Saturday, April 13, 2019

This is my health update, which apparently will come every year. I see from my interaction on Facebook's "Bone Marrow & Stem Cell Transplant Patient Support" group that bone marrow transplant patients like to compare notes on recovery and on recovery times; therefore, here is my current report.

I am seven years and three months post-transplant. I am off all medication associated with the transplant. My feet and lower legs have completely recovered from the neuropathy caused by Tacrolimus (Prograf). I stopped taking it in 2014. I cannot remember if I stopped taking it because of the diagnosis of my secondary cancer, Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma. Obviously, they wanted my immune system to be as strong as possible for fighting off the lymphoma.

The Rituximab that was part of the chemo for the lymphoma caused 9 months of neutropenia, but the chemo did put the lymphoma in remission. The neutropenia led to hemorrhoids that got worse and worse. The result was little exercise through the spring and summer of 2015, which set back my physical and mental recovery quite a bit. Time does help both the body and the brain recover from chemotherapy, especially in regard to memory.

I have found it difficult to recover strength. I do exercise, but the gains are minimal. This is not debilitating. I think am stronger than most 12-year-olds, less strong than most teenagers, even young ones. I can run, fast or slow, about 200 yards, and I can do that repeatedly if I walk for a while in between. I can walk several miles without any real difficulty except that my feet hurt. I used to run 20 or 30 miles per week in my 40's, so I miss that ability. I am not sure why I cannot build up past 200 yards of continuous running, but that has no effect on quality of life at age 57.

I work full-time. I have significantly more fatigue in the mornings than I had pre-leukemia, but I seem to have good energy by lunch time every day. I do not get sick any more often than I did before leukemia, and I generally recover just fine. I do have worse allergies than most people, but they are not terrible.

My life is wonderful. My youngest daughter will graduate from high school next month. She is a great kid. My wife and I love each other more than ever, and we are actively serving the Lord together. Her mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer's, lives with us, and my wife babysits our grandson two days per week. I am in the editing stage of my second full-length book. I still help run the business we own, mostly handling the finances while managers keep the business running smoothly. I also serve as an elder in the church here, so I have a very active life.

(I write about church history. Decoding Nicea sells about 40 copies a month nowadays. I am hoping the release of Taking Aim at Rome's Audacious Claim will boost its sales even more. I expect that to happen in September.)

That's my update. For those that came here because you were diagnosed with BPDCN, like I was, there is hope and life in front of you! I exhort you to put your hope in God through Jesus, but this blog has lots of practical advice and experience in it as well.

Grace to you!