Well, it’s been a hot minute. At first, I was just going to say all of this in an email to my loyal followers, but I was afraid people wouldn’t read the email. Plus, it might get a little longer than an email should really be. Nobody needs that.
This has been a hard year. There have been some good points for some of my friends and family…babies, new jobs, exciting adventures.
But, for me especially, it’s been a sucky year. (Does anybody else say sucky? I really don’t know any other way to describe it without cussing.)
A new year is always hard for us. There is always some financial thing to be dealt with. Getting used to retirement and where to go from there has been more time consuming than we thought. Our kids are grown but there is still a lot going on. So…January was busy.
Our youngest went back to college that first month of the year. It’s a small college with lots of foreign students who also went home for winter break. She immediately got sick, but she tested negative for strep and flu and they told her it was just some sort of virus. She comes home almost every weekend.
After that, our middle child got sick. He still went to work despite feeling crappy and when he went to Urgent Care, he also tested negative for flu and strep and was told it was just some sort of virus.
Two weeks later, I was sick. I was sick for three weeks and if you look at the list of Covid symptoms, the only one I didn’t have was a cough. Just walking from the living room to the bathroom absolutely winded me and we do not have a huge house or steps to climb inside. I also tested negative for flu and strep and was told it was just a virus.
Avoiding friends and family for three weeks wasn’t as hard as one would think when you’re miserably sick and exhausted. I’m afraid I wasn’t much company.
Then they decided Covid was here to stay and the virus was going to be a big deal and “lockdowns” and “mandates” started happening. I won’t lie about it…it threw me into a bit of a depression. I am definitely a hugger and a people person. Family and friends mean more to me than any earthly possession ever could. It was a hard life isolating from people, although my daughter did get sent home from college and I really enjoyed having her back with me every day.
My grandparents, mom, and sister all live an hour away, so I didn’t visit because everyone kept saying “what if you carry the virus to them and they die. Wouldn’t you feel guilty?” Then I started wondering how guilty I would feel if someone or something else caused them to die and I missed out on the chance to be with them. It was a moot conversation though because they got tired of waiting on me and showed up at my door. My grandmother said they are in their 80s and have lived good lives and they refused to hide in the house in fear. I personally don’t care what other people think about that. I just want to be like that if I make it to 84.
Anyway, the virus still made life hard and depressing for me. My husband and youngest son were considered essential workers. My oldest was laid off and didn’t get his first unemployment check until the week his office actually reopened. So he went at least a month without any pay. Luckily, his landlord was very lenient. We helped as much as we could financially, but it was a struggle.
I kept waiting and hoping that things would go back to normal, but it was almost May and I needed my thyroid medicine refilled. My regular practitioner was out of the office, so I had to see someone different. He ran the tests, refilled my medicine, and diagnosed a pinched nerve I was having issues with. A short time later, I started having other weird symptoms and I visited my regular practitioner. She ordered some more tests and they called the next day and asked me to go to the ER at a larger hospital in the state.
Oh yeah, and they said, “we think you have leukemia.”
Turns out I did. I spent 26 straight days in the hospital. My husband wasn’t allowed to stay at first, but I had a couple of episodes and they made an exception. Apparently, I did not react well to chemo and steroids at the same time. They relaxed the covid rules the next week, but I honestly don’t remember much about my first three weeks in, so I mostly know what my husband has told me.
I had to go back for a few more hospital stays and a couple of ER visits. I achieved molecular remission after the first round, so that’s promising, but I’m on maintenance drugs and infusions right now. Bone marrow transplant was an option, but I don’t have the mental strength to withstand all that comes with it. There are some newer (and to me, more promising) treatments and if I relapse (I’m praying not), they seem like better options to me. I’m also participating in a study to see if I have covid antibodies. I honestly hope I do. It would be one less worry.
So that’s where I’m at right now. Life is not normal, and I don’t know that it ever will be. Life is a day to day process anyway, but when you have a disease and you are unsure about things, there isn’t a lot of planning ahead.
Depression was strong with me. I honestly thought I was going crazy. The ER doctors said I wasn’t crazy, so that was a relief, but it wasn’t until a friend—who happens to work oncology—told me that chemo depletes serotonin and dopamine that it all started to make sense. It was a lot easier to deal with after that, but I also have an incredibly strong support system. My heart breaks for all those who don’t. Hopefully, after I heal, I can be of help to someone else who has to navigate all of this.
Blogging, writing, creating, sharing—those are still my passions. I don’t want to give any of that up. I still want to be with my family and friends and create beautiful things and travel to relaxing places and eat amazing food.
Physically, I have issues that I didn’t have before or that are worse than before. Chemo drugs can aggravate neurological conditions. I still had nerve damage from the Chiari a few years ago. Chemo made that much worse. I’m just now able to type and finger dexterity is not definite in everyday life. Neither is walking in a straight line.
I’m not quite done in this world yet, but I’m still trying to figure out how to fit That One Mom into it all. No matter what, I want everyone to know that I’m not giving up…not on life or sharing what I love. I’ll just be doing it a little slower than I want to!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for being interested. And thank you to all those who have lifted me in prayer and positive thoughts. That means more than you will ever know!