When you read the word chimera you may or may not recall your Greek mythology. From Wikipedia we have: a chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional creature with parts taken from various animals, to describe anything composed of disparate parts or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling. That’s the most positive spin on chimerism I’ve come across. Most have to do with rather nasty and monterous beings, but the point is that a chimera is made up of different genetic parts. For the vast majority of us living beings, we have our own DNA imprinted onto every one of our cells. While I have my own DNA, I also now carry the DNA in my stem cells and blood of my cherished donor. Last week I had the first chimera testing done on my blood and it revealed that, in all the ways they can currently test, 100% of my blood now carries only the genetic fingerprint of my donor. This may shift in the future, but for now, this is the best possible news!

Chimeric testing is carried out to assess the degree of engraftment. If my bone marrow and blood forming capacity was not completely decimated prior to transplant, or if the engraftment was not effective, I could have retained some of my old blood DNA, which by the way, I don’t want! While my own blood served me well in a myriad of ways over all my pristine and healthy decades of life, it’s also the blood that contained leukemia. So, this is an A+ report card, and while I like to think all of Paul and my and our brilliant ND advisors’ efforts helped get me through this phase, I also appreciate that so much of this arduous, elongated, and seemingly successful effort lays at the feet of substantial advances in science and medicine.

While most references to chimera are pretty negative, I am going to lean into the definition that includes dazzling with regard to my newfound personal status of chimerism! Another example of chimerism you may’ve come across recently is the Forty Fruit Tree work of Sam Van Aken, a Syracuse University professor, who uses chimeric grafting as a way to have different fruits growing from the same tree. This has been done on a smaller scale for generations, but I think we may need one of these 40 Fruit Trees to add to our backyard fruit selection!


This week I had my first outing, an exhilarating roundtrip, all-inclusive masked excursion to Atkins Farm, our nearby grocer, what a thrill!! I walk up and down Middle Street. I continue daily yoga and meditation, eating and hydrating as best and as much as I can, I even drove myself to a place we like to walk to meet friends. I do have waves of nausea, likely a drug side effect, but each week I see more and more of myself emerging: playing the guitar, puttering in the art room, cooking in my beautiful kitchen, tidying up, chatting with visiting friends and family.

Our medical visits are now just once a week at MGH, which are not for treatment per se, but rather for checking in with my providers and measuring my blood counts. When the visits stretch out to every other week, I will have my central line removed. I am currently on day 42 post transplant. It’s the first 100 days I need to mostly isolate as my immune system emerges in it’s newborn state, so almost half way there!

On these positive and promising notes, with this post I wrap up Field Notes from Fifty-Five Fruit Street. It has been a long ride since my first communique in August and I am more than ready to move on. I will continue to write and post on social media and my author site, but will shift back to other musings, less about me and more about ANYTHING else! I especially like to write on natural and integrative medicine perspectives on items in the news and well, any other topics that strikes my fancy!

Thank you for being here to read my words, to respond, to hold me in your thoughts and prayers, and for all the hundreds of ways you show love and support. It remains incredible sustenance to know how loved we are and sees us through hard times. I can tap into the river of love and positive thoughts, which is as much a lifeline as all of modern medicine. While I have met amazing people, learned more than I ever wanted about this diagnosis and treatment, made a home in my hospital room, etc., join us as we pivot back to the road of health and the rest of life! As we start to feel spring in the air, Paul joins me in sending you all the best of good health, a peaceful home, and an easy heart. Keep in touch!

With overflowing Gratitude, Love & Light from Middle Street,


PS If you are willing and able, there is ongoing shortage of blood products. You can read here about where and how to donate. Giving blood literally saves lives—like mine!

PPS Some of you have asked if my Field Notes from Fifty-Five Fruit Street writings are compiled in one place. The answer is yes, numbered here in reverse order! And yes, you can share as you like.