You know that tired old cliché – it never rains, but it pours? I was thinking about that a while ago, when England was trying very hard not to have a summer. The days weren’t cold, but they were cloudy and grey. There was this mean little drizzle which kept everything just a bit damp and a tiny bit dismal, and which I found irritating in the extreme.
Why - I muttered crossly to myself - doesn’t it just monsoon down in torrents, with the obligatory eardrum-splitting claps of thunder and dazzling flashes of lightening as if it really means business, y’know?
Then the empty clouds can disperse having done their job properly and allow the sun to have a turn at making everything gleam and steam and shine again.
So much for my silly rantings – it did indeed pour, but it most certainly wasn’t what I had wished for. See, the problem is that about a year ago I had a blood test to determine whether I had a tropical, water-borne disease called bilharzia. (It was possible I could have picked it up while swimming in the Nile (below) or sailing on Lake Victoria.)
They found no indication of that, but they discovered instead that I have a disease called myeloma. Here’s the rub - normally new cells are produced to replace old, worn-out cells in an orderly, controlled way. However, in myeloma the process gets out of control and large numbers of abnormal plasma cells – myeloma cells – are produced. These fill up the bone marrow and interfere with production of normal white cells, red cells and platelets. The myeloma cells usually produce a large amount of one type of abnormal antibody called paraprotein. This paraprotein cannot fight infection effectively and often reduces the production of normal antibodies.
Mine is still what they refer to as ESMM – early stage multiple myeloma. Research has not as yet made it entirely clear whether it’s better to start chemotherapy right after the diagnosis or to delay the treatment until symptoms become obvious as the disease progresses, so my consultant has decided to wait - mainly because early treatment, although beneficial in some cases, may increase the risk of acute leukaemia. As well as periodic blood-tests, I have to have regular bone scans or x-rays in order to assess the progression of the disease. It was during a CT scan two weeks ago that the radiologist spotted scarring of the lung tissue and some swollen lymph glands.
And so the storm began! More blood tests, more scans and then finally, on Monday, I had to have a bronchoscopy. After this up close and personal examination of the lungs and lymph glands, it was pronounced that I have something called sarcoidosis - which is a bit like fibrosis. Apparently, it’s not known what causes sarcoidosis. Research is ongoing, but it is believed that it may be caused by something in the environment or it affects people whose immune system does not work properly. The latter is probably the cause of the disease in my particular case. In some instances of sarcoidosis the heart can become enlarged, so to check this I have to go for a echocardiograph tomorrow.
So, what with all that hoogiemaha – and the sale of our house – it really has been pouring these last few weeks - metaphorically speaking, of course! The lesson is, dear bloggy friends, do be careful what you wish for!
I deliberated long and hard about telling y’all about this, but since I’ve not been around in the Blogosphere very much lately, I thought I’d better come clean lest you think I’m just being lazy and/or rude for not having visited your blogs more regularly of late.
I’m really rather a private person, so this ‘confession’ makes me feel all squirmy and acutely, pinkly, embarrassed. Please, please don’t feel you have to tread softly. I just wanted to let you know the reason why sometimes I may disappear from Blogland for short intervals. I've totally come to terms with the disease (after all, I've had a life that many can only dream about - I've been very, very lucky) and I am determined just to keep on keeping on....doing as many of the things I love as is humanly possible!
Through this blog, I’ve met and made friends with some of the most exceptional people ever, and every step of the journey has been above and beyond all expectations. I started the Aerial Armadillo – crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle (get it?) - when I found out that I had myeloma. I wanted a place to record our adventures and expeditions; to document my thoughts and dreams and to log my paintings and photographs so that one day our grandboys can read about the extraordinary life we’ve had….and are still having. And on the way, I met you….and you….and you. So it’s all just marvellously wonderful. Truly, it is.
My next post will be all about The House on the Beach at Blogland Lane – so see y’all then! In the meantime, I’m sending jet-propelled hugs to you all, wherever you may be.