November 24th, 2014
by Terri Libenson
Whether itâ€™s the whitish-grey curtain (sky) hanging over our frozen city, the medical issues Iâ€™ve been grappling with recently, or the latest work aspirations Iâ€™ve thrown into the mixâ€¦Iâ€™ve been feeling pretty darn reflective and melancholy lately.
I donâ€™t think this is a bad thing. Notice I didnâ€™t say â€œmalaiseâ€ or â€œdepressed.â€ Iâ€™m actually oddly excited and enthused on top of everything. Let me provide some context.
I have a blood disorder called Essential Thrombocytosis. If youâ€™re a regular PD reader, youâ€™ve probably noticed a strip or two referencing this. It basically means that my bone marrow produces too many platelets (I liken it to gooey cake batter). Anyway, I was diagnosed with ET in 2009â€¦even ran a story line about it in 2010 (here’s the blog post).Â My only symptoms were migraines and occasional fatigue, which I thankfully got under control. My lone treatment was a daily baby aspirin to keep my blood thinned.
Unfortunately, my platelet count has been rising, slowly and steadily, over the past 5 years. When the count reaches a certain level, more aggressive medication is recommended. Iâ€™ve finally crossed that threshold, and last week I started taking meds to lower the count.
I knew there could be side effects. And dosage experiments. And even a mental slump as the reality of this disease hits home. Thatâ€™s exactly what happened this week. As far as side effects go, I think I finally have it under control, so thatâ€™s a relief. In a few weeks Iâ€™ll see if the meds are doing what theyâ€™re supposed to.
In the meantime, Iâ€™m embarking on some new side work endeavors — which I wonâ€™t reveal in case they donâ€™t pan out (câ€™mon, Iâ€™m a little superstitious). As with all new things, this means Iâ€™m excited, enthused, nervous, worried, and fearful at once. It also requires a fair amount of research, so throw â€œconsumedâ€ in the mix. It’s amazing I haven’t added a new medicinal cocktail to my regimen:
The reason all this isnâ€™t bad is because Iâ€™m starting to feel, well, repurposed. Â Itâ€™s funny. So much has happened in my professional life this past decade, I kept telling everyone I needed a break. Last year, after the extensive planning of my daughterâ€™s Bat Mitzvah, I told everyone I needed a break. After years of publishing books, doing signings, presenting, and meeting deadlines, I told everyone I needed a break.
This month, after all the dust settled, after some reflecting and talking with colleagues, and looking into the uncharted future, Iâ€™ve come to terms with something about myself:
I hate inertia.
I like momentum. I like new challenges. Iâ€™m even starting to like the excitement of the unknown. Iâ€™ve always been ambitious, but I thought once I hit my stride in my field, Iâ€™d relax a little. Boy, was I wrong.
What I actually get is bored.
So that is why, dear readers, Iâ€™m happy to embrace this period of reflection and even the melancholy wake-up call of a blood disorder. This is why Iâ€™m aiming to try new things (alongside planning the next Bat Mitzvah â€“ hey, I didnâ€™t say I was sane). I don’t think it’s an accident that new aspirations have collided with a physical stumbling block. I think things happen for a reason.
So wish me luck. And happy adventures.
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