Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Woe Is Me, ‘Til Well Is You.

UPDATE: While there is a 40% population of abnormal cells in Mrs. E.’s bone marrow, the disease has not entered her bloodstream. So, thank you all for your good wishes, prayers and thoughts, they worked. We are in a wait and see mode, with blood tests every six weeks, but no chemotherapy required as of yet. The cold agglutinins are the biggest problem, and this winter will be dicey. But we’ll keep Mrs. E. warm and in the pink. Which rhymes with mink and I hope that’s not what she’s got in mind… .

I wasn’t sure what to call this post, gentle readers. Suffice to say that our easy and elegant life is about to undergo a supreme test.


My most wonderful, delightful, acerbic, funny, phenomenally intelligent, incredibly beautiful wife has joined my indiscriminating bastard of a club. She has CLL.



The good news, according to the boy wonder at Vanderbilt, is that it is curable. We have the cord blood from both children and so have an exact stem cell match. We will be headed for Duke, at the boy wonder’s assurance that they are neck-and-neck with the research and treatment.
This is from a letter Mrs. E. sent to good friends about what we can expect.

Chemo this fall (not sure of the details till Aug. 5th but I shouldn’t lose my hair with this new leukemia-targeted chemo), followed by 5-10 years of remission

Chemo again when the disease returns (and the f***** always does)
followed by 5-10 years of remission

Then, last resort stem cell transplant which can potentially mean a total cure.

We’ve been assured that this is a manageable and curable disease and not a terminal thing — at least not in the short term — and so we’re going will be a bit muddled and busy. I’ll file new articles when I can and hope to distract you (and me!) with the trivial, unimportant and my very vital obsession with living and dressing well — under all circumstances.

Not to impose, but if you are religious, say a little prayer for us please. Many, many thanks to our friends and family here in Richmond and beyond who have rallied and been so supportive in the hours since we announced our predicament.

As The Architect so achingly phrased it: “Woe is me, ’til well is you.”

51 thoughts on “Woe Is Me, ‘Til Well Is You.

  1. I am truly sorry to hear this news. It will test you all sorely, but you will find extraordinary strength in yourselves and in each other. And love. Unbelievable love. My thoughts are with you, and I hope these and those of your friends and family will help sustain you.

  2. Very sorry to hear that. My mother had a stem cell transplant at the Mayo Clinic for a similar condition, and it appears to have been a total cure (guess you never know). Best of luck.

  3. From across a sea, from a faraway continent – Best Wishes for a speedy recovery.

    ~ Aaron (in Australia)

  4. Chris… I am terribly sad to hear this news. Please know that you and Mrs. E&E and the children are in my thoughts and prayers. I am sure you know that there are thousands of people who read your blog and know you and Mrs. E in person who love you and are sending all of their good wishes your way.

    Love always….

  5. Sweet Jesus, I am terribly sorry. I know that great strides have been made in this area, as you stated. All my best to you, your family and your lovely wife.

  6. Godspeed in your journey to recovery. My very best wishes and prayers. Sincerely, Vicki

  7. Dear Chris, I am so sorry to hear this news. Know that your family is in my thoughts and prayers. You have a beautiful and courageous wife and I know she will get through this!

    Art by Karena

  8. Chris-
    So very sorry to hear this news.
    Please know you, your wife and childern will be in my thoughts and prayers as you all battle this terrible disease.
    I will check in with you later to see how I can help.

  9. C.

    You know where I stand on this news and you know that I’m right here my man, if I can do anything in the world for y’all. CLL…if you have to fight a blood malignancy, is one that as you’ve discovered, can be “managed”.

    Love from us.


  10. I am so glad that you shared a picture as I am glad to put a (almost) face to the wonderful impression that I have of Mrs. E. Glad too that you shared her message as it confirms as well that she is a woman of great spirit. It seems this beast has turned up on your doorstep way too often, but I am relieved of the good prognosis. Our prayers, such as they are from heathens like us, are always with you.

  11. Although I read your blog regularly, it’s the first time I write a comment. Because of my poor english, and my inhibitions. But I’d liked to assure you of my best thoughts for you both and my sincere wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

  12. Hello Chris. Bloody hell! From reading the comments of my fellow bloggers, it is evident you are loved, admired and best of all – respected by many. You & your beautiful lady have some hurdles before you but nothing is stronger than family, friends and those who care about you. My thoughts are with you.
    Ian from Downunder.

  13. Chris,

    Best of luck to you and your wife. Being in the biomedical engineering field, I think it is absolutely fantastic that you decided to keep the cord blood from your two children. Granted, you never want to use it, but the simple fact that you have it should give you great peace of mind. It is truly amazing what scientists are able to do with stem cells today, even compared to only 5 years ago.

    Your wife, yourself, and your children will be in all of our thoughts. Please let all of your dear readers know if there is any type of support we can provide.

    All the best,


  14. Dear Mr. C. ,
    I can tell from the photograph that your wife is a lovely lady. Please let me know if I may possibly offer any assistance from the ADG quarter (NOVA).

