Some “light reading”
Last night as I lay in bed I decided to do a little light reading. So, of course, I did a search for “Survival rates of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.”
What? Doesn’t everyone do that? I mean, I could have read Stephen King or James Patterson but, hey, Survival Rates is much more exciting. Oddly enough I do have a Dean Koontz book beside my bed called Life Expectancy. How’s that for ironic?
Anyway, the Healthline post said that, according to the National Cancer Institute, in 2017 there will be an estimated 20,100 new cases of CLL in the United States and around 4,660 deaths. (The research was done before 2017. Hmmm, we’re more than halfway through 2017 now. I wonder how their estimations are going.)
The 5-year survival rate for CLL patients is now around 83% percent. So 83 out of 100 people are still alive 5 years after their diagnosis. Yeah, so that’s reassuring. Eighty-three percent sounds good, but 5 years? Not so much. But I have made it past that mark; I’m in my 8th year. Whoo Hoo! That’s not sarcasm by the way. I am grateful for the 8 years. But they went pretty fast. As you get older the years seem to speed up.
Right now I’m low on the Rai scale so my symptoms are slight and I even sometimes forget I have the disease. But every now and then Leuk’s brother Fear shows up. I often tell people I’m not afraid of dying. I think that’s to ease their minds. But here, on this blog, since I’ve promised to always be straight with you, my feelings about it are actually not quite as stoic.
I not only fear my own passing. I worry about my wife’s financial and emotional state when I’m gone. I worry I won’t see my grand kids grow up. Oh yes, Worry is another of Leuk’s brothers.
The Healthline post suggests ways to cope with having cancer: write down your feelings (I guess that’s what I do with this blog site); educate yourself (hence my somber internet searches); be active (a, yeah, what happened to my “going to the gym” goal?); and, finally, take your mind off your disease (for me, definitely movies, reading, and writing).
Good suggestions all. Many of them I have talked about on this blog. Still, as things progress that can be a little more challenging. But they’re right. Fear and Worry need to be put aside as much as possible. The lifetime we are given cannot be wasted with dark thoughts.
So, I think it’s time to start reading paperbacks again. Besides, the Dean Koontz book Life Expectancy has a lot of humor in it. Reading about CLL no so much.