A story. My story.
Something happened yesterday that really dug into me. Into my heart. My soul. My physical being.
First, I have to tell you the back story. Where I come from they say to tell another living person. It shouldn’t be somebody who is close to you. It shouldn’t be somebody who supports you unconditionally.
I’m telling you.
Before I do, I want to tell you not to worry. The words my be scary. The illness isn’t and likely will never be.
In 2015 my primary care doctor noticed that my white blood cell count had been high for a year. He was running a blood test as part of my normal annual physical. He referred me to another doctor. A blood specialist. After more blood work and specialized research, I was diagnosed with CLL. A kind of leukemia. After assuring me that it wouldn’t kill me, and that it probably would never become symptomatic, he sent me home with a lot of research — online and in hard copy. I found out that he was right.
It’s an emotional upheaval. It wasn’t until musical miss’ mom, a retired surgical nurse, said that once we got over the shock, I should just go on living my life. Three years later, and probably four, I’m fine. I am asymptomatic. I have my blood checked regularly. If anything my numbers are getting better. I do take care of myself and that matters. It will likely never emerge. The odds are great 98% of newly diagnosed patients never have it emerge. That’s why you shouldn’t worry.
Flash forward to yesterday.
I was at my oncologist’s office (how weird is that to say out loud) waiting my turn. I was talking to a family. Their little boy liked me, so he and I played iPhone games. They were waiting for their daughter who was helped into the office by a nurse. She was barely hanging on to a walker. She was wearing a tank top. She had two chemo port holes in her upper chest. The family helped her put on a t-shirt. The nurse was talking about the next treatment plan. The current plan was not having the desired effect. I guess there must have been a lot of pain in my eyes. This young girl’s dad put his hand on my shoulder and said, quietly “I’ll be alright.”
My turn in the office.
I have a great doctor. While he’s looking me over and explaining my numbers we talk about everything. Since we are close to another Katrina anniversary we talked about that. Because he is a good doctor, he noticed that I was a little sad. When he asked why, I told him. He replied that he really couldn’t say anything. I just said that it didn’t look good. He looked me in the eye and said that it wouldn’t be good.
The young girl is 13 years old.
She will never be able to live her life. Please understand that I have no desire to die. No death wish. Nothing like it. I hope to be old and feisty when I go. But, in that one moment I thought that if I could change places with her I would not hesitate. I’ve lived most of my life. She’s just getting started. It doesn’t seem fair. But, who said life was fair?
Please have a good thought for her. You may not know her. But, she is universal. You do know her.
The picture. Oh. Yeah. I saw a bunch of leaves reflecting off the back of a sign. A handicapped sign. I guess that was meant to be. I just darkened it a bit.