My Dad, Jedi Master?

Today marks three weeks since we buried my father, and it seems no less surreal today than it did on that day.

The finality of death is unsettling in myriad ways, and I have spent most of my time thinking about his loss in two very different veins. On the one hand, his death feels acutely like the word I just used to describe his passing–loss–so much so that it actually feels like I have lost him, left him behind, and that if I searched for him I would find him somewhere. I guess that is why they call it “loss.”

On the other hand, my father, who was such a presence in all of our lives, seems to be everywhere still, in sort of like an Obi Wan Kenobi-after-he-is-killed-by Darth Vader-glow-in-the-dark-Jedi Master-sort-of-way. Everywhere I turn I see him and I am comforted by knowing he will be with me always. In this sense, I am always finding him.

These are the twin currents of facing life without a loved one. The pain and the comfort. And I don’t expect either will ever go away, new companions, both wanted and unwanted, as life marches on.

On the Upswing

Last night was probably my neutropenic low-point, and I am feeling a wee bit better this afternoon with an unfortunate weekend of chicken and potatoes ahead.

With the end of delymphomatization firmly in our sights, Jacqui and I are beginning to plan for our post-chemo life: events which include a much needed vacation, a baby naming for Sophia, and, of course, the first annual Mike Yudell Lymphoma-Free 5k run/walk/barbecue. As of now, we are tentatively planning the baby naming the first weekend in May and the lymphoma-free celebration the weekend of June 23rd. More information to follow soon. Hope to see you all there!

A, Final, Neutropenia

Today marked the beginning of my final A cycle neutropenia with my white count hovering at around .4, my hemoglobin at 8.7, and my platelets at 60. Still unclear if I’ll need a transfusion later in the week or early next from this crash. Any predictions?

The A crash isn’t so bad, so I’ll just lay low on my limited brain power. Waiting anxiously for tomorrow’s delivery of the new James Bond movie Casino Royale.

But we’ve still got one last B cycle neutropenia hump to get over in a few weeks time. Almost there. Stay on target!

On Her Belly

Sophia is now playing on her belly, laughing, and, of all things, teething early. Yay!

In chemo related news, I am still not neutropenic from the A cycle. That should happen on Thursday. The gentle A crash is not so bad. Just means chilling out. Because my white count is still robust, we have tonight to go out for dinner before I am shackled to potatoes and chicken at home starting Thursday. Last night we had a great meal at Lolita, one of Philly’s finest restaurants. Mmmmm, yummy steak to keep the hemoglobin up with baked yucca. So delicious.

Neither Sorrow Nor the Pity

There have been very few comments on the blog lately, and I suspect that many of you are sitting out there in front of your computers with your jaws hanging onto the keyboard in disbelief. New baby. My dad’s death. Finishing chemo. Neutropenic fevers. Ouch. That’s gotta hurt.

I’ve even heard from a few of you who have wondered aloud if I am now feeling like Job, or that Jacqui and I must be crazy to maintain such an optimistic world view in the wake of all that is in our life.

Well, I don’t feel like Job, and I certainly don’t think I am crazy.

I am clearly not shy in sharing my deepest emotions on all that has gone on in my life these last six months. You all know exactly how I feel. You know exactly what I am going through and what lies ahead. And I am ashamed of nothing and glad that I have held nothing back from you. It has been cleansing to share all that I have gone through, and I am looking forward to turning this all into a book someday so that others who have faced tragedy and difficulty can perhaps take something from this.

But please don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t feel pity for us. Life can be rough sometimes. It can be messy. It can hurt. But it is still life. And I have an amazing wife and daughter and family. And the promise of a healthy life ahead, albeit with some potential speed bumps down the line, both as a lymphoma survivor and all that entails, and just by being a human being and all that entails.

So I am glad you are along for the ride. It is getting easier now, at least in terms of my health. Time will never completely heal the loss of my dad, but he is with me, in my heart and my mind always, and one day I will know just how lucky I am for that.


Hanging in there post-chemo.

Slept a lot today.

Tomorrow I should start bouncing back as the nausea and exhaustion start to dissipate.

Thankful for small things.