This morning I was tidying up my bookcase when I came across my 2006 calendar…and noticed that I began taking curcumin on January 16th 2006. Wow. That was three years PLUS 2 days ago. Oh bother, I missed my third year curcumin anniversary by two days! How did that happen?
Going through the calendar reminded me of all the things that happened to me in 2006. In addition to “discovering” curcumin, I became a permanent citizen of Italy. So, in many ways, 2006 was a magnificent year. But in others, it was not so…magnificent.
My next door neighbour, a friendly, cheerful and kind man in his early 50s, had been diagnosed in the spring of 2005 with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). He began doing chemotherapy straight away, within a week or so of his diagnosis. That summer, he almost died not once but twice…not from the leukemia but from a toxic reaction to the drugs. On both occasions, his wife was told that he wouldn’t make it through the night. But make it he did…each time.
In the fall, his doctors surprisingly (from my current viewpoint) recommended that he go ahead and have an allogeneic stem cell transplant. He agreed. A donor was found in Germany, and the transplant took place in late January of 2005 or early February of 2006. I remember that he was still home when I told him about curcumin. He was interested and said he might consider taking it after the transplant.
That never happened.
He had a toxic reaction to one of the anti-rejection drugs, cyclosporine, as I recall. I will spare you the details of his long agony. During that dreadful period, I spent a lot of time with his family, trying to be cheerful and encouraging. I didn’t go visit him in the hospital (only his wife and children were allowed to see him under extremely restricted circumstances), but I remember that he phoned me on one of his rare “good” days. That was our last conversation.
He died on April 19th, 2006. Exactly one month later, on May 19th, I came down with pleurisy (I came close to dying, myself…took me months to recover).
Looking back, 2006 was not an easy year. But I survived. And I found curcumin. I just wish that Massimo were here, too…taking curcumin and helping me with my research (he was a biologist, an enthusiastic plant expert…)…eh, today’s post brings back painful memories.
To end on a more cheerful note…on this anniversary, a special note of gratitude goes to Prof. Bharat Aggarwal who works at the MD Anderson Cancer Research Center in Texas. Without his encouragement, I might not have tried the amazing yellow-orange powder…