I ran into a friend at the grocery store yesterday. She’s a nurse, and she’s funny and she makes me laugh. She lives less than a block from me and has offered to help with any funky medical stuff (like drains and questions about drains) once I get home from the hospital. I warned her that I was taking her offer seriously and that I would indeed call her. “You better,” she said.
Tuesday at the gym (my first time back since being diagnosed), the owner quietly walked up to me and said, “You’ve got this. Stay strong.” I’m not sure how he found out, but I was touched. He’s a good guy.
I live in one of those old-fashioned we’ve-got-your-back communities. And it is comforting to know that I can’t go far without bumping into someone who wants to share a word of encouragement or extend an offer to help in some way. This town takes care of its own.
There is a lot to be said for that.
In two weeks I’ll be in the operating room. That fact feels no more real to me today than it did nearly a month ago. I’m not sure why this still feels like it isn’t happening to me, like it’s a mistake I can’t quite figure out. I am at times terrified by the idea of what’s to come, and at other times completely at peace, as though I haven’t a care in the world. None of it makes any sense.
The hematologist called to say that most of my blood work is in and nothing looks terribly out of place. She did say there was something a little off with the PTT, so they are running more tests and will get back to me. When I googled PTT and saw “liver disease,” I had a moment, so I’m thinking I should back off google again. It’s a vicious cycle.
The insurance company also called this week. My genetic testing has been approved. It’s a little weird to think about how much of my blood is out there, in labs, being analyzed and scrutinized and swished around in test tubes. I can’t help but think the more they look, the more they’ll find. I know what they find is supposed to help me, but it’s still a strange feeling, like having a lot of loose ends.
My friend said she was happy to see me smiling. “You’re handling this so well.”
I told her it’s because I just can’t accept that this is happening to me. I know she sees a lot of hard and heartbreaking things in her job. She takes care of very sick kids and I can’t begin to imagine what that must be like. “It’s your body’s way of protecting you,” she said. “Or maybe God’s way.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that, how people will often say “God only gives what you can handle.” Maybe it’s the opposite of that, maybe we just handle whatever God — or life — gives. Even if it means that when it comes to the really big stuff, the heavy heartbreaking life-altering stuff, we don’t really handle it in the way people think, we just kind of sit with it, until over time, we can’t remember what it was like before it was there.