Day +764: Oh yes I am wise but it’s wisdom born of pain…

“Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)….”

1/2/13: Happy 2013 everyone. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement throughout the past year. I really like Michael’s abbreviated 2012 year in review, particularly the travel advice! However, he did neglect mentioning one big event. Although I’m still not much for cooking, I love, love, love our beautiful and functional remodeled kitchen. Anyway, it has been a year of ups and downs but it’s flown by with amazing (frightening) speed.

The holidays were good – time with family and friends. Of course, I was thrilled that we got a little snow. On the down side, I picked up an upper respiratory infection of some sort but am not suffering too much, and it hasn’t gotten in the way of my daily activities.

I saw my hematologist for my regular three-month checkup today, and my blood work continues to look great.

January 2, 2013:
WBC: 10.8 (norm 3.0-11.2)
Granulocytes (~ANC): 6.3 (norm 1.4-9.0)
Platelets: 513 (norm 130-382)
RBC: 4.74 (norm 3.90-4.90)
HGB (hemoglobin): 14.9 (norm 11.5-14.3)
HCT (hematocrit): 46.0 (norm 34.2-42.2)
Bilirubin: 0.5 (norm 0.0-1.2)
Alkaline phosphatase, S: 128 (norm 25-150)
AST: 21 (normal 0-40)
ALT: 16 (normal 0-40)
Potassium, serum: 5.3 (norm 3.5-5.2)
LDH: 174 (norm 0-214)

Dr. B was delighted with my recent bone marrow biopsy results. He was also happy that my lymph nodes were all clear and was impressed with the surgeon’s work on my neck. Despite his specialty being hematology, he was extremely interested in the details of my surgeries. He asked if my speech impediment would continue to improve (after noting that it is very minor). I told him about my tongue exercises and that I’m to practice saying lots of “s” and “z” words. His response: “But not ‘f’ words?” I laughed and assured him that I’ve practiced them a good bit, too, in recent months.

These past three years since I was first diagnosed with MDS have been difficult but I’ve managed to stay positive and optimistic most of the time. However, I’ve found this task a greater challenge with the base of tongue cancer despite the treatments being less intense, the recovery time much shorter, and the prognosis more positive than it was for the blood cancer. Perhaps it’s the cumulative effect of one thing on top of another. Yes, I am strong but of course I’m not invincible! I feel a lot of anger, self-pity, and longing for my pre-cancer life at times. Then I think about how well I’ve fared through it all and start feeling guilty because so many others are much worse off than I. But I saw a quote recently that helped. I can’t find it now but it went something like this: “Saying it’s wrong to be sad because others have it worse than you is like saying you shouldn’t be happy because others have it better.” (If anyone can direct me to the actual quote/source, I’d much appreciate it.)

Another of Michael’s remarks that is oh so true: “Life is good, it’s day to day living that is the pain.” I am both happy and grateful to be alive! But some days are definitely better than others.

Let’s hope that 2013 will be a better year for all of us.

I started this post an hour and a half ago (troubles putting thoughts into words) and had good intentions to update taglines this time but the hour is late, and I grow weary…next time, I promise. Procrastinate now!


  1. The tagline sounds like Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock.”

    It has been a very fast three years! Some people moved away, and other’s threatened to. Some opened three new restaurants. We watched the first three seasons of “The Big C.” We also saw the words “literally” and “draconian” butchered by bloggers!

    Here’s to many more, cheers!

  2. Sorry Robb, that is Helen Reddy’s “(I am) Woman” It fits our Karen to a T. Oh man, I’m missing three new Neal restaurants? Did he finally open a Thai?

    Happy New Year Karen and Michael, and to all the rest of the clan. Since the world didn’t end on 12/21 – here’s hoping 2013 is a great year. I just have to say I admire your strength and positivity.

    Love ya

  3. damn it all the hell I knew it was helen from
    the get go but alas I must wait for the library to open to get the clue!!!!! best wishes for a
    happy and healthy new year with lots of yummy foods!!!!!!!!!!!!! xo

  4. I was wrong about the song, but it made me listen to I Am a Rock on my iPod! The Helen Reddy song lyrics can fit the other song’s melody, except for the Y chromosomes.

  5. I love the quote because what you stated in a way is how I feel also. So that quote is awesome! I too agree that the smaller things seem at times to be harder and I believe it is because it is one thing on top of the other. As I write this Simon is trying to climb the tree so I better so stop him 🙂

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