When cells divide

My doctor says she found cancerous white blood cells floating around my body again. They appeared in a blood smear done back in August. She doesn’t plan to treat it until certain symptoms appear – which based on the slow, chronic nature of my disease, could still be a while. I was symptom free in August (besides the hairy traitors showing themselves in my blood), and I’m symptom free now, so we’re waiting. We’re looking. One day we’ll be seeing.

I got this news after my little nap in her lobby yesterday. Cheryl was pissed we didn’t find out sooner. “Why didn’t they at least call?!?” But it wouldn’t have changed anything, other than give me another six months to think about it. Personally, I’m glad they didn’t call. I’m thinking about it enough now to make up for lost time.

Please don’t let me mislead you. My life is not on the line. The form of Leukemia I have may be one of the rarest, but it’s also relatively easy to treat, and a high percentage of patients see remission after only one course of chemotherapy. It’s also like the turtle of all cancers. Early detection is not important. Plus, I knew it would probably come back. I just thought it would be fifteen years, not less than five.

I’m not afraid. I’ve done this before and I know, somewhere in this thick scull of mine, that everything will be ok. And yet, I feel a lot like I did almost three years ago. I’m depressed. I’m distracted. I thought I could make it through a day at work today, but I’m fragile. I didn’t make it to ten o’clock. I’m dreading the chemotherapy. If my last reaction is any indication, it will involve a couple weeks in the hospital with pain, puke, fever, chills, and a few things best left unsaid on a family web site.

Oh the hell with it. At times it kind of felt like a roto-rooter of my lower GI, someone fiddling with the insides of my bones, and a bad concussion.

I wait. Cheryl will worry over every sign of illness, discomfort, or fatigue. People will offer their prayers and I’ll feel unworthy. People will say they’re sorry and my mind will snap back “why, you didn’t do anything.” Luckily, the filter between my mind and my mouth will be in working order.

Most of the time.

Resigned, I’ll just brood a lot, which won’t be much different than normal.

I’m great at parties too.


    1. Thank you friends. I’m over the initial shock. (I surprised myself by being surprised at all.) I’m confident this will pass and I’ll be no worse off after.

      (That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.)

  1. Nothing worse than waiting.

    But, my friend, you are worthy. I’m glad that this is treatable, and that you have a great partner and a terrific family.

Give the gift of words.