Monday, February 22, 2010

A Bump in the Road

There was bound to be one somewhere.

I hesitate to even mention it. I don't want to alarm friends and family, or sound like I am whining. But I owe it to other CLL patients to tell it like it is.

Last week I was told that the little zit I had on the top of my ear was some sort of skin cancer.

It's something CLL patients are supposed to watch out for. Statistically speaking, we have a higher susceptibility to it than "normal" people. I have had various treatments on my face for supposedly "pre-cancerous" cells from time to time for the past 12 years, so I can't be surprised.

From what I read, I suspect this is from severe sun burns as far back as childhood, or when I worked as a lifeguard when in high school and college, back when nobody I knew had ever heard of "sun block."

I refuse to worry about it. That is not to say I am going to ignore it. I'll deal with it as systematically, rationally, and thoroughly as I can.

But to all you other CLL people: Statistical probabilities can become very real and very personal.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Round 5 Report

It's February 5th, one week since I finished round 5 of chemo. With one exception, nothing is any different than the past several monthly rounds.

That exception is that on Monday of this week (the 1st), my nose started running spontaneously. My sinuses fizzed up. I have had that from time to time before, and it generally lasts about five minutes. Not this time. It gushed for two days---a full-blown cold. Rats. I had worked so hard over the past six months or so to avoid colds and flu. It was the reason I had gone into this self-imposed semi-quarantine, avoiding crowds and high risk people and high risk situations. And now I had failed. Was it that rare restaurant dinner on Saturday night? I will never know, but that was an avoidable risk.

Not to exaggerate the significance of this, but colds and flu can lead to pneumonia and pneumonia is what kills people who have what I have.

I think I can safely say now---three days later---I have dodged the bullet. I am feeling quite well. I have ridden my bike in the basement for two days in a row again, after not feeling up to it for the previous five days, and once again gaining ground. My brain is still buzzing with chemo-induced hyperactivity. Maybe these bursts will help me get that book written!