My British friends have a lot of great phrases and “going mental” is one of them. It’s what I want to say sometimes when people ask me how I’m doing. “Hey great…just going a bit mental.” Frankly, it’s just a lot easier than saying that I’m feeling so anxious that I just want to throw up. (A better response too when you’re asked how you are doing when you are all having dinner! That “throwing up” part can really put people off….I know, trust me.) And frankly…having cancer really can make you go mental. Fortunately, I don’t feel like this all the time. Often I really do just feel pretty great. But there is another way that I personally think of this phrase. Sometimes I get really introspective (mental) and my thoughts can drift for awhile. (Call me at 4:00 a.m. some night and you’ll often find me going mental in this way.) I guess this is the nature of things when you have to let go of the control you once believed you had over your body and you realize that tomorrow really is a new day and you’ll just have to see where it takes you. (I’m banking on a retirement home someday in the very distant future….one where everyone wears khaki pants and Ralph Loren shirts. Just can’t do that spandex look!)
Physically, I am doing well most of the time. We met with my oncologist a few weeks ago. She had the results from my latest round of blood tests. Using part of the 5 or so gallons of blood they drained from me again….they did a chromosome study. I won’t pretend to completely understand the results…but she said that they were encouraging. The cancer is attached to one of the better chromosomes. (That was such a weird sentence to write! I have never in my life thought that one chromosome might be better than another! ) I’ll take it though. Even better, although my white cells are still elevated, I don’t need to start any treatments at this point – or the foreseeable future. (So my receding hairline is just age related. Damn.) I will see her again in October when we start the tests again……
When I am not feeling as great, it is usually one of two things. My bones are aching or I’m nauseous. The latter is the biggest pain. It turns out that I have a lot of enlarged lymph nodes in the trunk of my body. Add to that the “fatty liver” fun….and you get nausea. (I like to think of this as the lymph nodes in the area of my stomach and that “fatty liver” getting together and having an on-going buffet….kind of like the Romans used to have. They don’t seem to know when to stop and I pay for their gluttony.) Add to that a dose of anxiety and it’s a recipe for $#%&! (Hey, I work at a Christian college….have to think about the words I put into print.) Tonight in fact I am meeting with a dietician who has some very specialized knowledge of the diet and CLL. I suspect that by morning I’ll be restricted to eating alfalfa sprouts and tofu. Good times. Stay tuned.
So that’s the latest update. I do want to add my thanks to so many of you for your acts of kindness. They are greatly appreciated.