On April 7, 2007 I was sitting in a Starbucks near my parents house. I was fighting leukemia for the first time.
I had been very sick in 2006 and was finally (correctly) diagnosed with chronic mylogenous leukemia on February 13, 2007.
My first battle with leukemia was more severe than this recent relapse and remission came much more slowly. However, I did not struggle as badly with the chemo side effects the first time as I have this time.
The side effects have been really rough this time around. Overall, I think it is a better chemo, but I am still adjusting.
Back in 2007 when I still had active leukemia but started to feel well enough to drive short distances, every afternoon I would drive to a Starbucks that was ~ 1/2 a mile from my parent’s house.
It was a routine and when a crisis has removed routine from your life, anything you can do to create a schedule feels wonderful.
I have a journal entry that I wrote that day while sitting in that Starbucks. I was listening to the song Collide by Howie Day and the chorus lines of “the dawn is breaking, a light’s shining through…even the best fall down sometimes, even the wrong words seem to rhyme” resonated with my soul.
It was healing time for me and in my own life, the dawn was breaking; hope was on the horizon.
And yes, if, even, the ~best~ fall down, then of course it made sense that I fell down because I am not among “the best”. I was just me, trying to get through an incredibly tough time.
This morning I woke up that chorus playing through my mind, “the dawn is breaking, a light’s shining through…”
Yesterday I saw my oncologist and my appointment was filled with goodness and hope.
1. Recent blood tests that look for leukemia markers revealed “not detected”. This is in contrast to the same tests that revealed in all caps/bold type DETECTED last winter.
**Remission has to be confirmed with my recent bone marrow tests. Our upcoming meeting with the bone marrow transplant team will reveal my official, molecular/cellular level status**
2. I am malnourished and depleted and my oncologist is addressing it.
I did not even have to ask or beg.
She looked at my labs, looked at me and ordered weekly B-12 shots, Iron infusions, Sunlight, plus some further tests looking at vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
She told me to give her 3 months and she will have me feeling good.
*Ever since I got crohn’s in 2001, I have had to have monthly B-12 shots because my body does not absorb it (even the liquid or sub-lingual versions, it kind of goes with crohn’s, you can’t absorb B-12).
The recent leukemia + new chemo wiped out my sources and even more, wiped out my iron levels. Those, along with some other numbers have really taken a toll on my immune system.
3. My IgA and IgG are super low (well below normal) but we are not going to do IgG treatments yet. My IgG number is on the borderline of demanding treatment. Before we do treatment, we are going to see if we can boost my immune system up with other methods.
4. I can have a yoga teacher come into our house to start some restorative yoga with me.
I used to be very active before I got sick; my 30’s were filled with having to let go of who “I used to be” and finding ways that I could be active that did not wipe me out or make me sick again.
My first successful step back into exercise after leukemia was yoga in 2008. I practiced it from 2008-2014 (when I recently got too sick to do anything).
Yoga has been the one type of exercise that consistently strengthens me so I am excited to add that back.
5. At the encouragement of a new friend and a huge inspiration over the weekend, I have added daily walks; they are short right now but they are happening and they feel great.
This week is completely different from last week and it is filled with hope.
~Thank you God for helping me~