Tuesday, April 2, 2013

15 Months Post-Transplant: A Review

Results really vary among those who have had a bone marrow transplant. In fact, not all of us survive. Some of us worry constantly about relapse, some (like me) never give it a thought, even though none of us can rule it out. In fact, the 2400 rads of radiation I got in my brain and body means that I have a high risk of new cancers beyond relapse.

I can't see the good in worrying about that, and for some reason (I chalk it up to God's grace) I seem to be able to "fret not," that's what I do: fret not.

Health and Exercise

I've taken a new tack on getting my stamina back. I was doing two-mile sessions, running some, but mostly walking. Progress has been slow, and that's probably because the exercise sessions took at least 35 minutes, often close to an hour if I include some warming up before and stretching afterward. As a result, I didn't do those sessions on a lot of days and just limited myself to calisthenics, 5-minute or 10-minute sessions several times a day.

So now I'm running every day, about as far as I can run without stopping, which is a little over 5 minutes outside and right at 4 minutes on the treadmill inside.

I still try to fit in the walks and calisthenic sessions (push-ups, sit-ups, and a bunch of exercises I made up), but I am also sure to get in exercise that gets me toward my goal of being able to return to jogging as a main exercise. It's the one exercise that I know from experience that I will stick to on an almost daily basis for years.

I've just been doing this for a week, and I upped the treadmill time to 4:15 (not much of an improvement, huh?). I'll let you know how progress goes.

I'm a little frustrated with the pushups. I do pushups almost every day, and sometimes I do sets. Other times, I do pushups 2 or 3 times in a day. I've been stuck at 12-14 pushups for about 3 months. Admittedly in December, I could only do 10 pushups, then 12 in January, and now I think I could do 14 and maybe 15 at any time. Hang on ...

Just 14.

Still, 10 pushups to 14 pushups in 3 months, taking into account the work I've put in, is almost depressing.

On the other hand, I would say that I have almost returned to my slow, overweight level of soccer skill that I had at 49. I don't have the endurance I did, but I'm almost back to that pitiful speed I had BL (Before Leukemia).

My plan is to work on sprints once I can run 2 miles straight and get faster than I was BL.

Ok, speaking of soccer. Want to see a couple cool photos?

I found out that if you're taking Coumadin, you might want to be careful about how aggressively you go after loose balls when you're playing goalie. Diving for loose balls around the goal is important, as is rushing the oncoming striker in a 1 on 1 situation, but when your blood is thin it can leave marks on your body that really worry your friends and family.

The picture on the left and below was at the peak of bruising. The picture on the right and above is today. I had to take today's picture myself, so it's not very good.

Okay, here's another couple pictures, taken at the Huntsville Space Museum:

I had to let you see this old guy climbing with all the kids at the space museum. My hands still have a lot of strength to regain, so I didn't dare try this, but some white-haired, 60-year-old guy tried it and did better than most of the kids.

I told him I was impressed later, and he said he was pretty sure he was going to regret it the next day. I was impressed anyway.

Revisiting My New Life's Resolution

I didn't make an actual New Year's resolution, but I did make a New Life Resolution when I got out of the hospital after the transplant last year. I was not going to live life by the urgent anymore. I was just going to make the best use of my time, worry less, trust God completely, sleep more, and emphasize people, not tasks.

I failed.

I've been crazy busy, taking on more responsibility than I should have, and living my old way. I get a lot done, some of it important, but in the end the urgent and important end up in the way of God's best for my life ... That means it ends up in the way of God's will for my life, and I end up living in rebellion to God while doing what is good, important, and necessary.

The good can be, and often is, the enemy of the best.

Recommitment time. I'll let you know how I do.

Second New Life Resolution

My other New Life Resolution was to quit being such a perfectionist. There's tons of stuff I've written that is sitting on my hard drive because it's not up to my standards. You would not believe how much. I've been writing almost every day for at least two decades, probably closer to three.

I'm not going back to edit this blog. I wanted to say all this, so I said it. Feedback welcome from you. Feedback from me, however, has proven too critical and has been counter-productive. I'm firing the critic part of me, and I'm keeping on only the writer and editor part. (The editor is critical, too, but he finishes his job eventually.)


  1. I love this post. Are you overexpecting some things like how much you can do? Just wondering. I know it is good to put a higher standard on ourselves so we can push towards it and all but we can also set ourselves up to fail. Just thoughts. You have came so far . But I dont know just wondered.

    As far as your writing. I love your writing. I am not an english person but I love the content of your writing, your realness and determination. God Bless

    Pray you accomplish your desire. Love Kitty

  2. Hey, how are you doing? I went looking for your blog a couple days ago, and it's been two months. I don't want to push you to write, but I do want to ask how you're doing!

  3. Kitty, I get rebuked by some friend about once a month for overdoing things, and I get asked about whether I'm overdoing it maybe twice a week. I'm trying to listen, but I think that as long as I'm having fun, I can't be overdoing it. ... I am trying to have a little sense and care as well, but if too much sense gets in the way of joy, then joy is going to have to win.

  4. I like it...for me, it's living life without regret and of course, as I mentioned yesterday, "unplugged." I can't do the perfection thing anymore either. Too much else to do!

  5. Paul, you never cease to 1) amaze me, 2)inspire me, 3) motivate me! Congratulations on your progress, your striving ..

    Thank you!!

  6. Keep up the great progression! Thanks for sharing the soccer ball blues. Take care of yourself cousin and thanks for educating the rest of us!