I got out of that car that day. After driving around in circles with Liv all afternoon, I finished making “the call” to family and friends. My Dad was the first person I dialed before I left to go get her. He divulged much later to me that had to leave work after hearing the news. He too just drove, pulling off to the side of the road when he could no longer see it.
The local clinic in Chesterton where I had seen my Doctor neighbor, Laura, the day before was the same place I returned. My blood was taken again just to make sure there wasn’t a bad reading. Just to make sure my counts were ten times higher than normal, and just to make sure I probablyhad cancer. They never really want to tell you concretely what you have – just in case they’re not right. And we non-Doctors all know this; so there is a shred of hope which remains that those very human people have made a very human error.
But that wasn’t the case. They were right. My counts had climbed even higher in that 24-hour span. Dr. Laura said I needed to have a bone marrow biopsy as soon as possible to determine exactly what kind of cancer it was. The unknown is the worst. I left the clinic with nothing more than a stranger’s name on a business card and a phone number to call to schedule some procedure for something which no one could tell me about. So I did what any not-that-long-ago college graduate would do: I consulted Google.
Wow. The horror stories people put on the Internet as an attempt at catharsis are definitely not recommended nighttime reading. As I scrolled down the hits that “leukemia” brought back, I clicked each one and skimmed the first few lines of the impending overview of doom. With every click, I looked for a better answer. Some new technology, some new treatment – a chance to live the rest of my life with my daughter had to be there. I continued to read as I wiped away tears and inaudibly whispered prayers of “please help me, please let me find something on THIS one, please don’t let me have this.”
PLEASE! Why is this one not saying anything new? I am going to die. There’s nothing they can do.
I had so much tension in my neck and shoulders after sitting in front of my computer in that crash course on leukemia, that I literally couldn’t turn my head left or right. I was one big ball of a knot, only I didn’t knowit was from stress build-up. Instead of course, I thought the cancer was ravaging throughout my body. Everything was cancer. Every noise, every silence, every blink – it was all cancer.
Finally, I fell asleep. The next day I found myself laying down again, only this time it was on that stranger’s table having my first bone marrow biopsy.