T-29: Goodbye ABT-199

Goodbye my friend. It has been a pleasure knowing you.

We first met nearly nine months ago. I was perhaps a bit apprehensive, but you were confident. I hoped you could help me; nothing else had. You came into my life geT-29ntly, gradually introducing yourself so I would not be shaken. I came to the point where I actually liked you. You were gentle. You were kind. But you were also demanding.

Really, breakfast at 7:15 AM? And we had to meet at 8:00 AM every morning. Not only that, but you insisted on a low fat breakfast. Do you know how that challenged my diet? Don’t get me wrong. I’m a healthy eater. But I do like my sausage and eggs from time to time. I also enjoy an occasional serving of biscuits and gravy. “No,” you said, “nothing like that. Oh, and forget the Danish on Sunday, too much fat.” Still, I forgive you.

You gently and systematically destroyed the leukemia cells that inhabited my body. You reduced the swollen lymph nodes back to normal. You gave me life. For that I thank you. However, it is time for us to part ways.

This morning, I shook hands with you for the final time. I took my last dose of you. It was a bitter sweet experience. On the one hand, I can have my sausage and eggs tomorrow – as a reward, of course – and whenever I want to eat them. On the other hand, leaving you opens the way for a new relationship.

Somewhere in the United States, an unknown individual has passed a series of tests designed to make sure he is healthy. (I say “he” because I really don’t know this person, so I’m using the generic “he” though he could be a she for all I know.) In a few short weeks I will be introduced to his blood stem cells. Before that happens, my white blood cells will be destroyed, killed, and expelled from my body. I will be at my most vulnerable for this introduction. That was the plan before you and I ever met. You brought me to this point. You made this introduction possible.

So it is with mixed feelings that I say goodbye. You have been a good friend. I leave you with fond memories. I will forever be grateful for your friendship. I want to bless you for your service to me. I pray that our acquaintance will lead you to many more friends. I am confident you will serve them as well as you have me.

Goodbye, dear friend. Goodbye. Thank you for the life you have given me. I will not waste it, but will cherish it. I dedicate it to helping others who are in the same place I was. Thank you for helping me say goodbye to CLL, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, forever. CLL was no friend; it was a fiend, stealing my life. You gave my life back to me.

May your journey be blessed. My you find tens of thousands of new friends. May you give them their lives back as you did mine to me.

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2 Responses to T-29: Goodbye ABT-199

  1. Mary Stelzer says:

    Can I ask if this drug helped so much why do you need the stem cell transplant? Really enjoy reading about your journey!

  2. harleyhudson says:

    There were many elements to this decision. ABT-199 is an experimental drug without a long term track record and may not even be approved by the FDA. I am healthy now. If the drug failed in the future or was not available, and I became very ill, I might not be a candidate for a transplant in the future. These are just two of the factors we weighed in our decision.

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