Three years ago this month I was diagnosed with chronic mylogenous leukemia (CML). What followed was a long journey involving chemotherapy, radiation, boat-loads of drugs, a bone marrow transplant and recovery. It required sacrifices like losing what little hair I had left, not being able to drink or be in crowded places with my friends, and having to stop working for a year and a half while undergoing treatment.
There was one sacrifice in particular, however, that always stuck in my craw. I had to stop eating grapefruit. I guess grapefruit interferes with a lot of different drugs so I was told to avoid it.
Earlier this week I was back at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto for my regular 3-month blood work and checkup. Since the transplant, the no-grapefruit drug in question that I’ve been taking is a drug called Gleevec. It’s typically used to treat CML patients but is also given to post-transplant patients for a couple years to help reduce the risk of rejection or relapse.
Well, it’s been a couple years, my sexy new euro-stem cells are functioning well, and I’ve been giving the green light to stop taking the drug.
I celebrated this milestone by stopping by the grocery store and picking up a big bag of grapefruits. I was positively giddy and I’m sure the grocer thought I was a bit off as I giggled my way through the produce section in the Georgetown supermarket.
I don’t care. It was delicious.
Milestones aren’t always huge events with a lot of fanfare. Often they’re a lot simpler. Like my eyebrows growing back, having my first beer since getting sick, or eating a grapefruit again with my breakfast. As unexciting as they may appear, I think it’s important to identify and appreciate these little milestones, especially during the long journeys that seem to be endless. Celebrating the simple milestones along the way is a great way to keep your spirits up and appreciate the progress you are making.
Eat the tastiest grapefruit EVER? Check.
Duane Elgin, author of “Voluntary Simplicity”, talked about the “invisible wealth of experiential riches.” My “I’ve Never Club” is inspired by this idea and chronicles my reflections on the novel things I’ve done recently.
Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is the author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.