XII. Let the world spin madly on
It’s somewhere around 6 AM and his alarm awakens my ears. It’s the triumphant melody that dramatically plays in the background of West Wing during President Bartlet’s announcement of his decision to run for a second term despite his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Nothing will stop him. This powerful melody signals the beginning of my battle to fight off the heavy lethargic sensation that encompasses my entire being despite banking more than ten hours of sleep. As I sluggishly stir from my fitful slumber, I hear the distant gurgle of the Keurig followed by the sweetest words in the world, “Sit up my love, I’ve got your coffee.” Armed with coffee, I can do anything. Without it, I am a fire dragon. As I sit disheveled next to him in bed, with coffee warming my soul and the morning NPR newscast blaring out of my iPhone, it’s easy to dismiss the numbness in my hands that keeps me awake at night as they divulge into persistent spats of pins and needles. It’s a new day and time to let the world spin madly on.
With my second chance at life, I am fearful of missing out on all of the lives that I am not living. I want to make a dent in the universe as an author, blogger, consultant, business founder, world traveler, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year and true to form I have plans for all of them. I am acutely aware of time or lack thereof to accomplish each life. Sometimes I can feel my bones straining with each fleeting minute. With such lofty goals, it’s easy to rationalize my extreme exhaustion until my phone lights up with a voicemail. I try to appear unconcerned at my work cube as I listen to my doctor explain my latest blood results, “Your B12 level is extremely low. It’s well under the normal range at 187 and you are anemic. We will set you up for a week long injection, one for each day.” I sat stunned trying to hide all emotions. My anemia came as a sudden surprise out of a clear sky. This is, however, something of an exaggeration. Over the preceding several months I had been experiencing strange symptoms. It is the nature of my anemia that startled me. No doctor has been able to identify the underlying cause, instead prescribed injections to cover up my symptoms. I would welcome a fight rather than this hideous brooding uncertainty. It is with a worrisome heart that I will travel to Johns Hopkins on January 17th for another opinion.
There is darkness in life. Mine comes in the form of walking back into Georgetown’s infusion center and sitting down in the leather chair of agony where I received chemo one year before. As I waited for my injection, my heart broke listening to the neighboring patients. I immediately connected with the panic in the man’s voice across from me. He sat alone with an IV restraining his movement as he screamed into his phone, “I have stage four colon cancer, what do you mean you can’t fax over my blood results? Let me get my nurse!” I intimately understood the insanity that overtakes your soul when your life is hanging in the balance. In that moment I thought back to the chemo where my doctor forget to order the Prednisone in my CHOP cocktail and to the nurse who helped to diffuse the situation. And then like magic, there she was taking the phone from the patient and calmly explaining the situation to the person on the other end. The patient responded, “thanks for not treating me like I was inept.” My heart found peace in that moment for I realized that she was the light in the dark. As she approached me with my injection, she first remembered my Bo, and my heart smiled for she took notice of one of the lights, the light of all lights.
Instead of stumbling around in the dark, I am going to focus on my silver lining, my glimmer of heroism, my Bo who behaves with unexpected grace. It’s easy for most to applaud him for his constant attendance at all of my medical emergencies, including my recent dance with anemia. It’s his energy beneath the surface, hidden from the naked eye that counts. He is the invisible force pushing me toward my goals. He is my words, my inspiration for writing a book and this blog. He is the creativity behind our new business, which complements my straight shooting business sense. (A new blog post with details on our business to come!) He is the reason that my world spins madly on. I choose to celebrate my second chance at life not on the day that I was declared cancer free, but on New Year’s Day where our dance began.
Two years ago on a bright New Years Day in this age of grand illusion, he walked into my life out of a dream. As he made his way across the restaurant, I envisioned heads turning, knees trembling, coffee cups spilling and conversations ending mid sentence. Beauty of his magnitude blisters the eyes. He sat down across from me and wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except sitting there telling stories, holding the universe together. I flushed pink with pleasure and found myself charmed with his opening lines as if I’d been a recipient of a potion:
If you fall in a river, there is a boat;
If you fall in a well, there is a rope;
But if you fall in love, there is no hope.
January 1, 2013 was the deep breath before the plunge. I was a bug to the light. And not because he was enchanting and electric and magnetic, although the devil knows he is all those things, but because he led me out of the woods into the clear. Here’s to a new year full of love. Where there is love, there is life.