To celebrate this anniversary, I have updated the look of my blog. However, in doing so, I lost some links to blogs I was following. Sure hope I can find them again. However, I have added a few new ones I have been reading, but did not have on my list here. You can find them over on the left.
Looking back over the last four years, much has happened since that day in March when Cheryl and I, hand in hand, walked out of Dr. Netaji's office with the confirmed diagnosis. It was a bright sunny day, much like it was here all last week and our heads were spinning, even though we had suspected what the final word would be. It wasn't quite the same suspecting it as actually hearing it. I remember feeling slightly surprised that the world was just going on as normal when ours had been changed forever. I guess I was expecting to walk out to dark storm clouds, flashing lightning and all traffic and movement stopped. That's what it seemed like in my mind. However, that darkness lifted after that first night of prayer. Not to say that the head spinning didn't keep going for a few months as we continued to learn more about the disease.
So what has happened in the last four years?
--I experienced the wonderful support and encouragement of family and friends, including friends I hadn't heard from for many years
--I have experienced the power of prayer and intercessory prayer that I had only heard about previously
--I have made many new cyber friends who are surviving CLL and other cancers
--Some of these cyber friends I have since met in person and without exception they were all exceptional people; Dave E, Deb and her mom, Paul, Anita, Tom and JL
--Unfortunately I have lost way too many cyber friends to this disease over these four years; too many and too sad to post all their names, but each had a unique story of courage
--I have had three bone marrow biopsies *** YIKES***
--Numerous infections including lots of sinus infections, teeth, pneumonia several times, E. coli infection in lungs, strange rashes and itching, and other stuff I may have tried to forget
--I have seen my primary care doctor, endocrinologist, hematologist/oncologist, CLL specialist, cardiologist, neurologist, pulmonologist, surgeon, dentist, oral surgeon, endotontist, optometrist and perhaps others
--Chemo port implanted in my chest
--Extensive dental surgery
--Eight rounds of chemotherapy with mustard gas derivative alkylating agent, mouse parts and lots of high dose Prednisone
--Sixteen (I think) day-long IVIg infusions with steroids
--Discovered I have some of the best insurance coverage around for which I am very thankful
--Many steroid induced sleepless nights
--Way too many steroids. Just thinking about it may put me into roid rage :-)
--Bucket list trips to the Grand Canyon and an ocean cruise to Progresso and Cozumel, Mexico; thanks to my daughters!
--I retired from a job I really liked (I have liked all but one of my jobs in my whole working life)
--I was approved for Social Security Disability
--I got handicap plates on my car
--My back continues to deteriorate
--Have gained sixty pounds now since starting chemo a little over three years ago
--Fishing with my grandsons
--Movie dates with my granddaughter
--Babysitting my youngest grandson
--Middle school grandson living with us during school year (and behaving VERY well now at home and at school)
--Being a house husband but one who HATES to dust for some reason; cooking, laundry, vacuuming no problem but always run out of steam when it comes time to dust (blog post for that solution coming soon - written in my head weeks ago)