Well into the year (2016) and we were at status quo. The only reminders are the fatigue and the bruising, which makes going to the dentist for a routine checkup an epic event. It is possible that we could continue like this for years.
But I don’t believe that.
I am chomping at the bit for another opinion. But I have to move slowly to get agreement. By October, I found the situation untenable. So, after several months of pussyfooting, I insist on another specialist.
Through the intervention of a family friend we were connected to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Out of network Stanford and Seattle were asking $15,000 for a consultation (including review of all slides); Mercifully, the NIH, in an effort to find candidates for their clinical trials, might just be willing to do a workup for free. So, my daughter interviewed by phone to see if we met their criteria, and then she and her husband flew cross country, and I took the Amtrak from New York. We all met up in Bethesda.
Before our meeting with NIH, we had a nice couple of days, visiting the newly opened African American museum, and eating well. We then presented ourselves at NIH where we were given a warm and welcoming reception and a thorough examination — biopsies, scans, blood tests etc.
The results were to come in two weeks. So, we all went home to forget.
I am grateful for our family’s grace under pressure, the ability to LIVE until we have to face what we had to face, to work, to love, and to laugh. I know of many who fill every waking moment with fear, anxiety and what ifs.
That used to be the case with me. But through years of Sound Meditation and self-observation practices, I rid myself of those useless and self- punishing behaviors. All the efforts I had made were now paying off.
Religions teach this:
“If you have a problem that can be fixed, then there is no use in worrying. If you have a problem that cannot be fixed, then there is no use in worrying.” – Buddhist proverb
“Sufficient unto that time the evil thereof “ (Matthew 6:34)
Rabbinic teaching: dyya l’tzara b’shaata (דיה לצרה בשעתה), “the suffering of the (present) hour is enough for it”. Tr. Berakhot 9b
Many have trouble implementing this terrific advice. In my own case, as ludicrous as it sounds, I actually believed, magically, that worrying about something, actually prevents it from happening. Eventually, I wised up.
Think: what does your anxiety gain you? If you are doing everything possible, why are you depriving yourself of the present moment?
NIH called 4 days later, a lot earlier than we expected. Alarmed, my daughter protested: “I don’t have my support system around me, let’s talk later.” But the doctor said the news couldn’t wait.
Your disease is progressing. You need immediate urgent treatment as you are now in imminent danger of developing aggressive leukemia.
The family is now very grateful for my intervention.