I think it’s been nearly a year since I have written about Waldendtrom’s Macroglobulinemia (WM), a non-Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer) that I have. It is incurable but treatable and if you have it you really don’t know what your life expectancy is — but you do have a strong clue that you are not going to live out that long life you thought you might.
If my math is correct, I was 58 when I was first diagnosed — I’m 60 now. Life expectancy for WM patients used to be considered something like five years from diagnosis, but that has changed.
I chose today to write some more about this because for one, as I mentioned, it has been nearly a year since I wrote anything about it, and for another, I have an appointment with my oncologist today. I’m currently in what you might call remission (or at least I have been), although my oncologist kind of waffles on calling it such — he did tell me that for all intents and purposes that is the condition (remission) I was in, however. I have not felt any new symptoms, but then again it is hard to determine. I am getting older, so I have become used to feeling a little more tired and possibly a little less able to do what I did before. Then again, sometimes I feel stronger than I was when I was much younger (lifestyle, what you are doing at any one time, perhaps, makes a big difference).
Not all of those with WM feel the same symptoms. My first was a tingling of the feet. Along about the same time, I suffered from uncontrolled bleeding of the tongue. Actually, a lot of people who are diagnosed with WM feel no symptoms at all; it just pops up in routine blood tests.
One of the main things WM does is make your blood thicker and that makes you more susceptible to things such as strokes. So, as if it were any consolation, doctors will sometimes tell you that WM will not be the cause of your death — trouble is, it will set up the conditions for you to suffer something else that will be.
I’ll try to blog more when I get back from my oncologist. The only useful thing I can say to anyone, especially anyone who has just been diagnosed, is to force yourself to have a positive outlook. I had a survivalist outlook at first and that helped. But after things calmed down a bit, I think I developed a more positive outlook, and that has helped even more.
Our days on this earth were limited the day we were born, so really, in a way, my condition has not changed since birth. I try to make the best of each day. This sounds cliché, I know. But some clichés have truth to them.
I’ll blog more, hopefully later today.
OKAY, BACK FROM THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE:
Pressed for time here, but I can tell you that my blood work showed that I have made improvement since last time. As I said, basically, I am in remission, but some of the indicators from my blood tests show abnormalties, but nonetheless, I have made improvement from several months ago. Wished I could write more, but I have to go to work. I will follow this up soon, though. And that is an important point. This WM threw me off work for about two years. But I have been back to work truck driving (my main occupation for the past some 15 years) since last July. So, there is life, and work, after WM.