I tried to protest, but deep down I knew he was right. My symptoms — 10 days of bladder pain, three days of fever and chills, plus all sorts of upper respiratory gunk — weren’t something to ignore…any longer.
Even though I’d been far sicker and I’d pushed through all sorts of illnesses before. Even though I knew that once the ER docs got a hold of me, a cancer survivor, it meant a folly of tests that regular folks wouldn’t normally get.
So, on the day before my third anniversary in remission from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I wound up in the ER, hooked up to an IV (to get my blood pressure up), enduring a series of tests that included, but was not limited to, urinalysis, EKG and a chest X-ray.
I kept pushing out of my head all the stories I’d heard that started, “And then, right around her three-year mark in remission, the cancer came back.” This was nothing serious, right?
Turns out, my husband was correct: I had a bladder infection, not to mention a respiratory virus. Left untreated, a bladder infection can hit your kidneys and then do all sorts of damage, even death. But today, after three doses of antibiotics and a full bag of fluids, I’m doing better. Sheesh, I wish chemo worked this fast. Most importantly though, I still don’t have cancer.
This morning, I sat down at my computer to catch up on three days of ignoring it, when I discovered a brand new Lexulous game that two friends had started. The words they had laid down were:
Yes, He does indeed. He jokes and He tests and He throws a wrench (or five) into your best laid plans. But I can’t help but think that it was a good time for me to get knocked down a little bit. No, really.
I mean, the boys were at my in-laws’ house this weekend, and Saturday’s soccer practice was cancelled. I missed coaching our game on Sunday, but if there was ever a game this season for our head coach, Alex, to coach alone, it was when he had so few subs to keep track of. My husband filled in to drive the soccer practice carpool last night, and to test our son for his Spanish test. We postponed our wedding anniversary dinner (19 years!) to another time.
Yet if this had happened last year at this time, I’d have been sick for my big party and fundraiser, “Kiss Cancer Goodbye.” If I’d been flattened last weekend, I’d have missed out on Halloween and the big game against our rival. (We won, 4-0!)
Maybe I’ve learned to see the glass as half full. Or maybe, after you’ve had cancer, a morning in the ER and some antibiotics as a cure don’t seem like much of a big deal. After all, I famously finished writing a book on the oncology floor at New York Hospital. I am Patient, hear me roar.
I do believe, however, that I’ve used up my fair share of the “in sickness” part of our marriage vows, and for that, I apologize to my husband and also thank him for all he’s done to pick up the slack whenever God jokes.
Brandi Carlile has a way of putting all of this into her song, “The Story,” so I’ll let her end this blog — and explain to my husband how much I love him — while I go lie down for a bit. Thank God.