The three things I have lost in Lebanon: hair, muscle and leukemia.
|Nice skull shape.|
Do you know Zeno's paradox? The idea is that the arrow can never actually hit its target because first it has to go halfway to its target, then it has to go halfway of what is left, then it has to go halfway of what is left and it can never actually get there. The answer to the paradox is that infinite series can have a finite sum, but the reason this is relevant to me today is that each time I wash my hair I lose half of the hair I have left and each time I shower I think there is no way that there is enough hair left for me to be able to lose just half of it. And it keeps happening over and over again.
Today as I walked around the unit it was fun to get to give my news to various staff working at other pods. "Did you hear my news? No leukemia left." They come running up and hug me because, of course, this is the news they do their jobs hoping for. Induction is not over until it's over and the absolute neutrophil count is up to 500, but so far, I have had such a good course. I have had about 24 hours of neutropenic fever and about 24 hours of platelet reaction and about four days of mild nausea. I've needed hardly any blood products (I can't remember if it was 1 or 2 units of red cells and 2 units of platelets that I chewed up and 4 units of platelets that helped out).
Update on the platelets: there is only one unit of platelets left for me in house. I guess the platelets that have been delivered recently have not been appropriate for me. The lab value is 23 now which is fine and maybe my own marrow will start doing its thing soon.
So, it turns out that all I am waiting for now is my own marrow to wake up after its horrible assault with daunarubicin and cytarabine. Dr. Hill (my oncologist) has used the garden metaphor before, that I have poured weed killer all over the garden--everything is dead--that's what the bone marrow showed--and now I am just waiting for the flowers to come back because they're not really dead; they just look dead (the leukemia is not totally dead either; that's why I still have at least four more rounds of chemo ahead, but evidently close enough for now).
Here's the new visualization. Kids, try this at home. The marrow caverns have now been transformed to an open area, a sort of wasteland. It's drizzling. The dirt is bare. Then under one of the little clumps of dirt, a snapdragon starts up. Snapdragons are really wimpy little summer flowers. They do not over winter or seed themselves or anything, but in this garden, this year, they are. It turns out that this is the year of the dragon and that I am a dragon and that my friend Clifton in Michigan had exactly this happen this spring in his garden.
|volunteer, over wintered snap dragons, don't they look like platelets should just drip out of their little mouths?|