Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Holding it in

As you know, yesterday was Steven's "100 day" bone marrow biopsy (even though it was technically only day 97). 

I have written before about my heightened anxiety when going to the doctor's visits. It seemed as if, for the longest time, every visit was laced with bad news.  If the doctor gave us good news, it was always attached to bad news.  Or even just the possibility of bad news.  The doctor herself was upfront with us, and, back in October, stated that she was someone who always looked at the "worst case scenario" and prepared for that. 

I. Hated. That. 

At a time when all I was searching for was hope, she gave me none.  Or, maybe I should say, she gave me very little.  She threw around numbers and percentages, and she was never very optimistic about his chances.  More often than not, our conversations resulted in tears.

*****

Since Steven's transplant, I have noticed that along with the gradual return of his strength, he has also had the full blown return of his personality.

Steven's sense of humor was the first thing that drew me to him 22 years ago.

Actually, that's a lie.

It was his eyes that first drew me in. 

But, honestly, it has been his sense of humor that has kept us going for 22 years.  No one can make me laugh like him and it's the worst when he makes me laugh and I really don't want to.

That happens a lot.  Secretly, I am thankful for it.

Regardless of the million things I have on my agenda, or my mental to-do list, Steven's sense of humor can generally make me stop...and lighten up a bit.

*****

I think Dr. Jacoby is a bit like me.  (That's a tough pill to swallow, but I believe it is true.)

I find that I, too, look for any possible problem and try to come up with a solution for it before it arises.  I want to prepare for disaster.  I want to be ready.  I want to be strong when I'm hit from behind. I want to take a situation, dissect it, evaluate it, and turn it over in my head a million times in an effort to steel myself against any impending blow.

And now I realize what a drain it must be to be around me. 

Steven's humor constantly temps me to "let go", and at times, I do.  Even when fully immersed in the "mom role", or the "wife role", there are times that I find myself laughing at him, generally over something he has said or done, in that comically dry, inappropriate way that Steven has.

He draws people in.

As quiet as he is, he has an effect on people and once you've gained acceptance into his circle, you are his friend for life. 

His doctor wasn't immune.

For months she met us with her stern style that was hid underneath a certain, almost apologetic, meekness.  However, with each visit (post transplant), she has been becoming softer to, and almost enamored with, my husband.  It's not hard to see why.  I am certain that he isn't her typical patient. 

Steven isn't a "typical" anything.

A couple of months ago Steven began greeting her by her first name when she entered the exam room.  "Hello Meagan!", enthusiastically met her when the door would open. You could tell that she was unsure of what she should think, but was unable to keep from smiling, despite her best attempts.

One time, when seeing her in the hall, prior to our appointment, I mentioned to Steven that she had highlighted her hair.  That day, when she entered the room, not only did she receive a "Hello Meagan!" from Steven, but also an "I LOVE what you've done with your hair!" 

I think that is when the ice started showing some serious cracks.

It was that same day, after another compliment about how young she looked, that we were allowed to space out our visits to every two weeks.  Either she really liked Steven and wanted to see him happy...OR she wanted to see him less.  Either way, it worked to our advantage.

Each visit, lately, has been much the same.  Steven, after making sure we were at least five minutes past our appointment time, would leave the exam room and go looking for her in her office.  At first I am sure she was taken aback by his audacity, but now she laughs and says, "I'm coming, I'm coming!", I believe almost waiting, and expecting, to see his face peek around the corner.

Yes.  She laughs.

Even when she doesn't want to.

Sounds familiar.

*****

Yesterday was the first visit that we have had in which there was nothing negative reported to us by Dr. Jacoby.

Nothing.

His labs looked good.  He looked good.  His oxygen was good.

She even discussed removing his central line catheter once the bone marrow results came back which would be Friday or Monday.  It was almost as if she expected the results to be good news. Although I realize that she didn't exactly say it, these days it is what she doesn't say that I listen the most intently to.


*****

Speaking of enamored...

 Yesterday, Steven and I went back to the room where the bone marrow biopsy would be taken.  We were immediately joined by a somewhat gruff nurse that started making preparations for the biopsy. A little rough around the edges, you could tell that she could dish out as well as she could take it.  She immediately started hounding Steven and giving him a hard time for various things.  He was balancing between not being amused...and being impressed with her gall. 

I think her dry sense of humor was sounding a little familiar to him.

As she was going back and forth, trying purposefully to rub him the wrong way, he piped up, "Why don't you just get out of here and go get my medicine?"  and then he laughed at his own nerve.  She got tickled, knowing she had gotten the rise out of him that she had worked so hard for.

Almost as a peace offering, she brought him back in a shamrock necklace and bracelet, "for good luck" to wear during the procedure, and told us that she would offer her prayers as well.

*****

After having seven or eight biopsies, Steven has become accustomed to the drill.  Thankfully, he hasn't had much pain associated with them, but has enjoyed giving the nurses a hard time, yelling out random things such as "KATY PERRY! That hurts!" during key moments, reminiscent of Steve Carell's, "Kelly Clarkson!" outburst in the infamous movie. 

Yesterday, however, Steven had more pain than usual.  I only knew of the discomfort by watching the strain on his face and the gritting of his teeth and hearing the sharp intake of his breaths.  I held his hand trying to comfort myself, as much as him.

In true Steven fashion, the pain didn't stop his sense of humor.  During a particularly painful moment, when she was trying to extract the core (the bone) from the biopsy site, Steven decided to yell out, "ADAM LEVINE!"  I'm not sure who was more shocked.  Me, or the nurse.

Once again, I found myself laughing...even when I didn't want to.


*****

Please pray that all good signs are pointing us in the right direction and towards God's ultimate healing.

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