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Nuances of a New Normal (1 of 7)

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By David Weinstein

We’re so thankful and honored to present the following seven part blog series. David Weinstein shares his heart, grit, soul and bone marrow transplant journey with us as we roll out this series, once a month, here in our E-nnouncement newsletter, starting this month. Each blog post will inspire you regardless of where you are on your journey. So sit back and feel the sun on YOUR face as you soak up this very special series. Thank you David. You are a gift to this world.

Before the Beginning of My Transplant Journey

David, seen above taking in the endless colors and smells and so grateful to see them.

I was an exceptionally active person, physically. A typical weekday would begin with a six- or seven-mile run at 5 a.m., followed by a gym workout before coming home to eat and shower; then I went to work. It is certainly safe to say that the running was obsessive because I did it no less than six days a week, regardless of weather, and I felt noticeably disconnected when I did not run.

At some point in early 2004, I decided to enhance my exercise routine to include a lot of weights and resistance training. The result was that I was outgrowing my clothes and eating constantly, in healthy ways, to keep the caloric intake balanced. 

In the fall of 2006, I started to notice that I was feeling tired early in the day, with a depth of fatigue that was completely unfamiliar. At first it was subtle and inconsistent; but over a few months, the wall of exhaustion would appear very early in the afternoon. Often, I would stop working by 1 p.m. or so. Around that time, I found that I was losing the ability to maintain sufficient airflow while running. No matter how hard I breathed, I felt an absence of oxygen being absorbed. I started walking home from my runs, cutting them short; something I had never done before. 

Unwilling to consider even looking at any health problem as a cause, I simply decided that I was too active and needed more rest. Obviously, this was completely true, but was due to more specific reasons and causes than I realized.

I remember one afternoon coming home from work early again, sitting on a couch watching TV and nodding off at 2 p.m., thinking that consulting with a nutritionist would be my next step. Of course, I’m in great physical shape so my body must not be getting enough of the right kinds of fuel. That had to be the problem and the implied solution.

Most of what I just described was hidden in varying levels of denial. The science that preceded my being diagnosed with Biphenotypic AML/ALL was invisible to me when it was taking form, because I was unwilling to accept any explanation that was not related to what I believed was happening. It wasn’t until I was well into treatment that I reflected on the previous few years to see how earlier lifestyle choices and activities may have played a part in my denial and helped delay recognition. It is vividly clear that in this situation, as many might agree, an obsessive behavior can act as an opaque screen that blocks the truth and reality within the circumstance. That is a learning opportunity, if there ever was one. 

At some point in the next couple of months, I had the appointment with my internist to confirm this theory and receive the instructions needed for the solution. I had absolutely no clue what she was about to discover. It was at that appointment for the “standard annual physical” when my blood work was completed, alerting the doctor and me to how sick I was. I remember her telling me on the phone as she tried to convince me to prepare to be treated for a dangerous disease, “Your healthy white blood cell (WBC) count should read around 3,000 to 4,000 but it shows 272,000 today. You shouldn’t even be awake or on this call.”

So, that was the very early stage of being in acceptance rather than remaining in full denial.

David, seen below enjoying his passion in creating ceramics.

Next blog in July – Full diagnosis and a recipe for survival.

Editor’s Note: If you would like to reach out to David after reading this blog, you may contact him at Daweinstein@sbcglobal.net

To view David’s ceramic work, click here.

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