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Here's news and info about three primary blood cancers, Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia with a decided patient's perspective.  I hope this helps whether you're newly diagnosed or veteran survivor.  

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Happy Birthday

The Birthday celebration that might not have been      

If I had believed most of the then available published research concerning survival, morbidity rates, age-adjusted death rates, crude death rates and other scary scenarios associated with my rare blood cancer at the time of diagnosis, I wouldn't be celebrating my Birthday today.  My oncologist flatly told me, you are an individual, you don't necessarily fit into one of those pie charts or graphs that use historical information that doesn't apply to you.  Well, that's a relief. Not.   

But damn, no matter where I look, it says to expect a five to seven year survival.  I know.. My wife and daughters put Dr. Ghobrial up to this. I imagined their quiet hallway conversation.  Hey Doc, don't scare Dad.  He always finds a way out of a bad situation.  He's the most positive patient you'll ever meet.  He's so positive, his blood type is B+.  

I have asked many cancer survivors- what question did you most want answered at the time of diagnosis?  You guessed it, how long do I have?  Even if you didn't directly ask, it was and perhaps still is foremost on your mind.   Nobody really knows.  But there are some symptoms and indicators that can help clinicians make a reasonable guess. You should know these indicators too.  Take the time to ask your doctor about those symptoms, the indicators, your blood numbers, your test results.  Hey, Doc for what should I be looking?  What are the specific symptoms that concern you Doc?  Nosebleeds, nasty recurring headaches, tingling feeling, ringing in my ears, lights flashing, lack of co-ordination, tripping, dropping a glass of wine? What, what!  When should I call you?    

For most of us, there is far too much fear associated with a cancer diagnosis.  The C word is no longer a death sentence, nonetheless be vigilant, be educated and stack the odds in your favor. After getting through most of the up front fear of dying or shortened life span, I thought about reality and risks and then became a more rational, reasonable thoughtful patient. I actually decided several years ago that I'd write a book, short story, blog or whatever that would pop-up when Google was the tool used by the recently diagnosed.  

I decided everyone needs a more objective, rational look and up-to-date information to be prepared to start to learn more about blood cancers.  So, it's now the end of the day, my birthday, a few minutes before lights out and I reached my self-imposed goal, start publishing before my next birthday.

Happy Birthday!  Now, what promise did you make to yourself to complete before your next birthday? 

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