Cancer is a ruin-er & other poetry.

@&%$#! I had originally typed the real words, but then edited myself.  (And when you type those symbols instead of a cuss word, are you supposed to use the correct number of symbols to represent the letters? I didn’t.)

Cancer is a ruin-er.  And so is a bad stomach virus, or a blood infection, but probably just a bad stomach virus. All of those things are ruin-ers. (I am pretty poetic at 4 a.m.).

Friday: picked up my lovely sister-in-law at the airport.  She flew in from Chicago to have a girls weekend with me at The Chase.  We had plans of eating, sleeping, laying by the pool, ordering room service, watching movies, and laughing.  Friday we squeezed in some shopping, had a nice dinner, and went to bed dreaming of our pool time.

Saturday: woke-up, walked to breakfast, ate breakfast, went to the bathroom, went back to the bathroom, stayed in the bathroom, threw-up in the bathroom. Walked back to hotel, got in bed, (my SIL walked to Walgreens and got me crackers and Sprite, almost made it back to the hotel and then walked back to get me a thermometer), felt cold, and hot, took temperature every 30 minutes (the docs have instructed me to be vigilant about fevers), as my temp went up, so did my anxiety.  Started to cry (all I wanted to do was go to the #@$%& pool).  Called on-call doctors to seek advice.  She pulled up my chart and said that because my white blood cell count had been so low at my last blood draw that I needed to get to the cancer care clinic at the hospital right away.  If this was an infection, I might not have the cells to fight it off.  Called Joel (who was golfing) and told him to meet me there.

Cancer is a ruin-er.

They take things pretty seriously at that cancer care clinic.  Blood draws, urine samples, chest & abdominal x-rays, IV-antibiotics, fluids, anti-nausea drugs, repeated temperature checks (it was almost like laying by the pool).  My fever went up, my electrolytes and potassium went down, and I felt like $@%$#.  As the tests came back, everything looked okay, and we actually got some good news.  Okay, some GREAT news– my blood counts are up! I have an immune system again!  What a fun way to find out.  After fluids, and Tylenol to break my temp, they said I could go home.  Some of the tests take a week, but probably I just got a nasty virus.

It’s Monday morning at 4 a.m., and while I can’t sleep because my stomach still feels off, I am getting better.  But I am going to admit that I was feeling pretty sorry for myself for awhile.  My lovely weekend plans with my SIL were ruined.  I wanted relaxation, and sunshine on my face, and pool time, and room service, and movies.

But it could be worse.

It could be so much worse.

Seeing that picture in my Facebook feed of a four-year-old boy comforting his two-year-old sister in Nepal after the earthquake jolted me out of my pity party.

And because this post has been the opposite of poetic, I will end it with a poem that was texted to me this weekend (I actually got it in between dry heaves on the restaurant bathroom floor).  It spoke to me.  I hope speaks to you, too.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks


One thought on “Cancer is a ruin-er & other poetry.

  1. Oh hell, Melissa! Not how you wanted to spend your R &R weekend. But there will be other weekends, and that’s the wonderful news. There WILL be other weekends. Really, when I read your posts I sometimes feel like I’ve been to church. Your posts are filled with spirit and I am learning from you.

    I’ve been on vacation so I am just now catching up on some of your other posts. So in reference to your “gown rebellion,” I want to share a story. My mom also hated those hospital/medical gowns. One day when I was waiting with her in the hospital, she turned to me and said, “Do you like my gown? It’s by Versace!” God, I loved that she could joke in the midst of it all. I love that You laugh and cry and curse and celebrate and love.

    For now, I’m going to copy that Rumi poem and send it to my friends. I love you, Melissa.


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