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6 months

January 6, 2013

It has been 6 months to the day, July 6, that I received my bone marrow transplant.  In retrospect, I’ve done OK.  Sure there have been some bumps but all in all, not bad.  Thank God for selective memory.  I just came back from a routine visit at COH and as always, seeing friends there is really nice.  My doctor implied that she is satisfied with my progress.  I say implied because she tends to play her cards close to her chest.  She doesn’t talk a lot nor speculate on the future, one day at a time.  As I was checking out, I saw she had written down a diagnosis of GVHD, graft versus host disease.  I am having some aches and pains especially in my hands but I’ve written that off to the cold wet weather.  Also, my skin is dry and itchy with a hint of a rash but likewise, I get stuff like that in this weather.  I’m not so sure that she agrees with me but I’m also not to enthusiastic about looking for trouble so like most people, I’ll just close my eyes.  Even if these are GVHD manifestations, they’re not slowing me down.  I ain’t giving in to terrorism.

She did not recommend any changes.  I’m still on the same medications and she didn’t want to taper the immune suppressant drugs which was a bit disappointing to me.  I’m scheduled for another bone marrow biopsy 2/26.  As aways, I came in with a list of questions and I’d say I came out with 60% no and 40% yes.  I still can’t fly or take a Spanish class at the local community college.  She is concerned about all the flu and other viruses that are so rampant.  She did say I can drink our home filtered well water.  Inch by inch we’re pushing the limits.

I’ve been a bit hyper and absurdly focused about tending to house maintenance issues and the yard.  Initially I convinced myself that I was doing all of this for my son’s upcoming wedding which will be at our house.  But now I realize that there is a huge hole in my life since I’m not working as a doctor.  Indeed, the house and yard do need work but there is only so much “sense of purpose” that I can get from these activities.  Not a day goes by that I don’t ask for help to obtain my soul’s potential.  I hope I’ll be able to return to work being a doctor but it’s still to early to make plans in that direction. So for now, I’ll enjoy leisurely waking up in the morning, having the freedom to move at a slower pace, and smell the roses


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  1. Steve Robbins permalink

    Happy New Year. Sounds like you are making good progress.

  2. permalink

    Hi, Jim. We do have a SJ Rep play on the 12th, so plan on dinner. We might have friends joining us also, Who’s getting married? I’m guessing Sam. Whoa, congratulations!!!

  3. alexis permalink

    you seem like you are making excellent progress. I agree on what your doctor said- take it one day at a time

  4. Lee & Gwynn permalink

    It’s wonderful you can count some significant gains at the six month mark and equally nice that you can stare down some of the negatives. Mind over matter works! We hope you get back to your doctoring soon. You are the best. Lee & Gwynn

  5. Julie Dresner permalink

    happy 6-month birthday

  6. susan garfield permalink

    Congratulations on Sam. Logan’s getting married in July. Hope to see you in February maybe. Happy New Year to you and Clair. xoxo

  7. Linda Bobbitt permalink

    Happy New Year Dr. Engelman. I am sure this year will be nothing but good for you. We sure do miss you and can’t wait until you get back to being what God made you to be the best doctor ever. Sounds like your progress is coming along just great. One day at a time, that is such good advise. We all need to remember that. Miss you and congrats. on your son’s upcoming wedding. Dennis and Linda

  8. Jimmie Wood permalink

    Happy New Year doc! Hope to see ya at an Ungourmet Klub dinner in ’13!

    Peace n’ Love

    Jimmie n’ Laura

  9. Marc yellin permalink

    Glad things are slowly getting better. Sorry I couldn’t take your call yesterday but am off today and tomorrow (except for AM meetings) and will call you…or you call me….same numbers as always. Talk soon, buddy!

  10. Read the article. I do smell a hint of Denial and I ain’t talking about the river, I’m not talking about the symtoms so much as the “slowing down part” but you know that and I’m still your number one fan. love cw (Notice I did not put this in your comments)


  11. Dante brown permalink

    So sorry Mike and Gaby had colds and we couldn’t see you in L.A. on Friday, Jim. Congrats Big Time on hitting the 6 month mark and I hope you got lots of gardening ideas from the Huntington Gardens. Definitely let us know when you are back on L.A. and we will be back up north in April and will try to visit then also. Much love and congrats to Sammy! Dante and Mike

  12. Pancho Rodriguez permalink

    Dr Engelman,
    It is good to know that” for the shape you’re in you are in pretty good Shape”. That is a medical prognosis that my doctor gave me and I have waited years to reciprocate.
    If you need a sense of purpose I could use a retaining wall or new deck.
    If not at least , get well,

  13. Chip Goldeen permalink


    Happy New Year—I’m sure you are glad 2012 is done and 2013 is looking much better! When you can go around crowds, call me and I will take you to a Santa Cruz Warriors basketball game. They are really fun to watch. Whitney, my oldest daughter, and I went to their game last night and watched them win their 6th consecutive home game. Go Warriors!


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