The Flu Blues

July 8, 2009 at 11:21 pm (Life)

It all began Thursday, June 25. Jason had his eye surgery that day and I went over to SEU to participate in a panel on careers in music. I felt fine all day, and then right around dinner time, started to just feel…odd. By Friday when I woke up, I was feeling a fever and was quite tired. By Saturday, I was having hardcore chills decided I needed to go to the doctor. I went to Watson urgent care and was told I had a sinus infection and given antibiotics. By Sunday, I literally could not get out of bed. It felt odd to me, not like a normal sinus infection, because I had this fever that I just could not shake.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I literally just stayed in bed, but was NOT getting better. In a breakdown moment on Wednesday, I called my mom and begged her to come help me take care of Joey. Thursday I felt a bit better and began to feel bad for asking my mom to come all the way from NY. By Thursday night the fever was back with a vengeance, however, and Friday morning, we decided that since it had been a week, I needed to go back to urgent care.

While there, I got a horrible fever and chills and was just miserable. They did a flu test, blood work, and a chest x-ray. After a long, uncomfortable wait, they told me I had the flu, pneumonia, and most alarming of all, a really, really low white count. They decided to admit me to the hospital.

I was in the hospital Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, and received many tests, cultures, x-rays, etc. I was in an isolation room because of my low white count, and when family wanted to come see me, they had to get fitted in their masks, gloves, and gowns. I really started to go a bit stir crazy not leaving that room, and, of course, was desperate not seeing my son for four days! I was in for the 4th of July, so that was a bit of a bummer, but my nurses and doctors were all extremely kind.

I got released on Monday, July 6, and was home that day by about 3:30 pm. It was lovely being home, taking a long shower, and sleeping in clean, comfy sheets. I slept quite a bit and enjoyed my mom’s yummy cooking.

One thing that kept striking me over and over during my hospital stay, though, and sort of unsettling me was a phrase that I heard a  lot from various doctors, nurses, etc. The phrase was “Because of your history…” Just four simple words that I fully understand the implication of, but somehow, I found myself growing quite irritated at hearing so many times. It even went so far as that when I was finally being released, one of my doctors told me that I probably wouldn’t have even been put in the hospital had it not been for my history. I don’t know why, but it sort of angered me. Trust me, I do understand where the medical community is coming from. Though I am now 4 years out from my  experience with cancer (PRAISE GOD!), I do realize that certain things like a low white count can raise some flags. I understand that everyone’s intentions are purely for my good. I even appreciate how relaxed they’ve all been, making sure to go out of their way to tell me that they feel this was only the flu, nothing more.

Still, I find myself coming to some anger that I guess I never quite realized was there, deep down, still resenting the cancer and how it affects my life now. There is something about “Because of your history” that feels oddly…debilitating, I suppose. No one wants to be constantly reminded  of their past. No one wants to feel held back or defined by the things that happened to them four years ago. Again, I’m not ignorant to the idea that this is a unique situation and that those defining things are of scientific importance. Still…

I guess what I wrestled with was just the idea of not allowing my “history” to dictate my responses to life today. I have come a long way with the Lord since that experience four years ago, and we wrestle (sometimes daily) to put these things in their proper place. I just want to humbly say after four days of hearing this phrase, that God’s work has been done in me. I am marked, but it’s not because of my history. I was marked long before that time, when God put His hand on my life and called me forth into His purposes. This is all just part of that. I humbly say today that I am well. God has made me whole, and when He sees me, He sees my future just as much as He sees my history, and His plan for me is good!

Today I went for a follow-up appointment and was humbled to find that my blood counts are all back to normal. I have been advised to take it easy, as this can truly take a long time to recover from, but overall, all is well. I think that I have been given a lot to chew on after this experience. I am thankful, humbled, and challenged. I want to take this experience and somehow allow it to teach me, so that I can grow from it and move forward. As a dear friend of mine said, my experience with cancer does not define me, but it has refined me. I like that. I am refined.


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