When I began writing this blog more than eight months ago, I expected my share of ugly responses. People who bother to write generally are angry, I figured, and there is the inviting anonymity of the web, where anyone can breathe fire with no accountability. Maybe that saves on therapy bills.
My prediction was wrong. Of course. Individuals have been thoughtful and kind. I live with a woman who often thinks my real problem is that I am dealing with a loose screw. Readers have spared me such critical comments, and Meredith just likes to jerk my chain. I am uncomfortable, though, when readers thank me so hard and often. The clot was a huge bump in the road, but no more than others have endured.
Please allow me to clarify a point. I am not brave, and I am no hero. As with most of us, I am but a survivor. There is no red badge of courage. There are no medals or merit badges handed out for coping with serious sickness. Having a good life is its own reward. My participation in the stem cell clinical trial is not courageous. It is a wonderful opportunity. I understood the possible benefits. It was a genuine no- brainer.
I am humbled by the rich history of individuals before me, who really did demonstrate bravery in far riskier trials. “Of course, no clinical trial is one hundred percent safe,” according to a Discovery web site. “ There always is a risk that the prescribed treatment may not work or even worse, that it can lead to serious health problems or even death.”
I had friends perish in NIH trials for cancer drugs. They were terminally ill and understood the risks. This stem cell clinical trials uses autologous (our own) cells and has a very different risk profile. Meredith and I weighed the risks and went forward with no hesitation. No heroes in this house.
I am just a goofy guy who puts one foot in front of the other each day and does the best he can. I dare say that would describe just about all of us. I have said many times that I am not a victim. Well, neither am I a hero. I grabbed an extraordinary opportunity to perhaps have a better life. I will survive, I am sure. Will I flourish? I will let you know.