Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Umbrella

It hit me out of nowhere.

After days of having the most inner calm that I've had since I can really even remember, the hands of anxiety came and firmly gripped me...and squeezed.  

I was standing in the line at Dollar General, doing the ordinary task of picking up toothpaste and trash bags, when I felt like someone had hit me in the stomach.  There sandwiched in line between customers waiting to check out, I thought I was going to be sick. Thankfully, I was able to pay for my items without leaving anything behind for the cashier.

When I got home I saw that Dr. Jacoby's nurse had called and the feeling intensified.  I had been corresponding with Dr. Jacoby by email and I didn't realize how much anxiety that the 314 area code caused me.

Athough the call wasn't accompanied by any bad news, I hung up and was in tears.

What I DID find out is that the transplant WILL be September 9th.  We will return to St. Louis on Sunday, September 6th for Steven to start chemo.

This coming Tuesday, we will go to St. Louis for a previously scheduled doctor's appointment.  While there, Steven will have to retake a pulmonary function test, as well as have another echocardiogram, to verify he is healthy enough to go to transplant.  (He had the same tests in May, but the tests had to be within a 90 day period of transplant, and we will be outside of that.)

He will also have another bone marrow biopsy.

Steven and I both marveled that he had to repeat the biopsy.  I am sure there are reasons, but from our vantage point we know he has leukemia.  The plan of action has been set.  There has been no talk of changing that, regardless of the status of the disease...  So, truthfully, we aren't sure the reason for it, other than to possibly gauge the progress/regression.

Right now, all we know about the donor is that it is a 22 year old male and his blood type is B+.  This means that Steven's blood type will change.  Although for some the process goes quickly, the nurse said it was more common for the change in blood type to take several months.  She also said that for a time, Steven could be without a type. 

What does that even mean?  How is that possible?

This change, and the time it takes to complete it, can cause Steven to be anemic until the process is completed.  Having to have regular transfusions is not uncommon but the nurse assured me that the white blood cells could still very much be doing their job-eliminating the cancer.

Hearing about the long road ahead of us just fed my emotions that were already bubbling over.  The news wasn't new, but somehow, some way,  I hadn't let the weight of it settle on me.

Until today.

*****

As I sat in my closet floor sorting clothes after completing a manic cleaning session, Lakyn told me that someone had came to see Daddy and was currently praying with him in the living room...

I looked at my clean closet, and saw Steven's shirts and jeans, and I wondered how I would ever survive if I had to live without the man who wore them.  I knew then that, in these past few weeks, I had been lured into a false sense of security by all the normalcy surrounding me:  back to school shopping, school forms, packing lunches, cleaning, mowing, taking the kids to school, and even working from home some for the funeral home.   It became easier than it had been to push the gravity of the situation a little further back in my mind.

Now, trust me, the reality of the situation never leaves.  It wakes me at 2 am with a prayer on my lips for God to spare my husband.  And then again at 4 am.  I send up prayers all day long.  But, lately, I had been able to navigate around it, instead of being stuck in it.

I'm afraid I am stuck again.

I have to trust God that these moments were not an oversight of worry on my part, but rather a blessing to my kids.  A calm in the storm.

But, sadly, the storm isn't over...

Your prayers serve as the umbrella that protects us from that storm.  Please keep them coming.