It was a Friday in November '19, I had been very anxious. I recieved a phone call. I was in tears. I had gotten a new job! I drove home, enjoying the music on Kiss FM, which was a first. I told my wife and hugged her and gave my nearly one year old daughter a sloppy and intentionally irritating smakeroo on the cheek. I went to bed a little nervous of how I might measure up to this new role. I was pleased to bring home some more bacon. By the end of November and into early December, I was considering jacking in my new dream job. Bacon was the last thing on my mind (I love bacon).
The letter fell on my mat like a ton of bricks, but really this humpty dumpty had been teettering on a wall for some time. My doc had found a huge increase in my white blood cell count in a routine blood test for mitochondrial diabetes (from me Ma’s side), the diagnosis was tbc. I fell into anxiety and depression. Got signed off. I had been overworked and drinking quite a bit for some time. My family had a history of cancer; specifically my dad and Google said it was a possibility. I had to wait two weeks. I feared I had cancer. I sat an important academic exam (hate them), and a day later the results confirmed Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. I was right, I had cancer.
It’s manageable they said, it’s very treatable they said. That has been the case so far. The hardest thing was the existential dread. Duurh. Plus the bone marrow sample (now written examinations don’t look so bad).
I had a month to get work ready. I started Dec thinking I’d never be able to start a new job in Jan, but proper treatment for depression and a healthier lifestyle has helped me get used to the imatinib medication. I feel very lucky, and by crimbo I had felt like I turned a corner. Santa took away my dread and I started to come to terms with my diagnosis. I don’t have all the answers. But knowing a bit more about what I’m up against, put me back together again. The guys and gals at hospital are all good eggs. My bloodwise book sits on my nightstand, but I haven’t reread it yet. I started work. It is hard. It is stressful. But it’s not cancer.
I am not my dad. I think my journey will be different to his. I miss him terribly. I’ve been through some of what he faced, but I’m fairly keen to see my daughter grow up, so I’m grateful to medical science. I’ve felt quite alone. But I’m certainly more positive about the future. Not sure why I used a few egg puns. Feel free to poach them, yolks.