#19 Fair Weather Friend

Amy Rothenberg ND
4 min readDec 7, 2023

Wow, it’s been a month since I posted any information about my current state of affairs! That is because I feel most excellent, enjoying time with family and friends, celebrating milestones, completing some home and yard projects, and gleaning so much joy from dancing, making music and art, and taking time in nature. After my first cycle of immunotherapy, my bone marrow biopsy reports zero leukemia cells. And all my blood counts bounced back to normal. This is fantastic news — just what we are looking for. Earlier this week, I move back to Fifty-Five Fruit Street to begin a second, four week cycle of Blintubamab, to lock in these results, before I begin the conditioning process leading up to a stem cell transplant in the new year.

I would not say I am the most centered person you ever met, or the one who is always fully present and calm. That said, I may just be the best fair-weather friend to myself. When I feel good, feel whole, am asymptomatic and full of my usual energy, I am all that. An entire skin grows over the hardships, the distractions, the pain, the overwhelm, and I am fully back. In the past month, with no fanny pack to carry around, my full measure and treasure of vitality, and all kinds of events and opportunities to cherish, it’s as if leukemia has entirely faded, there seems no remnant of illness, and I am happily, back in the saddle.

I like to think this is a kind of resilience, where my body, mind, and spirit come rolling back when given the right ingredients: exercise, good food, love and support, as well as some of the skills I list below. It also helps enormously to have a break from the effective and powerful, yet side-effect causing medications, the stress of being in the hospital, and the constant worry of receiving bad news! This is an essential and helpful vantage point to go into the process of conditioning and transplant. I know the situation will soon deteriorate for a bit from treatment, hopefully I will recall my resilience muscles as I respond to treatment and realize an enduring cure.

We we can all polish up our skill sets that leads to further resilience. After my time in treatment ten years ago, I lectured on this topic to colleagues, really as a way to help side-step burnout in the physician community. Here is a short list of skills that help build resilience, I share them here because I need to…

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Amy Rothenberg ND

American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s 2017 Physician of the Year. Teacher, writer and advocate for healthy living. www.nhcmed.com