Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Growing our Own: Family, Friends, Ibrutinib and Green Tea: Many Reasons to Give Thanks

Our flushing Camellia Sinensis (tea trees)

I have many reasons to celebrate my favorite secular holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. It is a good time to pause with family and friends, perhaps before the festive meal begins, and go around the table and have everyone reflect on all that brings us joy and purpose, all that makes us thankful.

I am blessed with a close and loving and expanding (through marriage and babies) family, amazing friends nearby and on the other side of the world, meaningful and rewarding work, year round access to, and better yet, the ability to grow our own tasty local organic vegan food (and soon make meaningful amounts of my own delicious green tea), the chance to travel and lecture in supposedly pedestrian towns that always turn out to be full of new experiences and friends, teachers and cultural opportunities that expand my vision, and maybe, just maybe, getting my health back, my chance to keep going, to do more, and to grow old.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a lab rat. Yes, I complain about the CT scans and all the travel, but honestly because of Clinical Trial NCT01217749 that gave me access to ibrutinib, I am here and well and celebrating with a mind that is not convulsed about my next treatment choice or about a looming unexpected twist in my health. I have a real shot at physical redemption. I am thankful for all the help I got from my case managers and my medical group (St Jude Heritage Medical Group), the entire medical and trial team at OSU, and my family, especially my wife for making this all  happen. 

It is possible to live in gratitude and sickness at once. Some of us with cancer must do this for long chunks of our lives, but it never easy and never the most desirable. Ghandi simply said: It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. While I have posted extensively on living with bad news and sickness, it has always been with an eye on the prize of getting better, of being well.

My next post will discuss the risks and benefits of clinical trials, both from my personal perspective and from what I learned at the Manhattan Beach Lymphoma Research Foundation Meeting a few weeks ago.

But first, I will enjoy a down day of turkey less vegan feasting with my family.

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