And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
I have bronchitis, and two little patches of pneumonia growing in my lungs.
Well, there’s a weird way to start a Moment! But bear with me. There’s a reason.
There are so many things they don’t tell you in Cancer School. I don’t even know where Cancer School is, actually…I think it must be right next door to Parent School in some nondescript building in the middle of nowhere. Because we can’t find these bastions of knowledge. We struggle along and wish that someone could have filled us in BC (before cancer) and BK (before kids).
Well, I’m telling. Cancer Surprises 101.
There’s so much about the cancer recovery process that isn’t spoken about to the general public. Watch a movie, and you’ll see cancer patients being told, “We got it all!” and “You’re clear!” and the patient and their families burst into tears and then romp out into the sunshine to return to life as it was before the diagnosis.
Trust me, it’s not that way. But then little things start coming along to let you know you are indeed still the person you were before cancer. Here’s some that have struck me happy:
*I tried on a shirt in the dressing room and my eyes didn’t go immediately to my right side, to see if the difference was noticeable.
*I forgot to put on my “sleeping bra” and yet still managed to sleep comfortably through the night.
*A song that caused me to burst into tears all through the Summer of Cancer no longer brings sadness. In fact, I can belt it out without my voice cracking.
And then there was today. I’ve been coughing coughing coughing for two weeks now. The pollen count went way up and I’m asthmatic, so I assumed it was asthma and allergies. My emergency inhaler, which I hadn’t used in over a year, suddenly came out of hiding and found its way to my lungs, first once a day, then twice. Yesterday, the cough suddenly grew deeper and I woke this morning with chills and a fever. As an asthmatic, I’ve dealt often with bronchitis and pneumonia, so the first thing I did was call in for an appointment. I’d also been lectured by my oncologist that the cancer treatments I received would leave me somewhat short in the resistance department for quite some time.
“A few months?” I asked back then.
“Maybe years,” he said.
But here’s the first weird thing that actually made me smile. I typically get bronchitis or pneumonia two to four times a year. Since my breast cancer diagnosis two years ago – not once. It was like my body shoved everything else out of the way to focus only on getting rid of the cancer. And now…well, we’re back to business as normal.
This “normal” feel continued as I went to my clinic. The Cancer Center is on one side. Everything Else Center is on the other. I haven’t been to Everything Else in almost two years – not since June 20, 2017. Today, I breezed past Cancer, parked in the Everything Else lot, and walked in.
Then I went through more normal. Breathing like a constipated train while the doctor listened to my lungs. Chugging off to x-ray to see if there might be pneumonia. And then back to my doctor. My regular doctor. My normal doctor.
“You haven’t been on antibiotics in two years!” he exclaimed.
“Two years!” I echoed.
“You haven’t had bronchitis or pneumonia in two years!” he crowed.
“Two years!” I sang and raised one fist in triumph.
“You’re normal-sick!” he cheered.
“Normal-sick!” I cheered with him, raising both fists and then we gave each other high fives.
Oh, what a weird, weird moment. But it was wonderful. I was at the doctor’s office, just like an everyday normal person. I had an everyday normal illness. I would get better after an everyday normal run of antibiotics and rest.
And my body returned to business as normal. The red flags were down. I had a sickness I wasn’t scared of. I had a sickness I was familiar with. I’ve pretty much graduated with a PhD from Asthma/Bronchitis/Pneumonia School. Normal.
I’ll probably be bitching about pneumonia tomorrow. But for today, I’m happy. If I ever find that Cancer School, I have a few lectures to give. I have a few for Parent School too.
Oh, yes. That helps. Despite. Anyway.
The Bronchitis/Pneumonia arsenal, complete with Starbucks!