Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and loved ones.  I’m still alive and kicking.  Thanks to high~dose steroids, eltrombopag, and a new diet and exercise program, my platelet count has slowly climbed from zero in late November to 52k as of this week.  That’s still short of the normal levels of 140k to 440k but it’s a start.  At least now I will not “bleed out” if I cut myself or bump my head.

To combat the effects of the steroids, including high blood sugar levels that pushed me into the borderline diabetic range, I have switched to a strict anti-inflammatory diet and a new exercise program.  I can’t control the medications I’m taking (between 29 and 31 pills per day). That’s a decision best left to the doctors.  I can, however, control my diet and exercise which are the other two legs on the “good health” triad.

My new diet is heavy on fresh vegetables (nature’s chemotherapy), fruit, and whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, and a heaping tablespoon of flax seed meal with my daily bowl of breakfast oatmeal.  I have cut out dairy, eggs, and almost all meat.  I have not gone hard-core vegan.  I still get the urge to have a burger or steak but limit myself to one “cheat meal” per week.

I also walk five to seven miles per day.  I can thank Mary Pat for that.  She will not let me just sit on the sofa reading a book or watching TV.  She pushes me to get out an walk two to three times a day and walks with me measuring my distance with a phone app.  Saint Mary is doing her part to keep me going.

The results have been impressive.  In just two weeks I went from borderline diabetic to a low normal blood sugar level.  That’s really hard to do on high-dose prednisone.  I’ve also lost 10 pounds which I’m told is also hard to do on steroids.

For all of you out there who are fighting leukemia, going through a stem cell transplant, or dealing with an autoimmune attack from your new immune system like ITP, all I can say is keep fighting.  You can beat the odds.  So far I’ve “cheated the casino” in the leukemia lottery and I plan to keep on doing so.  Onward and upwards folks.  Have a happy and healthy New Year.