Since several people wanted to know the history of all this, here it is.
I was first diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in September 2000 during a pre-employment physical exam. My white blood cell count was abnormally high at around 85,000. The normal range is between 4,000 to 10,000. I should clarify…these numbers are per a certain quantity of blood, not total. I’m not sure what the quantity is. At the advice of my doctor at the time, I began chemotherapy a week later. My chemo cycle was three days in a row, then off for about three weeks. Sometimes there would be four to six weeks in between cycles because my white blood cell count was so low that it wasn’t safe to repeat the chemo yet. When a person’s white blood cell count is low, the immune system is compromised and there is a high risk of infection. I finished six cycles of chemo by around April 2001.
During those first several months, family and friends were very concerned and interested in learning a lot about my disease. I, on the other hand, wasn’t as detail-oriented, and didn’t feel a need to learn all I could. When all the questions from everyone came, I became overwhelmed with trying to answer (or not!). The worst part was having to answer the same questions repeatedly but to different people. Finally, I wised up and started sending email updates to a small group of family and friends whenever something happened. At first, it was just doctor visits to check on my status every three months. I would update everyone with how I was doing after every visit. Over the next few years, my email list grew to over 100 people and became difficult to manage. That’s when I thought it would be better to do a website instead of sending out emails. This blog was created in March 2007, and all the old emails have been posted in chronological order. So, when you read something here about an email list, that’s what I’m referring to. Yes, I’m ending that sentence with a preposition. Now, on to the secret behind the name…
When I was at juco, I took an Art History class. Despite my part-time job at a local independent pharmacy, I was, um, frugal. Wow, it sure is easy to do links on this blog thing. But I digress…back to my cheapskate ways. I decided not to buy the book for the class because after the first couple of weeks, it seemed like we didn’t use it much. There was also a copy available at the campus library. Before the tests, we would have a slide show of the various sculptures, architecture, paintings, etc. that the professor covered since the last test, and I took detailed notes on each slide. I was somehow able to borrow the professor’s book to study. My friend Eric quizzed me by showing me the pictures in the book and I had to respond with the piece’s name, date, and culture (Roman, Greek, Egyptian, etc.). One of the most memorable sculptures was the Kritios Boy, for the simple reason that he was missing a leg.
Over the next several years, we used the Kritios name in front of just about everything that was missing a major part, including a bird statue missing its head that we found next to a dumpster (don’t ask….long story). That’s right…Kritios Bird! This fine piece of modern art is now on our mantel at home.
How is this relevant? In a strange way, I associate myself with Kritios Boy, because I often feel that I am less than whole because of this disease. Not to get all Freud-like on everyone, but there’s definitely some emotional and spiritual repercussions associated with my physical condition. Most of you know the challenges Jen and I have been through in the past several years, so I’ll just leave it at that for now. Suffice it to say that when Sean V. suggested kritiosboy.com, I thought it very appropriate to insert my name and call it a website. While I was at Stanford last year, I met another Christian patient who was going through the same transplant process, and we had a few discussions about the spiritual side of the process. He said something that I had to add here: Even though I feel that I am less than whole, I am made complete through my salvation in Christ.
So, welcome to my site, and you’re welcome for me not filling your email inboxes any more with my updates! I’ve posted all the old emails, so the newer folks can read the history from the start. Pictures will be up whenever I get around to it.