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No news is good news, and I’ve had no news for the past couple of months. My M-protein level remains stable, which means the multiple myeloma is under control for the time being. I saw my oncologist today, and he seemed pretty happy with all my other levels too.

But here’s an odd thing. One of the bad side effects of chemotherapy is that it compromises your immune system. I was told early on that the key blood test to keep track of was the absolute level of neutrophils. My first doctor thought that anything under 2000 was dangerous, and put me on a weird diet that I later found out was ridiculous. That’s because another doctor told me that, really, anything over 1500 was fine. Later, yet another doctor told me that 1000 marked the danger zone. This month, I was at about 1100, so I asked my oncologist if this was a problem. He said no, everything was OK as long as it stayed above 500.

I’m beginning to think I’m the butt of a very long-winded practical joke. Eventually I’ll get down to 550, and some yet newer doctor will tell me not to worry unless it gets below the square root of pi. In the meantime, don’t sneeze on me, OK?1

1Not that I’d want you to sneeze on me anyway. This is just some added incentive.

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what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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