Lucky Number 13!

Okay…13 is often maligned as an unlucky number. (Apparently, by tradition, there were 13 steps to the gallows.  Thank you Wikipedia for that little upper!)  No longer. I went to see my oncologist last Friday.  My white blood count is at 13.1 (thousand).  Normal is 4 – 10 (thousand).  What does that mean in the bigger scheme of things?  It means I continue to be stable, don’t need to start treatment yet and (barring any changes)…I don’t need to go back until May.

Thirteen (.1) is a number I will take. (I’m also now walking under ladders and stepping on sidewalk cracks.  Can’t hurt right?  I am however staying away from anything that could resemble the gallows.)

It’s been just over a year when all of this started.  At this time last year I was being assured that it was probably just an infection that had caused enlarged lymph nodes in my neck.  A lot has happened since then. (Trump disaster…but I digress.)  I’ve moved past the shock of the initial diagnosis…but frankly still think it all sucks.  I’ve come to appreciate in a whole new way the kindness of others – notes, texts, hugs, messages of all kinds…and the folks who consistently just ask, “How are you feeling?”  (And those who also respect the times I respond with “good” and don’t feel like talking about it anymore.)  Some days I grieve the times when I thought of myself as being really healthy (for a man just approaching middle age)…and I am frightened by what could come.  Other days I feel good both physically and mentally.  Up, down, up, down…..that’s the way it goes. (I think there might be a song in there somewhere…unfortunately it is likely a country tune.)

I am on sabbatical this semester.  Interestingly, I started by being worried that spending so much time alone (working like a dog at home, of course) might not be the best thing for my mental health.  Fortunately, that hasn’t really been the case.  (Okay…..sometimes it is the case, but less often than I thought.) I am enjoying the work I am doing and the people I am working with on a really interesting research study. (Sleeping in on occasion is another perk! But again…I digress.)

So that’s the update I have promised a number of people over the last months.  In my new reality I see 13 as a great number ….and I’m shooting for 12.  (Who would have ever guessed this is how I would come to think of things…..??)

Thanks for your on-going support.