Thought you might enjoy a chapter from my autobiograpy concerning how I found out that I had leukemia:
What! An addendum to his book already? Surely he must have won the lottery, invented a better Clapper, or was finally elected Burgermeister of Cedar Grove. Wrong! A couple hours after a routine physical in August of 2009, my doctor called and informed me that my white blood count was 29,000. Apparently, my reaction to the news wasn't nearly as dour as he wished, because he immediately asked if he could talk to my wife instead. Lynn, who actually understood the significance of the number, soon gave him the alarmed response he was looking for. By the time the conversation was over, I understood two things: I likely had leukemia, and I had approximately fifteen minutes to live (give or take ten minutes).
After scouring the internet, I was only moderately more optimistic concerning the diagnosis. Depending on the type of leukemia, my prognosis ranged anywhere from very bad to relatively good. If I had an acute form of the disease, there was a chance that I'd be pushing up tulips (I'm Dutch after all) within months. If, instead, it turned out to be of the chronic variety, I had a fair chance of lasting years. Suddenly, I found myself in the awkward position of praying that I had chronic leukemia. Well, for better or worse, God answered my prayer. Following a bone marrow biopsy, I was officially diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The standard treatment for CML is Gleevec, a medication that was approved in 2001, and is touted as a "wonder drug". This is true in the sense that it makes one wonder how any drug can cost $15,000 for a three month supply. However, considering that people taking the drug have a 97 percent five year survival rate, it seems well worth the investment. Thus far, I've been unable to find another documented case of a quadriplegic with leukemia. Consequently, one would think the condition to be quite marketable. Heck, everyone in the country with eight kids or more has their own reality television show. By my estimation, anyone who broke their neck and then developed cancer is much more interesting than a couple who simply had sex until the husband's penis fell off. Unfortunately, I'm still awaiting a call. (Perhaps the offers will roll in once my penis falls off.)
The main advantage of having leukemia is that it takes one's mind off being a quadriplegic. My advice to those of you suffering from spinal cord injuries, is to find the nearest nuclear waste dump and dive in headfirst. With a bit of luck you'll develop leukemia within weeks. (Be advised that, if lady luck isn't with you, you may simply grow another arm instead.) Cancer, of course, is much easier to deal with when a support group is readily available. If one is lucky enough to have access to another individual with the disease, so much the better. The one exception to this, of course, is when the support individual happens to be a member of the same household. In medical terminology, situations such as this are known as Suckutosis Bigtime. I know this only because, six weeks after my leukemia diagnosis, my wife was informed that she had breast cancer. Lynn was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ in October, and, since it was so close to the holidays, decided to kill two birds with one stone and do away with both her saggy, non-perky, fifty-two-year-old breasts, and trade up a half dozen sizes as a Christmas gift for myself. Though my leukemia didn't require the loss of any prized anatomy as part of its treatment, in a show of solidarity with my wife, and to reciprocate her Christmas gift to me, I decided to undergo a bit of male enhancement, regardless of the need. As of this writing (December of 2009), we are both doing well. My magic leukemia pill is currently working as advertized, and Lynn's expensive, very large breasts are both cancer-free. I fully expect that the next addendum to this book will either concern my having won the lottery, or my being elected Burgermeister. (As long as I'm dreaming, I might as well dream big.)