Dr. Alyea read from the computer the time since my transplant. He does that occasionally, and after he read it at my checkup on Monday, he pronounced me "doing great."
Actually I know how long it is, because I sometimes count the time, although not up to the number of days. Mentally turning my life into a Broadway show, after the visit I hummed the song "Seasons of Love" from "Rent" and tried to fit my time-line into the words of the cast singing "the measure of a year": Five hundred twenty-five-thousand six hundred minutes.
"Three years, four months, 11 days" doesn't exactly fit, but I've been singing it anyway.
Of course I'm not in a Broadway, but I was videotaped Monday by a cameraman from NESN for a TV spot to run during the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon Aug. 21-22. He shot me getting my vitals taken and then going into a room and being greeted by Dr. Alyea.
It was no big deal, but it made me nervous, and my blood pressure shot up. After vitals, they followed me to an exam room. They were waiting by the door when Dr. Alyea came in, shook my hand, gave me a big smile and asked how I was doing. But they needed to get the shot from inside the room, so he had to reverse and do it again. They filmed while we were talking...not about my health but about Rafael Nadal's victory at the French Open, which I had seen at 7 a.m.
Then they left, and he pulled my counts up on the screen. Everything is fine: hematocrit and white blood count normal and platelets still pokey but stable in the 80s. Liver enzymes are still elevated, which means I stay on 5 mg. of prednisone.
I mentioned that I had lost weight, and he checked it out on the screen and saw that I had. He said if you lose weight and your blood counts are fine, there's nothing to worry about except for maybe needing to eat more, especially since I exercise so much.
So he said I should keep a calorie count for two weeks and e-mail it to him to make sure I did it. Calorie count? I never even think about calories, and until I looked it up, I had no idea what my daily intake should be. I hope this doesn't sound obnoxious to those who struggle with their weight. I've had my share of problems, but I have my father's build, and other than a few pounds here and there, weight has never been an issue.
So...I kept track of yesterday and today and sure enough, yesterday I was below my goal until Katie came home with ice cream for me. Today I was below also, but I'm sitting here eating cookies, which will probably push it over.
You don't want to fill up on junk food – probably a protein shake would do the trick – but it is a good excuse.
This blog is about falling down and getting up, coping and coming back after four bone marrow transplants for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML, starting in 2003 when I was diagnosed after feeling winded while running a 10-K road race. I have three children, Ben, Joe and Katie, and one Labrador retriever, Maddie, short for Madison, as in Madison (Ave.), in honor of my hometown, New York, New York.