    All the best,

  15. Chris and Mrs. E,
    You have chosen a pure piece of musical art to convey your emotions and express your pain.
    May all that is good and right be with you and your wife.
    Yours very sincerely,

  16. I have read the comments and would add “hear,hear!” to all of them. I don’t know you, individually or collectively, but regardless the feelings that I have for you and your lovely wife as cyber friends are not diminished by lack of face time. From the deepest recesses of my soul I extend my prayers, knowing with confidence, that you shall ALL survive. May Lord be with you and keep you and lift you up and give you strength in these trying times.

  17. I am very troubled to hear this news. Please know that you all are in my thoughts, I amhoping for the very best outcome.

  18. Sending prayers and love. These are the best and worst of times–may your love grow stronger as recovery takes hold. Mary

  19. A message of love and admiration from “one of the thousands” of blog visitors. Thank God CLL is something the doctors can now treat very successfully, and I suspect that American medicine leads the field at the moment. God go with you all.

  20. Chris,
    I spent a whole day trying to think of the right thing to say, to discover there is no “right” thing.

    Your family is in my prayers and I’m down your way often and will be happy to throw in and help in any way that you need.


  21. My dear Chris….I have been following your blog for many months now and am saddened to hear this recent news this morning. Please know that I lift your wife and the rest of your family up in prayer each day forward. We all rest in the hands of the Almighty…which is the BEST place to be! May God bless and keep you all. We look forward to heartening news as the days pass.

    Most sincerely…

  22. Mr. E,

    Grace, courage, resilience and strength. The cornerstornes of elegance will stand you in good stead. The virtual community you have created will serve as an endless resource in this time of trial; draw from us, as we have drawn from you.
    Yours faithfully,

  23. Of course you are both in my prayers, as I write, and in the future.

    It is helpful that you put the link to the Mayo Clinic in the post. So many of us use Internet for communication and other things, but forget this invaluable source of clear and reliable information about important health concerns and for useful advice. I’ve recommend this to others, and it is surprising that many are not aware of it.

    May the Lord keep you and guide you at this time, and may you be comforted by the support and prayers of your many followers and admirers.

    “Lord, who went about doing good and healing all, we ask you to bless those who are sick. Give them courage, strength, and endurance in discomfort. Let them recover their health, so that, they may joyfully praise you. Amen.”

  24. It is no imposition whatsoever to offer up a prayer – one of thousdands you will receive, I am sure. This is one of my favorites from the ’79 Book of Common Prayer.

    Strengthen your servant, O God, to do what she has to do and bear what she has to bear; that, accepting your healing gifts through the skill of physicians and nurses, she may be restored to the world with a thankful heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  25. Yes, I will pray for both you and your wife. Prayer does make a difference, and I’m glad you asked for it. I’m so sorry you all are having to go through this.

  26. Know that attitude is much in these circumstances. You have been forthright, which dispels some of society’s misguided inhibitions concerning illness. Your spirit, clarity and resilience will get you through.

  27. Please accept my most sincere best wishes for the challenge you both continue to face. Surely there are easier ways to build character and set an example for us all? But both of you will be victorious, and will do so with inevitable grace. I suspect that your clear passions for life will enable you to triumph — convincingly.

  28. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wife.
    “When you are going through hell, keep going.” (Winston Churchill)

  29. Let me quote Plato,
    “Attention to health is the greatest hinderance to life.”
    Glad you have caught our attention. Now how can we rally to show our greatest support?

  30. Chris,

    I’m very sorry to hear the news – I’ve had several friends lately that have gone through different forms of cancer. With the new technology and treatments that are available today, thank god, they have all pulled through quite well. My thought are with you and your family.


  31. Dear Elegantologist,

    I have never posted here before, but I have enjoyed your blog more than words can say. It is a breath of fresh air in a vulgar and ugly world. Please know that you and your wife are in my prayers.

    Dan Ippolito

  32. Chris, you and Mrs E and your children are in my thoughts and I hope that your prayers are answered. I am sure Mrs E could not have a better guide than you for the months ahead.

  33. The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart. ~Nikolai Lenin

    Keeping Mrs. E, you & your family close to my heart.

  34. It is indeed unpleasant news and I wish you all the best and staying strong in this trying time. I will be sending well thoughts for your wife’s recovery and prayers are in order.

  35. I’m relived to read that it is curable and hope that it is all addressed and relived quickly. I’ve been here before and I’ll certainly be keeping a good thought for your wife, you, your family and all who will be rallying around you

    With hopeful wishes,


  36. I’m all too aware who’s on my enemy list,but when you get sick, you find out who really loves you.

  37. Our church offers prayers for healing every week, and the strength of the faithful will give you tremendous support, comfort, and healing when you need it. How generous of you to share this news with your readers–I consider it a compliment. A dear friend of mine who was given this diagnosis several years back is doing great. You may count on my prayers for your wife. If I were closer, I could help with meals on treatment days. I know you have a large circle of friends, and they are anxious and willing to help–let them–it is good for everyone involved.

  38. Sorry to read these bad news, ….

    Mes pensées vont vers vous et votre épouse….


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