One year ago today, a doctor called me at 6am (which we didn't hear) and then again 8am to tell me to go to the emergency room immediately.
Where should I go?
The nearest emergency room.
And so I went. Not to the closest one, I'll admit. But to the one that my primary care doctors were affiliated with, the one where a friend works, the one that I knew exactly how long it would take us to get to in rush hour traffic.
And the ER docs and residents and med students were intrigued. I've only seen a few episodes of House, but I felt like I was on it. A huge mystery. Group after group of doctors and students stopped by to see the petechiae covering my torso, to hear my story, to ask me questions. My diagnosis of ITP, or low platelets, occurs in approximately 2 out of 100,000 adults so I was a good learning opportunity.
A normal person has about 150,ooo-300,000 platelets (per million) and I had 3,000. They were worried about internal bleeding and I had a headache. Late in the evening, after about 12 hours in the ER, I had a CT scan. And after that, they started talking about cancer.
As in they weren't certain, but would be pretty surprised if it wasn't.
I went on some pretty heavy meds. My platelets had to get up so I wouldn't bleed out in surgery--the lymphectomy and bone marrow biopsy which would stage my cancer.
Several nights in the hospital. More meds. My veins couldn't take it. It was so painful.
The surgery. More pain but at least this time I had morphine.
Abel and my parents were my rocks.
I desperately missed Lucas.
Pathology came back: no cancer. None. Nothing.
I went home.
Spent the summer on steroids; being tested for all sorts of other conditions; getting infusions in the chemo lab where I felt guilty every time I walked in with my full head of hair. Guilty and relieved at the same time. Because that wasn't me.
I think now, now when my last blood test showed my platelets at 240,000 (normal!), now I am finally dealing with the emotional implications of those days in the hospital. Those days when I felt certain that I'd be bald for my friend's wedding. When I composted my "I have cancer" post in my head. When I resolved to fight like hell for Lucas's sake.
It seems like so long ago. And I know everything is fine. Will be fine.
But, still. It could have been me. And that is a lot to deal with.