Sometimes when I am at the store, I feel I have too many choices. As a generally decisive person, I am a bit thrown off by fourteen varieties of apples or a wall full of colored pens. Of course, mostly I am grateful for the abundance that surrounds me. This relates to my current dilemma.

All along I think I am aiming for a bone marrow transplant. With one path I get into that “plan the dive & dive the plan” mode. But like many informed doctors and patients, I seek a second opinion, really just for reassurance. The second leukemia expert actually thinks I should go a different route, which entails two years or so of low dose chemo and other medications, aiming for the same goal—no illness. In describing the details of this second option, this wonderful doctor mentions they count “time served,” as in the cycles of chemo I’ve already had.

Initially, having a choice throws me off my game, I feel overwhelm with having to decide and fear making the wrong choice. Maybe you’ve had a time in your life where there were options and you feel a paralyzed trying to decide? Well, I have reframed the decision. Both approaches have risks and each has benefits. I envision each approach with an open heart and a clear vision of pristine health for years to come. Some of you may’ve read my first post where I describe the Stockdale Paradox—basically being realistic but embracing hope for the very best outcome—in this moment, regardless of our decision.

To continue the jail metaphor, sometimes, when I am in the clink (MGH), I shift from the Stockdale Paradox to Stockholm Syndrome! I begin to identify with the doctors and nurses poking and prodding, (and prescribing lifesaving medications!) which nonetheless, make me feel lousy. I am happy there. I feel safe and cared for. I want to be there in case something goes sideways. How quickly I can go from wildly free to captive!

In the meantime, I have been home for a glorious two weeks and doing all the things I love from being with Sophia, Misha, Jonah, and Paul, to time in nature, crunching leaves under my feet, cooking and baking, picking flowers at the farm, walking this glorious countryside, puttering in my art room, making music, sitting around a bonfire with friends. Paul was in Germany for a week and I had a veritable trail of dear friends come spend time with me. My kids and sister Nancy slept over a bunch, and well, what a blessing the people in my life. I would say I’m about 99% myself, just sans my hair.

I had back to Fifty-Five Fruit Street in the coming days to start up treatment, though not yet sure of the path. And it should be underscored, I have tolerated treatments very well and hope that remains the case so that I derive all the benefits and few of the risks! Some of you have reached out worried that you’ve not heard from me! Thank you for caring. That’s mostly a sign of me doing my life, and well, intermittently, even with this big decision looming, not thinking too much about leukemia.

May we all lean into the idea that we are often blessed to have choices and that this is a good thing. May we know reprieve from the things that worry us. May we have easeful nights free from angst and overwhelm. And may we each know the love and kindness of family and friends.

Love & Light from Middle Street

#wildflowers #leukemia #thriver #survivor #cosmos