TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE. LITTLE CHANGES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
It was the darkest day of my life. Not the day you might think. Not the day my husband died. It happened before that.
It was early April, the day my husband was scheduled for surgery. That was the day the surgeon emerged from the operating room two hours late – two hours after the time the surgery was expected to end. He ushered us out of the main waiting area and into a private, adjoining room and he closed the door. That’s when he told us that he was terribly sorry but they had been wrong. What they were so sure was a blood clot against the portal vein in my husband’s liver was, in fact, a large tumor. The cancer was back.
As the saying goes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and in my pursuit of higher learning much time was spent on anatomy, physiology, and pathology. I’d found the classes fascinating and I’d paid close attention. I’d learned how the human body works, starting at the cellular level. I’d studied the circulatory system; how a cell in the blood stream is transported through the body like a leaf swept along with the current of a river. I understood what a tumor pressed against the permeable wall of a vein could do. I knew that once the mutated cells were loose in the bloodstream there would be no stopping them. I’d studied hard and I’d aced my tests. And so, I knew.
The room started spinning and I couldn’t really hear much after that. I remember I had to find a bathroom because I became physically ill. When I returned to the little room, the doctor tried to explain what this all meant. However, my ability to hear and my level of comprehension were intermittent at best. I became intensely aware of the sound of my own heartbeat echoing inside my skull, as though I’d run full speed up ten flights of stairs then cupped my hands over my ears. Sandwiched between the deafening pulses of blood through my brain, I heard bits and pieces of the doctor’s attempt at optimism: “Start chemo… got it early… chances are good… still get a transplant…” But I knew.
Only two other thoughts were running through my head. The first, oddly enough, was my deep concern for the people in the next room. In an out-of-body moment of self-observation, I suddenly realized that I was no longer sitting in stunned silence, tears running down my face; I was now doubled over and I was screaming. Reality was crashing in and because my body lacked the physical size to contain the enormity of it all, I had unknowingly morphed into a kind of human volcano, earsplitting wails erupting from my mouth. I thought how that must be scaring the hell out of the people in the next room – who were waiting, as I had been, for their loved one to come out of surgery. You see, what was coming out of my mouth was not a sound one would associate with humans. It was the sound of mournful horror. A primal manifestation of terror and disbelief. It is the sound that would come out if the Earth cracked open and all of hell spilled forth. Because, in that moment, I knew.
The other thought was this. We had been so hopeful, so sure, that this surgery was the opening of the door to recovery. This surgery was the last hurdle to be cleared so my husband could get on the list for his liver transplant, and a long, happy, healthy life was ahead. We were so close and we were so excited.
But it wasn’t the case. This, instead, was our worst nightmare. Still, I knew one more thing had to be done that was even worse than what was happening now. With this realization, I bellowed as I felt myself falling into the abyss.
Somewhere within these hospital walls, the sweetest, kindest soul lay deeply sleeping, blissfully unaware. In a few hours, he would be awake. How, in God’s name, would I tell this to my husband?
So, on the seventh of April, on a beguiling spring day, the lights went out, the walls closed in, the sky fell down and the rug got pulled out from under me, all at once. It was the beginning of the end of the world. And I knew.
Next week's post, Chapter Two; Tipsy on Thursday, December 17th at 10 am Eastern, 1: pm Pacific time
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Thank you so much, xoAmie
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