What lies beneath

My life slowed down considerably last week. Not by choice.

As Celia and Helena made their way through the streets of Homewood in search of candy on Halloween night–one decked out as a Monster High character (legwarmers and blue hair included) and one a young vampire princess (with fangs raring to go)–I began feeling like the blood was draining from my own body. Before the night was out, I found myself watching my two “groaning zombies” feasting on their sweets from the couch. I was sick. Again.

For the next four days, I stayed in bed fighting off chills and a fever and bodily aches and pains. And worried. This was the second “flu” I’d experienced in just a few weeks time.

Once (or if you’re lucky, twice) diagnosed with cancer, it’s tough to shake off that nagging feeling that whatever the symptoms, something far more sinister lies beneath. I wondered if a few stray cancer cells might be gathered around an organ intent on wreaking havoc on my tired body. In my imagination, they’re laughing and catching up with one another, complaining that it’s been far too long since they’ve gotten together. Or perhaps this time around, my glands were responsible for knocking me off my feet. They did feel a bit sore, come to think of it.

But why go it alone? Conversations with my oncologist’s nurse, Alese, were initiated and theories about what might be going on were debated, dismissed, second-guessed. I spent time on the phone with Rachael, playing “what if?” As in, what if I have x, or y, or z, or maybe something that’s never been diagnosed before in the history of medicine?

Eventually, the source of the problem rose to the surface. Tests confirmed a nasty infection that had spiraled out of control and that’s likely been lurking in my body for a few weeks or more. Slowly, Cipro by Cipro, I’m on the defense, trying to send the infection hiking. Next time, I’ll be more prepared for the unexpected. As if.


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