I feel crappy. All. The. Time. But I don't look particularly sick. Well, maybe I do. I don't really know. But that's what I tell myself ... "Hey, I look normal. I don't look sick."
My hair hasn't fallen out. It has changed. It has gotten thinner.
But on Doctor Day or Lab Day leukemia smacks me in the face. Yup. There's no denying I have cancer. In my blood. Pumping and rushing throughout my entire body, to every cell.
I'm usually the youngest one in the waiting room and today is no exception. There are a spattering of patients in wheelchairs with their caregivers. The caregivers look more war worn than the patients do.
I hate being here. I hate the way the other patients look at me. I imagine they are wondering just what kind of cancer I must have. They have a look of pity on their faces. They call me "Miss." They are all old enough to be my parents.
I don't belong here.
"Moonis?" The nurse calls my name. Sigh. Back I trudge to the Stick Room.
I am grateful that my blood can be tested and measures the progression of my disease. It's something real. Something I can track. White blood cells can be counted. I can see that the Super Dangerous but Absolutely Necessary chemotherapy pills are working.
In October, on Diagnosis Day, my oncologist told me I would feel poorly for 3-6 months, but then ... THEN I may start to feel the best I've felt in years. I'm in month 3. The drugs are working and I'm trying so very hard to stay positive and keep a good attitude. It is crushing to see that my blood is responding to treatment and yet I still feel so badly. Most days, I'm able to separate how I feel physically from how I feel emotionally. Most days, I'm happy. Most days.
I'm not going to die from leukemia today, next week, next month or even in the next few years. Statistically, I'll be living with leukemia for a long, long time.
And that's awesome.
It's awesome because I'll be living. It's awesome because I'll get to hear my children laugh. It's awesome because I'll get to feel my husband's gentle kisses. It's awesome because I'll get to see another day.