell the fire, I'm not afraid of it. It's like a natural disaster that suddenly turns your world upside down. What can you do? If you're lucky, pick up the mess and go on.

I am clear-eyed and clear-headed. You might say, how brave. It's not courage though; it's training. I know the drill.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at 2:30 pm to have a port put in my arm. I will then be admitted into the hospital, and soon thereafter, the chemical weapon will be deployed. I'll use a portion of your love and support to wring leukemia's neck. The rest I will slowly sip like an ice-cold martini, infusing its power against the assault, storing it in my brain and heart for future strength.

6 comments:

Jamie said...

Ugh - I've been following your blog only a short while. My 29 year old husband has just finished treatment for his first AML relapse. He was transplanted in first remission, so this treatment involved chemo and a donor lymphocyte infusion.

I wish I could say something to help that you don't already know, but I can't. So, I'll just say good luck!

Ronni Gordon said...

I know what you mean about feeling calm. It must be our body/mind way of coping. I also know what you mean about the flashes of fear. It's no fun!!!!! I guess the summary is: You do what you gotta do. Hang in there! I hope you have good books and other distractions. You'll get that stupid leukemia this time!

Patty said...

Patty,
Sorry you can't enjoy the lovely taste of that ice cold martini as it flows into the veins, but please make it do the trick!! I'll talk to you soon.
Love,
Patty #2

ליאור said...

Hey,
My name is Lior Wildikan. 20 years old from Israel.
One of my best friend is recovering from a bone marrow transplant these days. I wish to create for her a uniqe mosaic that is made up from many pictures of other bone marrow transplant survivors with their donors, each picture with a couple.
I wanted to know if maybe you can help me to create this present by sending me some pictures of the kind I'm looking for. If you cannot can you please send me names of survivors and I will contact them to ask personally if I can use their picture.
Thank you for sharring your story,
Lior.

Ann said...

Head down, weapons up soldier. I'll give you a few days of peace before I start badgering you with phone calls. Try not to enjoy the hospital's "hospitality" for too long. We need you on the outside to keep the rest of us sane. :)

Sue said...

"The first time I faced leukemia I was so dumb I didn't even know what questions to ask."

Boy pj, do I identify with that comment of yours. I also identify with your comment about how much more I know now and really, how little I actually know.

Really, how little the doctors know as well. I'm assuming you have read my thread about Ben that talks about t-cell depletion. If MSKCC does them, they believe in them. If Hackensack and most other transplant centers do not do them, they don't believe in them, so what does that mean? Who's right. Beats me. How to decide?