Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"But the big, bad world doesn’t owe you a thing. Get over it. Get over it." The Eagles


One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice--

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save. 


Mary Oliver 

I want to thank Glenda for that poem. It really helps.

Let me start by taking several steps down from whatever virtual pedestal some may imagine me posing on. I am not there.

As you who follow my blog more closely could probably tell, I had not been in much of a literary mood for the last few days. 

Maybe the stomach pains are wearing me thin, maybe my fatigue has drained my creative juices, maybe my forced patience with the unusual slowness of the whole engraftment process is throwing off my normal frenetic rhythms.  My wife says I been moping. I know she's right. Not exactly exemplary or inspirational behavior.

I write this not to invite you to my pity party, or worse yet, to have you suggest I get over it, but just to let you know that all of us have darker days. I think it is healthy to be in touch with your pain and carry it forward. As John Lennon said  " Does you no harm to feel your own pain." The important part for me is to carry forward. Don't stop and dwell on the negative. Accept it and move on. Keep on truckin. My family doesn't tolerate stuckness. That's a good thing. 

The other puzzle piece has to do with widening and lengthening my perspective. Then all of this falls into place.

The dogs are back home. The vet and my doc think the risks are tiny. Doesn't stop me from reading half a dozen articles. For example: Such methicillin-resistant S. intermedius (MRSI) strains, although extremely rare, have now been isolated from dogs and the transfer of antibiotic-resistant S. intermedius strains from dogs suffering deep pyoderma to 46% (6/13) of their owners has been demonstrated (Gortel et al., 1999; Kania et al., 2004; Guardabassi et al., 2004 My only contact with them is to hear them bark.

My daughter, her boyfriend and I (masked of course) walked on the beach at sunset. He's never been to the west coast and never seen the sun set over the palm trees along the Pacific. And he has never eaten at In & Out so my daughter is taking him there for a fancy dinner. Double- double I bet. California is a special place. And obviously we are not a family of vegans. Though we can't share meals, we can visit. Not ideal, but workable.  We make it work. That too is a good thing.


Blogger Unknown said...

those hooks just grab a hold sometimes...
It feels to me as tho' this is that place when after all of our adrenaline has subsided, we might consider the concept of giving ourselves, our bodies, permission to just heal...perhaps your Dr. nature is mentally and emotionally "working it", well below the surface.
Brian, on a very deep level, your spirit has experienced a profound shift, just as your body made itself so vulnerable in order to heal. Even "warriors" must rest and renew.
kind regards,

August 13, 2008 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Mitchell Childs said...

Hey Brian,
don't apologize for all of those "symptoms" you are describing both physical and other (i.e. moping) as you are the patient and I think what you are describing is "healing"! So it's ok and walks on the beach and having the dogs home is a good thing!!!
Before you know it you'll be back to doctoring, but for now I'm enjoying seeing, or a "reading" this side of you!


August 13, 2008 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Dragon Slayer said...

Your body AND mind have had an upheaval. Feeling blue or restless is part of the process. Letting go of the things that you can't control will come in time-having control is what has gotten you through this.
This makes you realize the beauty of life and how fragile it can be. I think you're on track in tackling all of it. Your ability to blog and let your thoughts run free are a true sign that this too shall pass and you will be onto the next great adventure in your life which is to live with abandon-free from "the dragon". What a joyous place to be.

August 13, 2008 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Brian,

One of my favorite sayings: It matters less what you feel than what you do with what you feel.

And a line from my poem, the View from Remission: "Even unpleasant times are less painful, for they are proof that I am still here."

With hope, Wendy

August 14, 2008 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Judy Cleri said...

Hey Dr. K,

I believe that this is part of the healing process. You need to take it one day at a time. We have all been in these "moods" and most of us have never been through anything this difficult. It's time to reflect on all that you have been through, and we are all so very thankful that you are healing as fast as you are. I know that when you are in the mist of any trial, it never seems to go quite fast enough.'s time to just kick back relax and let the new body take over. You'll be back at work before you know it. After all we are working our way to 2 months.....before you know it, it will be 3,6 then 9 months......and then the most important for those of us who miss you....back to work.........

Take care, get better and hurry back to take care of all of us.


August 14, 2008 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I still think you are doing very well. You exited the hospital in record time. You have little to no GVHD to speak of. And you are well on your way to a full recovery.

I will come visit you next week (have mask in hand) and show you my blood charts. That should cheer you up a bit!

Stay strong, be positive and do not worry about the loss of energy and slow engraftment. I was talking to Dr. Nade at CoH today and she told me in the old days they could wait up to a full year for engraftment. Enjoy the time at home and with your family. I suspect that you will be out and about in no time.

Your CLL infected Friend,

August 14, 2008 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi There!

Ok doc, time for less science and more soul...

Sounds like you need to nurture yourself a bit. My suggestion - it's time to indulge in some guilty pleasures...I'm thinking a big slice of banana cream pie, or your favorite jazz album, a massage complete with aromatherapy and candlelight, more walks along the beach, and maybe your favorite comedy. Anyone else out there have some more ideas????

Just a thought... you've been "working" the whole time you should have been "healing"...

Take care of yourself now... :)

All the Best!!!!

Wendy Kayl

August 14, 2008 at 4:56 PM  

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