One most difficult aspects of having Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia is accepting the fact that it is a chronic cancer; in other words, I will never be cured. That is unless my body becomes resistant to the medication that currently is keeping my leukemia at bay, and I undergo a bone marrow transplant successfully.
The second most difficult aspect of having CML, is learning to accept my new “normal”, and living with the side effects that occur from the very drug that is keeping me alive. Prior to having CML, I was a continual and constant mass of motion; I was always on the go and rarely stopped for anything. Many people probably thought that I should stop and smell the roses from time to time, but what they may not have realized, was that I was smelling the roses all along the way. Prior to leukemia, I suppose that my favorite saying was “I can sleep when I am dead!” I always felt that life was so grand and offered so many opportunities that I didn't want to miss out on any more than necessary; I wanted to go, and do, and see what the world had to offer, how I could be a part of it, and how I could contribute to making the world a better place.
Of course, my heart and soul still feels that way, however, my body does not. That sneaky little Philadelphia Chromosome has set up shop in my bone marrow and has seen to it that I stop and smell the roses; frequently. Unfortunately I am often unable to drag my body TO the roses, as often as I would like, but I still smell them when I can. Leukemia has forced me to change my life and to create a new slogan; “I Do When I Can; I Don’t When I Can’t.” This has been really difficult because I feel as though so much of life is quickly passing me by and I am missing out. My heart and soul say “Go” and my body says “No.”
This has truly changed how I have lived my entire life; I used to be able to make plans and it never entered my mind that I would not be able to keep them. Now, I can wake up in the morning with every intention of making it to dance class in the evening, but by noon, I often must just resign myself to the fact that I will be staying home.
You might be thinking that I should just “push” myself and go dancing, but what most people do not realize is, that if I AM at dance class, I HAVE pushed myself just to get there. Pretty much every day is a push; the more I push through on some days, the more difficult it is to push through on others. It is a vicious cycle that seems to never end. Today I am feeling fever-ish and the beginnings of a sore throat, so typical of my new life; all I want to do is to lie down, but instead, I am writing this blog, doing laundry and getting ready to make dinner. I am also taking sneak peeks of a new dance video!
My motivation for doing what I can, when I can, and giving in to staying home when I can’t, is to try and remain as healthy as I possibly can, continuing to take the medication that is keeping me alive, yet making me feel as though I have chronic flu, long enough for the medical researchers to actually come up with a cure for chronic myelogenous leukemia. Of course, I hope and pray that my body will not have been too damaged by these powerful drugs that are keeping me alive, to return to my pre-cancer, “Happy-Go-Lucky” state.