New Momentum


Whether it’s the whitish-grey curtain (sky) hanging over our frozen city, the medical issues I’ve been grappling with recently, or the latest work aspirations I’ve thrown into the mix…I’ve been feeling pretty darn reflective and melancholy lately.

I don’t think this is a bad thing. Notice I didn’t say “malaise” or “depressed.” I’m actually oddly excited and enthused on top of everything. Let me provide some context.

I have a blood disorder called Essential Thrombocytosis. If you’re a regular PD reader, you’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 2009…even ran a story line about it in 2010 (here’s the blog post). 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. I’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. That’s exactly what happened this week. As far as side effects go, I think I finally have it under control, so that’s a relief. In a few weeks I’ll see if the meds are doing what they’re supposed to.

In the meantime, I’m embarking on some new side work endeavors — which I won’t reveal in case they don’t pan out (c’mon, I’m a little superstitious). As with all new things, this means I’m excited, enthused, nervous, worried, and fearful at once. It also requires a fair amount of research, so throw “consumed” in the mix. It’s amazing I haven’t added a new medicinal cocktail to my regimen:


The reason all this isn’t bad is because I’m starting to feel, well, repurposed.  It’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 daughter’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, I’ve come to terms with something about myself:

I hate inertia.

I like momentum. I like new challenges. I’m even starting to like the excitement of the unknown. I’ve always been ambitious, but I thought once I hit my stride in my field, I’d relax a little. Boy, was I wrong.

What I actually get is bored.

So that is why, dear readers, I’m happy to embrace this period of reflection and even the melancholy wake-up call of a blood disorder. This is why I’m aiming to try new things (alongside planning the next Bat Mitzvah – hey, I didn’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.





5 thoughts on “New Momentum

  1. Hi Terri,
    I emailed you back in March 2010 after reading your comic strip where you revealed the diagnosis of your blood issue. The newspaper Fort Worth Star Telegram no longer publishes your comic strip to my dismay. Anyway I was cleaning out my email history and found the email exchange. So I logged on to your website and just read your entry today.
    I went to MD Anderson to have a second opinion to my blood diagnosis – CLL in 2010. After their chemo regime the cancer is in remission. It is 4 years later and all is clear in that regard so far!
    By coincidence my spouse battles a blood cancer of mylofibrocis. She has received excellent care and control of the disease with their Leukemia physician group. It is not gone but under control.
    If you have the means to visit Mayo or MD Anderson, they are the front runners in the blood diseases in our opinion. You have to be treated by the specialists who are ‘interested’ in the research of your particular cancer.
    So don’t dispair and know you have fans that “know how you feel”!!
    All the best!!

    • Yes, I do remember. I’m glad you and your spouse are doing well! I’ll file this for reference — you are not the first to mention seeing the frontrunner specialists. I’ve been in touch with so many readers who share MPN stories and have offered great advice, and I’m really thankful. Take care and continued good health!

  2. Hope the meds work well for you! I was just diagnosed a few months ago, and for the moment am taking just a baby aspirin a day. I know my numbers have been steadily rising though* so I’m sure it’s just a question of time till I have to try something stronger 🙁
    * I have a couple of years’ worth of blood test results and was annoyed to find out that my platelets have been high for a long time and no one noticed / bothered to say anything until I was headed for surgery this spring!

  3. Some day there will be a monoclonal antibody available to target megakaryocytes, with dose adjustable to get a goldilocks result. It’s grim to have to wait for that, but at least there are treatments available in the meantime. As they say in Wisconsin, Molotov!

  4. Dear,Teri Libenson i just finish your book ” Invisible Emmie it was a good book because i’m n 5th grade so when i read your book it can kinda help me got me ready for 7th grade and 6th grade you read this book. what i really want to know is there going to be another book about this? i’m glade that she made some new friends.

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