I Don’t Have Blood Cancer

What a drag it is getting old...
-Rolling Stones Mother's Little Helper

I’ve had persistent tonsilitis for a couple years now which is probably going to mean a trip to an ENT before long to get them removed.

I’m hoping this is the reason for my persistent high white count, inner ear pain and the unbelievable exhaustion I’ve been experiencing for the past several months.

My doctor had other ideas this week though. I got a message from the nurse that said, “Now this test we’re going to order is going to come across as a little scary, but it’s how it’s in the system, so don’t freak out.”

I look at the test. They’re checking to see if I have leukemia.

I went and got the test that day. I didn’t want to put it off. I spent the next two days pouring over all my labs for the last several years and reading website after website of symptoms, disease process, etc.

There were a lot of tears and a lot of not sleeping and a lot of waiting on pins and needles for the results to come back. If you’ve ever been sick, like really, really sick… or been around people that are really, really sick- then you know, if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.

The curse of having a medical background is that you’ve seen the worst case scenarios for years. I took care of a lot of really, really sick people as a nurse. I watched plenty of them go through cancer and chemotherapy. I’ve had friends that fought through/ are fighting cancer, I’ve lost a parent and two grandparents to cancer- one of those, my Grandpa Keith’s second wife, JoAnn, was to leukemia.

I could fall off a ladder in the orchard, snap my neck and be finished. I drive I-44 at least several times a month with people I swear are qualifying for the Indy 500 while staring at their cell phones. I know there are no guarantees of tomorrow. I also know from losing people that there’s never enough time. Ever.

Still, somehow the idea of leukemia was worse than death by distracted driver or landing on my head while trimming trees. It was all too easy to imagine my slow decline over a handful of years that I’d be too sick to really enjoy, yet desperate to cling to every last minute. I saw that average life expectancy after diagnosis was about 5 years and calculated that at least my daughter would be out of high school.

That is my greatest fear/sadness of being sick or dying… what it will do to my baby. I’ve raised her to be strong, to hold her own, to be independent. Yet I know that no matter how capable or in control you feel, sometimes you just want your Mom. The idea of not being there for her if she wants or needs me… that’s what hurts the worst.

The doctor messaged me yesterday and said that the tests were all negative. She put me on a strong antibiotic for the tonsil. I’m hoping that’s the end of it. The stress of this week was a serious reminder though that I need to not put things off. I need to figure out how to go do those things I’ve always wanted to do or learn the stuff I wanted to learn. I also need to make every minute with my loved ones count.

I also need to stop chasing people and ghosts too. I’ve poured far to much time and energy into things and people that did not give back. If it doesn’t make me happy, I’m not doing it anymore. If I’m not your priority, you’re no longer mine. The time I have left is too precious to waste.

I know some of you are wondering, isn’t this an art and gardening site? Why does she keep writing about personal stuff? Sometimes ya’ll get art. Sometimes you get plants. Sometimes you just get what’s in my head at the moment. Yeah, I’m sorry for that. LOL. At least I’m not sharing what’s in there EVERY moment, now THAT probably would be something to really apologize for.


Ps. Laundry and dishes do NOT make me happy, but clean clothes and having silverware does, so on that I must compromise. 😉

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