Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Now that I have passed the one year mark, I've wondered if I should continue to title my posts by the number of days since my transplant or simply come up with other headings. I'm not sure, so I'm leaving this one blank for now.

Life is going pretty well. I still have a lingering cough, but I feel fine.

Much of the past two weekends has been spent in front of the shredder interspersed by periods of enjoying college and NFL football on TV. After tarrying for way too long, I had to clean and reorganize my room. Too much clutter and old papers had accumulated over the years and increasingly, I was running out of space for new documents. Many of my old medical bills and literature, which I didn't need any longer, as well as school-related documents just had to go. I also had a number of unused medical supplies, such as syringes, sanitary wipes, and dressing kits, left over from my transplant that I didn't need anymore. Honestly, this cleanup was long over due but I'm glad I finally got around to it.

Following the disappointment surrounding my trip, without much thought I basically gave up on the exercise program that I had been following in preparation for my strenous trek westward. Then, not surprisingly, I gained a few unsightly pounds. About two weeks ago, however, I realized that something had to change. Besides buttressing my self-confidence, I really needed to shed this little bit of unhealthy extra weight. (With a family history of diabetes, I'm well aware of the increased risk posed by more weight, especially abdominal fat.) My body has been through too much for me to just let myself go. Moreover, I've always been physically active, so I knew that the way I looked, the way I felt wasn't right. It wasn't me. I needed to get back on track. I'm a strong believer that many times our appearance is a reflection of how we feel at a particular moment in time. I wasn't feeling particularly great about myself and I understood this. I needed to shake things up and so, I did. Like in the past, I always feel so much better and stronger after working out. Another benefit of exercising is that it seems to help alleviate my feet's achiness, which is due to the past tapering of the Tacrolimus. Maintaining an exercise routine is an important element in my effort to forumlate a more organized day-to-day schedule.

The deadline to maintain my sperm cyropreservation storage (which I've have had since prior to my autologous transplant in 2005) is coming up very soon and just in the past two days or so, I've wondered a bit about its necessity. In part because of money but due also to a sense that the trajectory of my health is on the uptick one year since transplantation, I've given this topic more attention than I have in a long time. I know that I can take a test to find out the health of my sperm, which might not be a bad idea one year post-transplant even though I have no earnest designs for fatherhood in the foreseeable future. Since 2003, I've received a lot of treatments and I remember being told that infertility after the allo was very likely. I was told the same thing before my auto as well. Also, with my older sister's birth defects, part of me has for a long time been wary of natural conception anyway. At the same time, I've considered the maintenance of the storage very important since it hopefully keeps more options open in the future. I didn't think to ask Dr. C-M about this topic at last week's appointment, but was reminded when I received the recent storage invoice. As a result, I called his office this morning and was told by one of his nurses that he thought it best I keep the yearly storage. I agree. Though costly, again I do so with the hope that it will keep more options on the table in the future. Without the generous donations of family, friends, and strangers to my transplant assistance fund, it's almost impossible that I'd be able to maintain these storage payments not to mention continuing my pyschotherapy sessions with Dr. Roberts.

I've been racing through a number of books. After completing The Island at the Center of the World a few weeks ago, I have since gone through The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria, The Return of History and the End of Dreams by Robert Kagan, and Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama. I just started the classic American novel, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, which my sister gave me as a gift many months ago. While finishing Obama's memoir, my sister jokingly expressed her displeasure that I hadn't read her book yet. So, I'm reading Ellison now.

I continue to work on the essay for The New York Times, though the writing process has been slower than I would like. The photography continues. In fact, I've been on a frenzied number of shoots during the past week. I've been up before dawn in the hope of capturing spectacular sunrises over the Harlem River and have tried to catch the remaining sunsets over Yankee Stadium in the evening before it closes its doors on Sunday. Some shoots have been successful, others not so but they've been enjoyable and continue to serve as a refreshing outlet for me. Because of my recent computer problems I haven't had the opportunity to post any of my recent photographs, but once things are back to normal, I hope to share some of them.

Speaking of photographing the city's lesser-known bridges, there was a great article in yesterday's NYT related to this very topic: Honors for Bridges Many Take for Granted. Very, very cool. Reading this article, I learned about the New York City Bridge Centennial Commission whose mission it is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of six NYC bridges. Two of these, the 207th Street-University Heights and Madison Avenue Bridges, are amongst the Harlem River spans that I have worked to capture.

2 Comments:

Comment Blogger Kevin said...

I asked my doctors about continuing cryopreservation too, and got a similar answer: "if already you've got some healthy little wrigglers on ice, why take your chances after having that much chemo?" they said, essentially. But they don't have to pay the bills, after having paid so many already....I just signed up for another year, but I think this will be a perennial question.

10:14 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Yeah, you're right about it being a perennial question, Kevin.

BTW, I love the phrase "wrigglers on ice." LOL :D

10:11 PM  

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