I am reminded, whenever I am in the chemo room -- as I was Monday -- that there are worse things to have than chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
A man, three years older than me, in a wheelchair . . . Had a massive heart attack in 2001, died and was revived, six months of memory loss that led him to wonder why he had scars on his chest. Two more heart attacks.
He has myelodysplastic syndrome -- unable to create sufficient cells in the marrow. He lives on transfusions, goes in when the platelets get to 13. After getting red cells, he enjoys a hemoglobin of 10 for a few days until it starts dropping like a rock again.
He also has rectal cancer, spent six months with a colostomy bag, and is now refractory to the original treatment. Trying something new, hoping it works.
His wife runs their business, has learned the caretaker's art, deserves an honorary RN at this point. Jokes that they call him "la cucaracha" because he, like cockroaches that would manage to navigate the end of the world, is a survivor.
He makes jokes about "asshole doctors," manages some smiles. He's rooting for the Cardinals (this is Arizona). Life goes on.
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2 weeks ago