John and Charlene,
I don't want to get hung up on the chemo vs not chemo because it is not all that relevant to where you are right at this moment. I respect what both camps are saying, but to keep focus this is your thread about your recent diagnosis and as such I would like to focus on what you are going through at the moment.
I understand where you are, for context, I was diagnosed 2 years ago at the age of 37, I have two children now 6 and 8. I went in for a typical physical and found out I had CML. It was shocking and hard to deal with. My wife also struggled with it. For some, the CML treatment is harder than it is for others. Age and other health issues play a lot into that. For some they are just more sensitive to the drugs then others and have a harder time with side effects and to keep it real the reality is that for a few the drugs do not work. Thankfully that number is small and there are more option today for treating CML then there has ever been. There are three approved drugs, two others coming to market soon and others in pipelines. If you have to get cancer, this is a very treatable form and to that end some might consider you lucky compared to other potential diagnoses. That does not sit well with many, so let's just say it is different for you then it will be for anyone else, each person has their own path to follow with this disease. Everyone approaches it differently.
So like anything else there are those who do well and those who don't, most do ok and get by. I work full time, I take care of my family, take vacations, etc. I also tend to get sick more frequently with colds and stuff like that and it lasts longer. I'm fatigued and I get some muscle pain and skin issues like sun sensitivity etc. All of it is manageable, would life be better without it? sure, but I can handle it and most people can handle it, you will likely be able to handle it.
For many the mental fight with CML is harder than the physical fight. There is a good chance that over time you will feel much better than you do now, probably not 100% the way you used to, I would say I'm about 80% most days.
I enjoy things in life and I have learned that life continues to go on. My wife and I have dealt with a considerable amount of tragedy over the last two years, sadly right now CML is the least tragic thing in my life. This past Jan my wife's father was diagnosed out of the blue with a Stage 4 Brain tumor. No TKI drugs for him, no magic bullets, no second chances, he is currently in hospice and we expect him to pass any day now. If that is not bad enough, this past March my wife's younger brother unexpectedly died at the age of 35. I don't know how my wife gets out of bed in the morning, but she does and surprisingly she even smiles once in a while.
Make no mistake, life will not stop for you, you will learn to get along with your baggage and deal with it because that is what we do, it isn't fun, but it is better than the alternative. Life is worth living so we fight to keep going. Know that the feelings you are going through are normal, we have been there. I would suggest seeking out a good trauma counselor for a period of time, doesn't have to be forever, but you have experienced a trauma and it should be treated as such. The way you saw your life and your place in the world has been disrupted, you are much more aware of your mortality which is now front and center in your mind. That will take some time to get used to.
This has been long enough so I will wrap it up, we can keep talking on other threads. Some things to keep in mind with regard to statistics and how things will work out for you compared to someone else - I copied this off someone's thread in regard to their wife who has AML
"Cancer is a very personalized disease. A friend of mine who is a cancer researcher gave me some advice early on. Going into this process and recognizing the dismal prognosis for my wife, he told me that you will see lots of statistics that aggregate data on a lot of people. He told me not to pay attention to any of the statistics. Your genes, your cancer, and your situation is unique to you and is therefore different than the cancer of others. As an individual, you really have only two statistics, 0% and 100%. You have to go for the 100%."
Lastly I want to leave you with one last thought for when you are frustrated about taking your pill. It is normal to feel it is a burden, this "poison" we have to put in our bodies. Try not to see it that way and when you do I want you to visualize this
Think about yourself being in a dark room at night, you look up at the door and death enters, it is clear why he is there. You look over at your wife and children who are asleep and you look to death for compassion, you ask for more time. Death considers your request and hands you a pill. The deal is you must take this pill every day that you want to live, it will not make you feel well, but you will be alive. You will wake up in the morning next to your wife and lay down with her at night to go to sleep. You will sit at the table with your children during dinner and help them with their homework. You will love, laugh, and face other hardships in your life, but you will live in spite of this illness.
Given the choice what do you do? I chose to take the pill and I suspect you will too.
Don't bother looking backwards, you will miss the things coming your way.....
All the best getting through this tough time, know that you can do this and we are here for you when you need some support.