Ever since the package with the book arrived in the mail, I've yearned to lose myself in the writing. Coming from my friend, Linda, I simply knew I'd love the book.
So with an ache in my back, and my bed calling me early one evening a couple weeks ago, I found myself immersed in reading from the first sentence. I read late into the night, not wanting to read too much, yet doggedly turning page after page, longing to know the whole story all at once.
But that ache in my back? Somehow turned into a searing, teeth-clenching, pain. It gripped the muscles in my lower back, with spasms of mind-numbing sensations.
After attempts with Advil, and Tylenol, the heating pad, and then ice, plus massage from Superman failed to assuage the assault on my back I finally turned to Oxy. With my mind numbed, my speech slow and plodding, and the pain masked by it all- days turned into nights then faded back to days- and I was lost in the haze of it all. The book sat, beckoning me to shake my head free from the fog. But every time I came up for air, I was mired down again with spasms rippling through my back.
I knew I would see Dr. Panwalkar soon, I just needed to get by a few more days. Rick tried to get me to go to the ER, but I stubbornly clung to the idea I'd persevere. My scans were clear, in my back area. This was not cancer.
It was my week free from chemo. It was sunny outside, and the temps rose into the 30's, making it warm for January in Minnesota. How could I not get better?
Somehow, I cobbled together a way of managing. I sometimes could string together hours at a time, in which I functioned at near normal levels. I'd dive back into the book, madly in search of the pen to highlight the phrases and paragraphs that resonated so deeply with me. How could she know my pain? How could she breathe such life into the brokenness I endured? Edie's story is not mine, and yet her ability to make me feel as though I had walked in her very shoes, and her in mine, was uncanny.
I look down at my hands, grasping the pen I used to highlight, wondering away.
At the same time, I've been knocked down, Nolan is struck down with illness too. He fought basic cold symptoms all one week. We use our Thieves and Lemon oils which keep him going, and some Emergen- C each day. But its a Thursday night after hockey practice when he comes into my room, feverish and chilled at the same time, with a bad headache. Rick drops everything to take him into the doctorr. Nolan's lymph nodes are swollen all around his neck, and they need to rule out Mono, and then they swab for Influenza and take blood work. He arrives home with a positive test for Influenza and a box of Tamiflu. He sleeps long hours, his body going from fever, back to aches and pains, then chilled and congested and miserable again.
While I'm quarantined away from him, battling my own pain, I finish Edie's book. As I get up to put the book away, the pink pen flies out of the pages into my lap, as my heart warms with the love that surrounds it.
I'll never forget his sheepish smile, and the playful way his eyes beamed, even though he looked away as he handed me this pen, just days ago...
"Mom..." Nolan says, his cheeks curl into dimples and the smile originates from somewhere deep within him. "This was supposed to be for you at Christmas. I made it in wood shop. We learned how to use the lathe, but I kept getting the bottom piece too thin and it broke on me. I had to get a new one and start over with the teacher's help."
I'm melting on the spot as I feel the weight of it in my hands. It's then that it I turn it over and see the pink breast cancer ribbon. It seals it. It really was for me.
I reach up to give him a hug and whisper an "I love you, " to him. He hugs me back, all the way around, and whispers to me, I love you too, Mom."
Days later I see Dr. Panwalkar. We talk about the pain in my back and he examines me. He thinks for a long time, and then says I should try a muscle relaxer for awhile. He warns me it'll make me sleepy and more foggy in the head perhaps, but should help release those muscle spasms. He also says he wants to see me again in a few weeks, and we'll also talk about scans soon. The last little tidbit is that while my blood work shows low counts- he is still going ahead with treatment- because the good news is, my tumor markers have dropped down to just above normal.
~all shall be well~
Thank you to all who have reached out to me! It humbles me so to know you come in search of me when I'm quiet for too long. Your prayers, cards, emails and texts, do much to lift my spirits. So grateful! Love to you all~