Monday, January 19, 2009

Life Imitates Art?

What I'm reading: Winter Prey, by John Sandford
Also, RITA contest entries. Book 1 of 9

I was going to start the week with something light and cheery. Until I got an email from my sister-in-law that gave me a jolt. She's younger than I am, and very health conscious, yet she's already dealt with a form of ovarian cancer. And now she's dealing with something called Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia.

This is what she wrote:

There's no cure, but the good news is that it's not likely to kill me anytime soon. It's an indolent form of lymphoma meaning it's very slow progressing. Basically, it's a chronic cancer that sometimes isn't even treated if there are no symptoms. My oncologist tells me I "could live for years and years" with this. Of course, the operative word there is "could". He didn't specify the other options. I'll question him further on that when I see him in April. In the meantime since my only symptom is cold-induced hives which are being controlled by antihistamines, we're not doing any other treatments. Let me emphasize that I currently feel fine. Hopefully, I will stay that way for a good long time.

I certainly hope so too.

The curious thing is that the manuscript I've just finished deals with the subject of 'orphan diseases' – those that don't have 'enough' people afflicted with them to warrant expensive medical research. While I created a fictional disease in my manuscript, there are thousands of diseases out there that don't get the big bucks for research.

One of our daughters has been active in Team in Training, which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society—by running triathlons. This year, she's coaching as well. I heartily support her efforts. Until this year, she dedicated her racing to an aunt on my side of the family. This year, she'll have another relative to keep in her thoughts.

And, before I go – thanks again to Mark Hussey for sharing peeks into his life as a cop. He'll be back, I promise. I'm considering making him a Friday regular. And tomorrow, my guest will be Eilis Flynn who will be putting those New Years Resolutions into perspective.


Anonymous said...

Terry, I'm so sorry that your sister is dealing with this! However, let me just say, that from her email, she's sounds like a hell of a woman. She will find a way to manage the illness and live a full life!

Terry Odell said...

Jen, thanks. This is definitely the time for the 'glass half full' outloook.

Ray said...

I agree with what Jen said about your sister-in-law. My prayers are with her that she will outlive the disease and be otherwise healthy.

My wife is a ten year survivor of uterine cancer.


Terry Odell said...

Ray, I'm sure she'll be gratified to know she's in your prayers.

Diane Gaston said...

Terry, I once worked with a client who had this kind of cancer..and she was in her 70s!
Hugs to your sister and your whole family.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Diane -- we're definitely hoping she's one of the fortunate ones.

Bill said...

Hi Terry. From clicking your link, it looks like you or your sister-in-law have already discovered Good! It's a terrific place to start. I was diagnosed with WM in 2005, and I feel fine. No treatments, few symptoms. And there are many patients who have had WM for 20+ years. There are no guarantees, but from what your sister-in-law describes, I would think she will be around for a long, long time. I'll send you an e-mail, but meanwhile, browse around at to see what we have to offer. There are support groups around the world, and we have a Patient Education Forum every year. This year it will be in Memphis, TN in late April... details are on the web site. Please encourage your S-I-L to take a deep breath, relax, and prepare to meet new friends on her upcoming adventure with Waldenstrom's. There is help out here!

Take care,

Bill Paul
IWMF Treasurer

Theresa Ragan said...

Sending your sister in law prayers and hugs! I hope she lives a long full life!

And you are reading 9 RITA books?!! Wow!