"Finally, something that makes sense!"
Thoughts from a tennis player and runner who ran right into leukemia
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Things that make sense
"Finally, something that makes sense!"
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Calm and not-so-calm
Last week my friend Barry and I took a took a drive (with dog) to the Quabbin Reservoir. Located in Belchertown (Mass.), it's not far, but it's like another world. It's peaceful as can be, with beautiful views of water and hills. People love to fish there; bird-lovers go there a lot too. As for me, it's always good to get out of the neighborhood, and we had a good little walk there with Maddie. But it has a strange story that carries with it a slightly eerie feeling. Most people in Massachusetts probably know all about it. It occured to me that people from other states might not. I didn't when I moved here.
The official website gives some of the basic information:
Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. Created in the 1930s by the construction of two huge earthen dams, the reservoir is fed by the three branches of the Swift River, and seasonally by the Ware River. Quabbin's water covers 39 square miles, is 18 miles long and has 181 miles of shoreline. When full, Quabbin holds 412 billion gallons of water.
In order to flood the vast area of the Swift River Valley in the 1930s, the entire population of four towns had to be relocated. Hundreds of homes, businesses, a state highway, a railroad line, and 34 cemeteries were also moved or dismantled. Over 6,000 graves were relocated from the Valley to Quabbin Park cemetery.But this is impersonal and doesn't include much of what people around here know, starting with the names of the four towns: Dana, Prescott, Enfield and Greenwich. The reservoir was created mainly to get water to Boston, and many of the locals were not too happy about being told to leave their homes and let them be knocked down. But they weren't given a choice, and the flooding started in 1939.
One interesting website shows photos of each town the way it used to be. There are also a lot of books on the creation of the reservoir, including a children's book, "Letting Swift River Go," by Jane Yolen, an author who lives in the area. I remember reading it to one of my boys years ago, and when we were finished, he said, "Don't ever read me this book again."
Anyway, it makes for a good outing. The water doesn't cover the whole area, so you can see remnants of stone walls, cellar holes and other things. We stopped for muffins and coffee in nearby Amherst on the way back, making the day complete.
I'm still working on carrying my serenity with me when I go into the clinic. I knew on Monday that my platelets would be low, because the petechiae were popping up on my face. After I saw my counts, I went into a tailspin, imagining my death, my funeral, the works. My platelets were down to 3. They haven't been that low for ages. Actually the rest looked fine: My hematocrit was 27, low enough to be tired but high enough for me to get around without being winded. My white count was still normal at 4.9, but I wasn't happy that it seems to be going down a little: The time before it was 5.2 and before that in the high 5s.
Melissa found me in the infusion room and said not to worry. She said she had talked to Dr. Alyea and he thought there was a reason for the low platelet count. When it was consistently lower, I had been taking a drug called Amicar to help with clotting. When the count was higher, I went off the medication. He said to go back on it because it may have been helping me hold on to the platelets for a longer time.
Melissa also said the white count was fine. She said I could return in a week instead of going twice this week. So I will try to keep my mind off of it. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and support on my last post when I also wrote about being fixated on my counts.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Stepping forward and (mentally) stepping back
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Seduced by local strawberries
I broke a rule this week. I have been very good at following my dietary restrictions, but I just had to have one forbidden fruit. At 100 days I was allowed to reintroduce almost all kinds of fruit, except for strawberries because they're hard to clean. Now it's local strawberry season, and I couldn't resist. They are so much better than winter strawberries, which are often anemic-looking and have very little taste. The locals are bright red and juicy and they smell and taste great...like summer, even though it's still spring.