~Living my Life with Lymphoma~
Life is like riding a bicycle ~ to keep your balance, you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
It was a year ago this month that I begin not feeling well. I went to my brother Vincent’s house in Manhattan for the weekend with my mother, with a plan to cook Saturday night’s dinner. I brought everything. All of the food, the crock pot, the organic wine, and even the flour to make gravy along with the gravy maker. I was excited to spend the weekend in the city.
I got up Saturday morning and didn’t feel well. It lasted the whole day, but I didn’t let on. I had a mission and was going to complete it. We went out for a while and I kept ignoring my deteriorating feeling of illness, thinking that if I just get through dinner and sleep through the night, I’ll feel like a new person on Sunday morning.
I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen that afternoon between cooking and cleaning up, and I hated every minute of it. I had some wine for dinner and it tasted like poison. I excused myself when the kitchen was clean and went to bed.
I slept terribly and still felt off in the morning. I felt an urgency to pack up my stuff and head home, 150 miles north. I finally told my brother that I didn’t feel good and needed to leave ASAP. He helped me pack up, and Mom and I headed home.
When we got there, I went straight to bed and didn’t get up for 15 hours. I felt a little better the next day and just chalked it up to always trying to do too much, which has been a hallmark of mine my whole life.
I felt terrible on and off for the next 6 weeks and began to lose weight. It wasn’t until I ended up in the emergency room on April 10th that my mysterious ailment was revealed. My life changed the moment the ER Doc came in to my room and said “Your lymph nodes are enlarged and dying.” Before that report, Brian and I were talking about retirement and traveling. They had given me Morphine, so I forgot how horrible I had been feeling and was happy talking about the future.
Since that day, it’s been an ongoing test of patience for both Brian and I, and my family and friends. We’ve waited through the scheduling of three biopsies, the results, multiple doctor appointments and three more emergency room visits before treatment began in August.
Although we are in another holding pattern as we wait for another biopsy (a whole year after I began not feeling well), the results, and God knows how many more doctor appointments, I feel really good and am keeping busy. I’m back working, painting, writing, spending time with friends, and enjoying the winter a little more than I ever did.
Sometimes, I forget about the situation I’m in, and then I walk by a mirror and see my very short hair and it jolts me back to reality. I don’t stay there for long because I’m driven to move on to the next fun thing.
It’s the only way I know how to roll through these uninvited times.
“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!”
(This is a song by R.E.M and the motto of Andy who is a Super-Moderator on a Lymphoma support site. Now I’ve adopted it too.)