February 17, 2020

Two weeks ago I had my every other month visit to Mt. Sinai. I was very pleased to learn that I am progressing as I should. I can be a bit more liberal with eating certain foods. Pastrami is now on the approved list! My taste buds are a slight bit different, but I look forward to eating a deli sandwich soon. My blood counts are about the same as last time and that is good. I have gained a few pounds but I am still lighter than I was before the transplant. Dr. Keyzner said it was a positive sign since the body will not gain weight until it is closer to becoming normal. I received three immunizations, but still have more to come. One of the best parts of the visit was feeling it was “old home week.” In the hallway we saw several of the nurse practitioners who have guided us through the past year and a half. One is pregnant and another had a baby some months ago. That is in addition to two other of our doctors’ nurses who had babies not long after I began going to Mt. Sinai. Signs of life are a welcome matter at the Cancer Treatment Center. We ran into my social worker as well as the friendly man who makes our appointments. They were all pleased to see my progress. We will be continuing our every other month schedule at Mt. Sinai.

There is even more good news, our son Gabe is now engaged to Dr. Marina Arutyunyan. Rhonda and I are thrilled. You may have met her at the Gala at the synagogue where when I was honored a year and a half ago. They are getting married in New York in April. After the wedding they will honeymoon in Italy and Israel.

I have drafted two letters to Congressman Gottheimer in my role as an Ambassador for Be the Match. One thanks him for his support of legislation that protects access to bone marrow transplants for all patients. When I was first diagnosed with myelofibrosis, Medicare did not have a clear policy whether or not it would fund bone marrow transplants. Fortunately that has changed. I also have a letter for the Congressman about pending legislation to continue funding research looking for treatments for blood cancers. I hope to deliver the letters in person during the Congressional break. I am still working on the publicity for the bone marrow registry event at the Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Congregation B’nai Israel, Sunday morning, March 1st from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM. If you are under the age of 45, please come to have your cheek swabbed, be added to the list of potential bone marrow donors and possibly save a life.

All else is calm. I am continuing to exercise three or four times a week at the local Retro Fitness, spending an hour on the treadmill each time. I have watched three of the four seasons of the old HBO series The Wire now on Amazon Prime. I teach my Tuesday class at the synagogue and work on the New York Times crossword puzzle. They become increasingly difficult as the week goes by. The ones on Monday and Tuesday are easy, Wednesday is a bit challenging and for the rest of the week, I have a “Roth rule.”  If I am stuck, “Auto check” putting a red line through an incorrect letter when doing the puzzle on your iPad, is perfectly acceptable from Wednesday to Sunday. Why not?

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