I ended up staying in a hospital for 40 days since September 13th. It was for the second round of strong chemo, and for some reasons I thought it would have been easier than the first round before going in. Actually, the side effects were very light, except those destroyed white blood cells took a long time to come back. One thing about leukemia is that everybody reacts to the treatments differently. Fortunately that mysterious high fever I suffered this spring several times didn’t come back, despite the low white blood cell count. But it was quite a nerve wracking experience to live with almost zero immune system for many days. The hematology floor I was in was equipped with HEPA filter but still I have to were a mask when I walk around the hallway for some exercise, and wash my hands when I come back to my room. I could enjoy colors of trees changing from windows but It was strange to feel the temperature of my surrounding stayed the same.
It’s so nice to be back home again and smell the air.
If my condition stays stable, I can stay at home for a week or so. Then a stem cell transplant is scheduled in early part of November. They found a 10/10 match donor through National Marrow Donor Program. Once the transplant is done, I would be in a hospital longer, dealing with all kinds of reactions such as GVHD. I know it’s not going to be easy but I still think I’m lucky to have a donor.
So It will be another long pause for renewing this blog. When I come back next time, I hope I can bring a good news.


Ascent (detail), 2014

I came home from a hospital last Saturday. I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 weeks. The side effects and some complications from the chemo were tougher than I expected. I developed a fungal infection in my lung while my white blood cell count was almost 0. Fortunately a new anti-fungal drug was working and the infection is under control.
I think the chemo worked well and my blood count seem to be pretty good. But staying in a hospital for a long time, I lost most of my muscle. I need to regain some of my strength back.
Good thing is the weather is beautiful this time of the year. I’m looking forward to a lot of strolling around my neighborhood again.


Gyre 2008, Detail

Since 1993, I always had a show in Japan this time of a year in a town called Kiryu where I grew up. It started out very casually in a small café owned by my friend. It was a great arrangement because I could stay at my parents house with my wife and our son who was still a toddler back then. After the café was closed, I was introduced to Mogi gallery by my artist friends. And ever since, it had become my summer routine to show my new works there. I added another location, Gallery Maya, in Osaka in 2006, through a recommendation of another friend. Since I was shipping my paintings to Japan, I was glad to have more chance to show in different places on one trip. And I met many artists and art lovers all these years.

Unfortunately, I had to suspend this routine this summer because of my sickness.
I miss seeing everyone who had been visiting my shows every year. It has always been inspirational to hear their thoughts on my works. I really hope I can cure this illness and get back to the routine again.

But at the same time, I realized that I have been enjoying a little vacation I’m having right now. My activities are very limited due to a low white blood cell count. But I still could stroll around my neighborhood. This is the first time I spend whole summer in Beacon since I moved here.  And I’m relishing breathtakingly beautiful summer sky right before the sunsets in this Hudson valley.

As for the illness, I just found out that it progressed from MDS to AML(acute myelogenous leukemia) today. A stronger chemo therapy starts tomorrow.





Stroll 03
Stroll No.3, 2007 Detail

Since January, I have had a high fever every month.
I was hoping June would be free from the mysterious fever.
But it came all a sudden two weeks ago, and went to the hospital.

My neutrophil count is lower than normal because of MDS.
But it still shouldn’t be this easy to get some kind of infection. The scary thing is that every time I get a fever, my blood pressure goes down too much, and I end up in the ICU.

Every time, the doctors run many tests to find out the cause of the infection, but it still remains a mystery.

Many years ago, there was a TV show which I enjoyed watching every week.
It’s a medical drama, presenting some mysterious disease every week. And the main character, an eccentric doctor, and his team end up solving the mystery at the end of every show.

I wish a cause of my fever can get solved like that.

At lease, every time the fever is gone, I feel like I recover stronger.

Just hoping I can stay away from a hospital next month.








Runnel (detail) 2009

Since I was diagnosed with MDS, I have received quite few units of red blood cells.
At first, I was very nervous about letting someone else’s blood in me. Even though it’s not common, there are cases that your body doesn’t accept a transfusion. Fortunately, I haven’t had such a problem so far.

In fact I was really surprised by the effect of the red blood cells do to you. When the number of hemoglobin is low, you feel so tired and can’t even breathe well. But as soon as you receive a few units of red blood cells, you can feel the difference in your body. It is amazing that even though it’s someone else’s red blood cell, it does the job to carry oxygen all over my body.

My blood type is AB+, which is a universal receiver, and can receive all other blood type like A, B, and O. And I have been receiving all four blood types. It’s interesting that many people in Japan and other eastern Asian countries are into a personality analysis based on the blood type. But as far as I can see, I don’t feel any difference or change in my thinking process when different blood type is transfused in me.

I just feel so thankful for all the people for donating their blood.



ぼくの血液型はAB型で、どの血液型でも受け入れられるらしい。実際、いままでA, B, AB, Oと4つのタイプ全部をいただいてきた。日本や東アジアの国々では血液型による性格判断が盛んだというが、色々な血液型を輸血してもらいながら、自分の中に何か変化とか感じるのだろうかと注意していたが、なにも感じなかった。


Oblation (Detail) 2007


Hiro Ichikawa

Author:Hiro Ichikawa

ビーコン NY 在住
Lives and works in Beacon NY

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