Wednesday, December 23, 2009


After I waited for about an hour in the clinic Monday, Melissa finally came into the exam room where I sat after progressing through the layers of the system. (Sit in waiting room. Get blood drawn. Back to waiting room. Get called into exam room. Wait in exam room.)

She stood at the door, a copy of my blood counts in her hand. "Well," she said, while my heart fluttered for a second. "These are GREAT counts."

My white count was 8.8, hematocrit 31.9, and platelets 61. Saved! (Saved from my imagination, but still, saved is saved.)

I had let the beach ball of my anxiety rise to the surface (Wendy Halpern's suggestion) and then I had tossed it to several of the many people who will put up with me. The "problem" was that my visit Monday was on Dec. 21st, the year anniversary of my relapse, and since I hadn't felt well last year and I didn't feel great this year on this particular date, I tied everything together.
(In other words I was worried that I would learn on Monday that I had relapsed.)

Some responses: "Don't DO that. Think about something else."
or "Ronni, this is negative magical thinking. It's not real. Stop doing that."
"It's just a day like any other day. You'll be fine."

So I was OK and I could move along. Big sigh of relief.

My liver function test was down slightly, but Melissa said to stay on the 40 mg. of prednisone anyway while it hopefully continues to improve. We talked about prednisone: She said it's an amazing drug that fixes many problems, but it creates problems in many areas too. So just as you can credit many improvements to the prednisone, you can blame many problems on it too.

For example, as the dose has risen, my legs have gotten weaker. I have been more tired, and also moodier. I can blame that all on the prednisone. Still, this week I've been able to be busier, and that has helped. For logistical reasons, we squeezed our Hanukkah party in last night, when it was no longer Hanukkah. You can't do that with the major holidays, but you can do it with Hanukkah, or at least we do, planning it around when the college "kids" come home and the working "kids" can get away.

Diane and David and their two children, Lily and Sam, came to our house last night from Newton for dinner, lighting of the candles and a present exchange. Joe is home for his winter break, and Ben managed to come for a few days. I, obviously, was already here with Katie.

They will laugh if they read this, because it is an understatement: I am not too well-organized. In addition, I am especially spaced-out these days. So, I'm lucky that Ben was around all day to push me faster through my errands, and that, after jockey practice, Joe stepped in to help make the dinner and hors d'oeuvres (which featured Kosher pigs-in-blankets).

Everyone, including of course Diane, stepped up in some way. It was a genuine family affair, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Diane and I had to laugh about the way we set the table in our own heads. When we were growing up, it was always "Us four and ...." meaning our mother, father and us two sisters as the basic unit, adding on however many guests were coming.

Now as Diane parsed it out, it was "Us four and..." meaning her and David, Lily and Sam, plus the others, such as my three kids and me. I pointed it out as she said it aloud. To me, it's a different "Us four," meaning Ben, Joe, Katie and me, and then the others.

The building blocks are the same, just arranged differently. I'm glad that I'm still in the mix.


Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Ronnie,
Wonderful news!

Now may I suggest you take a moment to impress on your mind that your pre-test anxiety did not predict unwanted results. So in the future, if you feel the same anxiety, you can remind yourself of the December '09 results.

Glad the beach ball metaphor works for you. I also offer you a "worry cup" (put pennies or buttons in a coffee cup as you name each of your worries; then let cup/God/whatever hold your worries for you).

Then there is "surrogate worrying." I do this for my daughter before her med school exams: I take ownership of the jitters, so she can focus on the test questions. If you would like me to be a surrogate worrier for your future check-ups, just email me. Happy to help.

With hope, Wendy (Harpham)

donna said...

You are as good a writer as any I have read lately. The last line of your blog brought tears to my eyes. Another foursome building block that you are a part of is our tennis group. It was so great to be together again yesterday. Next stop: the courts! Happy New Year! Love you!

Ann said...

I'm happy you're still in the mix, too.

PJ said...

Your counts are great! You can certainly feel crappy with good counts--look at all your body's been through over the past year. Glad your clinic visit was short and sweet.

susiegb said...

Just great news Ronnie ... Big smiles and hugs from Australia!