The World CLL Day Is Today

 In Health, pensioners

It is the 1st September and world CLL day. You might never have heard of it nor understand what it means. I, meanwhile, am a member of this unique club, albeit not a membership I ever desired. CLL means Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia, a blood cancer. It sneaks up on us oldies, more men than women. You simply take a routine blood test and there it is, out of hiding. It is incurable but treatments exist to control it, should I ever need them. However, I now have a permanent bloody companion. I take it with me everywhere. I talk to it and a dilemma arises. Am I feeling tired because I am 75 and knackered? Or is because the CLL has decided to flare up, to impose itself?

Anxiety

When you are diagnosed, as I was in 2018, the NHS does a very sophisticated test on your personal version of the disease. Many people become very upset when given their diagnosis. A few, like me, are told, ‘If I had to have cancer, then yours is the best one to have’. With this dubious good news, I jumped on my bike at Bournemouth Hospital and rode home. There, I told Ann that there were now three of us in our marriage and sadly, I’m rather closer to my bloody companion than to her. With my less aggressive form, I was put on ‘watch and wait’, or, to many, watch and worry. However, I don’t think it bothered me too much. I did, though, have what you might call negative dreams from that day forward. I still have these three years later.

The World CLL Day

Cancer is always with us humans. We are complex creatures, a mass of cells. One copy goes wrong and you have cancer. I don’t want to vilify it. Neither do I want to fight it, which would be absurd. If you assume that by 75 years of age something will fail then I am doing okay. I am not in a wheelchair and no stroke or heart issue has immobilized me. Neither am I in need of a care home. However, my consultant told me to exercise as much as I can. That, I can tell you, was music to my ears. Now, I realise that my fitness has been a boon. The thin, fit ones seem to hold off illness and respond better to treatment. Indeed, I may never need treatment and some other problem will take pride of place on my death certificate.

Moment in time

Meanwhile, I hope to see the bee orchid next year. With luck, I will be together with Ann and my bloody companion. All four of us inhabiting our desired place in this amazing world. Wordsworth would call that a moment in time.

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