Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How is my life like a Stephen King novel?

When I began this blog, I hoped (and feared) that the entries would eventually become predictable, dull and monotonous. "Check in to Hotel Hope. Get high doses of chemo. Go home for two weeks. Repeat." And I looked forward to the day when my entries would put readers to sleep ("Had another good day today") so that I could switch over to my "Open Mouth, Insert Fork" blog.

I wanted my story to be the safe, formulaic work of a hack, complete with a happy ending.

But my saga is beginning to be more like a Stephen King novel. Not in the pig's-blood-dumping-on-the-prom-queen way. In the unpredictable, sitting-at-the-keyboard, I-have-no-idea-where-this-novel-is-going style that I've read that King employs when writing one of his spine-tingling tales.

If I wrote fiction, I'm afraid I'd have to know the endng in advance and would use a detailed outline to make sure I got there. Uncertainty be damned!

But now I'm adapting to a high level of uncertainty and many unanswered questions. And I have no idea how this story is going to end.

Will my platelets rise sufficiently in one week? Will I need to endure another bone marrow biopsy as Dr. Forman suggested? Will I be able to continue Hyper CVAD at a reduced dosage? Will the reduced dosage and prolonged schedule be a big enough gun to deal with my blastic variety of mantle cell lymphoma? Will my bone marrow be able to pump out a sufficient quantity of stem cells for the autologous stem cell transplant? If not, is an allogeneic (donor) stem cell transplant the right decision? If so, will a family member be a match? If not, will I find a match on the national registry? Will I develop graft versus host disease, a common complication of donor transplants? Will I reach complete remission? If so, how long will I stay there?

I wish I could flip ahead, find out the answers to these questions and learn the ending. But I'm just going to have to take it one spine-tingling page at a time.


Paula Johnson said...

I know it'll end well. It's just this chapter that freaking me out.

Oh, and I Goggled "increase platelet production" to see if I could find any easy DIY solutions for you, like "eat Twinkies naked at midnight," but all I found was medical journal mumbo-jumbo.

There are some clinical trials to try boosting platelet product in (get this) healthy people. Well, duh, they already have enough platelets. Jeesh.

Carolyn H. said...

Oh man, do I know the "skip ahead and find out" syndrome. I've been there for about 5 years now! Makes me think of a story on "The Book of Virtues" animated show (gack!) wherein this guy could pull a string and skip ahead in his life. He did it every time things were inconvenient and ended up quickly arriving at the end of his life. It was a very patronizing story. Still, faith, patience and endurance (I think I went to school with those girls) do seem to be required in this life. Phooey. I'll let you know when I figure out a way around that. In the meantime, hang in there and know that time will pass and things will change. You've had many good things happen in spite of this bad time. I think that trend will continue.

And... While you're waiting, wanna go to Beverly Hills for some cool (platelet raising?) Venezuelan food? I know this nice place. Locals in your fan club could join us. I'd be happy to set something up.

Sending many health inducing vibes your way,

Karen said...

Nothing you write could ever be hack material. So, of course, nothing you live could be, either! As long as I've known you, you've had to face challenges and, every time, not only have you faced them with grace, but everything has turned out well -- not the way you expected, but well nonetheless. That's what's going to happen this time, too. It's the kind of (non-fiction) stories you write.

I didn't know that Steven King's writing method was blind wandering in the hope of inspiration. That seems to be the tack of a lot of politicians, only (unlike with King) the inspiration never strikes.

With you, it's always there, and has never let you down. It's not going to let you down this time, either.