In the Summer of 2009 I began to notice that I was becoming slightly winded as I went up the stairs, and that a profound fatigue was beginning to nestle into my body.
On the next visit to Dr. Wolf in June of 2009, he mentioned I was becoming more anemic and he wanted to see me again in a month.
I returned a month later to see that I had become even more anemic, and he informed me it was important to immediately start chemotherapy. As I went through the process of having many tests before treatment, I began to get more and more fatigued, until when the therapy actually began a week later I was close to needing a blood transfusion.
And so it began. I just avoided needing a transfusion as I responded very well to therapy. I began to actually feel much better and I went through a six month course of infusions without losing my humor or my hair. Ironically my hair stubbornly refused to fall out, which was a surprise and good news to all.
Over the last few years I have had two more treatments for reasons I won’t bore you with but at the moment all is well.
As I wonder to myself about the silver lining to my illness, for example, shouldn’t it make me re-evaluate my life, or change direction, refocus my efforts, change my priorities, or simply appreciate life for it’s beauty every day, I find actually that none of this has happened.
But do not feel any sorrow or pity for me because as I have gone through these last years with its many ups and downs, I have realized in most ways I am living the life I want. Sure I would love to have more time to spend with my wife, visit friends more, achieve more acclaim, see my son more, but if I look at my life as a whole, as the life I have actually lived for these past 45 years, I find I am doing what I want. I am living the life I dreamed about, I am resting as much as I need, and most of all I don’t think I would change much.
Continually reflecting on my decision making with the help of guidance over these past years has helped me choose the life I wanted to live then and not waiting for something traumatic to happen to make that change.
So as the world turns, and I along with it, I wonder what I will meet along the way. But with the past that I have chosen and hope for the future, I find myself looking forward to the road I must travel ahead.
The leaves are falling, falling as from way off,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
they are falling with denying gestures.
And in the nights the heavy earth is falling
from all the starts down into loneliness.
We are all falling. This hand falls.
And look at others: it is in them all.
And yet there is one who holds this falling
endlessly gently in his hands.
By Rainer Maria Rilke
The Book of Pictures, I