Well I am glad to still be here, but the last place I expected to be on "Day 100" is HERE, writing this particular e-mail from inside the hospital, hooked up to the 7-foot I.V. poles AGAIN, with my cheeks swelled up like the blueberry-girl in Willy Wonka. I swear, I cannot even recognize my face in the mirror. I'm a walking bobble-head. It is absolutely freaky. Like, imagine Eddie Murphy's stunning make-up job in "The Nutty Professor" but WITHOUT the fat-suit. FREAk-Kyyyy. (Okay, maybe not THAT bad, but upsetting nonetheless!)
While the doctors have not been able to explain what happened or what is wrong, at least they have been able to treat all the icky symptoms that have stormed in this week. There was one point where it felt like my feet were on fire, all my fingers were cramping into their own violent mudra, my abdomen felt like there were steak knives plunged into it, there was a sledgehammer in my forehead, my eyes were swollen shut and I was shaking like James Brown on crack, ALL at the SAME time. Honestly, at that moment I thought it was over, and as I began to make peace with it, the fever broke.
Today was my first day without painkillers. I was simply and absolutely delighted but depleted, and conscious enough to catch up on the emotional part of the last few days. The best way to describe it is that feeling you have just after a car-accident or an earthquake. Sort of the "what-the-heck-just-happened-oh-my-god-I-could-have-died" restlessness and irrepressible desire to cling to someone or something or life itself. What I clung to was everyone's messages and prayers… visualizing our interconnectedness with each other… and focusing on the faith, hope, trust and love you just GOTTA to
believe in to make it through.
Some good did come out of this. All the tests that were done have presumptuously pointed to the fact that today I am DISEASE FREE: meaning there's not single a blip of physical cancer inside! There is one more test we have to do on Monday. The PET scan. The big one. It measures not physical things like tumors, but big C "activity". Sort of like the MI5, the PET scan can warn of enemy activity and imminent threats. I hope they come up with nothing. They are also scheduling another "marrow graft" test soon. I hope they come up with something good.
There is a rumor going around the 5th floor today that I may be discharged and sent back to "the village" in the next day or two. This is neither good news nor bad, neither a promising sign nor a troubling one. It just is. I am still just as vulnerable and swollen as I was at the beginning of the week, but because the doctors don't know what else to do, they are sending me back to the village in hopes that everything clears up on its own. (Now I know why they call this place "City of Hope".) They also assured it would be better to be sequestered in the village because it was less likely that I would be exposed to a hospital infection. At this point, I am just focusing on making it to the next day.
Thank you thank you thank you so much for the continuing prayers and messages. I cannot even begin to describe how vital they are to the healing. I know this is not easy for anyone, and it must be tiring after pushing through your own struggles to read and pray for someone else's. Now that's what I call Heroic. I am tearfully thankful to know that I am not alone in this room. And I'm wishing and sending out nothing but love. Nothing but Love.
P.S. This has obviously been very hard on my mother. Everyone involved has agreed that she needs to take a break. So she is leaving for a week starting tomorrow. My father will return with her. And we'll take it from there.