Thursday, November 29, 2012

How are you feeling?

This is the first question my doctor asks me every time he sees me. I know he is really looking to see if there are any new infections, or symptoms, that need to be treated. Since I've left the hospital I have felt pretty good (except for this past Sunday with Margaret's virus),  I am just still very tired. My sleep habits have evolved to those of about a 3 year old with an afternoon rest (which is occasionally a nap) and an early bedtime (and evening is when I feel most so-so and get crabby).

I know I look tired, too, thanks to the honesty we have instilled in our children. This past weekend the girls were painting. Katherine decided she wanted a live model to sketch so she asked if she could do my portrait. My hair was up. She asked if I could put it down which was fine. I pulled it down, she fluffed it up and then dove into sketching. When she got to my eyes she started asking me questions for my input and the conversation went something like this.

Kath: "Do you want eyebrows?"
Me: "Yes, eyebrows would be great."
Kath: "Do you want the bags under your eyes?"
Me: "No, you can leave those out....and leave out the wrinkles too."

We all started laughing and I told Kath and Marg to always leave out the bags under the eyes and the wrinkles!!

I am very dubious though about "how I am feeling" being a good indicator of how I am really doing. When I was first diagnosed I felt tired, but otherwise fine, too, and am back to that point.

Mom and Dad, you should stop reading this post now.

I asked my doctor last week how close I was to dying when I was diagnosed with leukemia. Knowing 90% of my bone marrow was cancerous when I was diagnosed, and that my bone marrow was packed solid so there was no "marrow" to make new cells, and what the life of red and white blood cells and platelets realized I was not long for this world. My doctor very deftly responded by saying he was not going to answer it directly. What he did say was that my hemoglobin was 6 when I was diagnosed. The mortality rate at 2 is 80-90%. Most people by 4 know something is wrong. I was loosing about 0.5 of hemoglobin a day so not all that long.... craziness. I definitely have a new appreciation for every day and everything in my life!

So even though I am not sure it has any bearing on how my body is really doing, mostly I am feeling a bit stronger each day. I still have a long way to go to rebuild my strength, as my short walks or mini weightlifting sessions remind me, but I am moving in the right direction. People that see me say I look normal (and except for my children they kindly don't comment on the bags under my eyes!), and people I talk to say I sound normal. I am really looking forward to the day when my blood comes back normal, but until then will just try and savor each day.

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