A few days ago I posted the poem “Broken” where I likened a bowl that cracked at work last week to the suddenness of a traffic accident. Last week I learned there’s more than one way a dish can suddenly split in half.
On the 13th I came home from my shift at the Villa resolved that I was going to finally have a physical checkup to see why I’ve been so fatigued all winter, why my thinking seems at times so fuzzy, why I get so out of breath and my nerves burn so much. I put in a normal shift at work that day and my upper legs hurt all evening, somewhat like a bad sunburn.
I’ve been telling myself all winter I need to be more active, cut out coffee, etc., but Tuesday I decided these problems stem from something deeper than a sedentary lifestyle. So I phoned and made a doctor’s appointment, fearing MS, fibromyalgia, or some awful thing like that. Thursday I saw the doctor – a new one at our clinic – and he gave me forms for blood tests.
Because we had other things to do that day, I ended up putting the test off until last Tuesday morning. Wednesday before 9am I got a call from my doctor’s office. “The doctor wants to see you about your test results. Can you come in for 11:45am?”
I was surprised he even had the results that fast. “ Could I rather come in tomorrow?”
“He really wants to see you today.”
“Oh, dear.” Do I have an infection? Has he discovered I’m diabetic? He was going to test my B12 levels. Has he discovered that I’m seriously anaemic? Or is my white blood cell count too high, which would be indicative that my body’s fighting something? Like cancer?
I scolded myself. “Don’t imagine the worst right away.”
My daughter was going to town that day so I caught a ride in with her and looked after her two youngest children while she shopped. And she waited at the doctor’s office with me. The doctor told me my white blood cell count was extremely high. I knew he was looking for tumours when he checked my lymph glands, liver and spleen, but said everything feels normal. He wanted to repeat the blood test for confirmation. He’d ordered one other test done, he said, but he couldn’t find – or didn’t have – the results yet.
Then we went to have dinner and while we were eating he phoned me. I could forget about that repeat blood test; he’d located or gotten the results of the last test. And he told me I have leukemia.
He told me he’d already called a blood doctor and that fellow wanted me to have an ultrasound of my innards to see if there was any sign they were affected. I should come pick up the form at his office. When I got there the receptionist said the doctor had told her it was “urgent” so she’d booked it for the next morning. (Around here that’s amazing!)
CLL is what he wrote on the requisition form. We’ve read that Chronic lymphocytic leukemia – if that’s what it turns out to be – is a common kind in older people and it progresses very slowly.
So I’m sitting tight and hoping for good news from my doctor tomorrow once he has the test results. Then I’ll likely need to visit this haematologist – and maybe the Cancer Clinic – to find out where to from here.
On Friday I told my husband I feel like I’ve been blown out of the water and landed in a giant marshmallow where everything’s fuzzy and I can’t think about anything yet. But since then I’ve gone from “This isn’t happening” to “No big deal. I could live another 30 years” to “Shriek! I’m dying!” to “So what else is new?” I’m sure the picture will clarify after a few more doctor’s appointments.
So the bowl that holds my sweetness has cracked in half; in one way nothing has changed yet everything has changed. Funny thing, though: the sweetness isn’t lost; God is pouring it into everyday life all around me. The beauty of nature, the affection of my family, the laughter of my grandchildren – each thing tastes sweeter now. When you lose sight of tomorrow, everything you see and feel today can be so precious.
In the midst of this I’m preparing my manuscript; I’ve been giving it a final edit before publication and choosing suitable illustrations. So my posts may be sporadic for awhile but I want you to know your prayers and moral support at this time mean very much to us.