Takes A Licking And Keeps On Ticking

Call me a Timex watch.  I take a licking and keep on ticking.   I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.   I went to the doctor complaining about a possible ear infection.   She did the normal exam.  When she reached under my very long hair to feel my glands her face showed alarm.  She asked how long my neck had been swollen.  I didn't even know it was.  My long hair was always down.  I never saw my neck without the hair hanging around.   When she had me look in the mirror I was shocked.  She asked if I had been coughing.  I said yes, but reminded her that I smoked and had thought it was attributable to that.  She sent me to have a biopsy the next day at the nearby hospital.  I had the biopsy on a Thursday and was told I wouldn't hear the results until Monday.   That was the longest weekend I ever lived.    Turns out it was malignant.  
I had chemotherapy once a week for 6 months.  I felt like cr*p.  I looked worse.   All my long hair fell out of my head during a shower.  I just stood in the shower and cried.  I was so proud of my long hair.  I thought of it as my signature - everyone knew me by my long thick head of hair.  

Going through all of it taught me many things.  I really experienced the love and support of my immediate family.  I found out that I was not as close to my siblings as I had thought I was, or maybe I learned I wasn't as high a priority with them as I had thought.  Either way that revelation was saddening.
I learned that people liked me for me...not just because I looked good.  I learned to be less judgmental.  I learned to let go of vanity.  I learned that everyday can be a blessing if you allow it to be.  I bet I learned even more that doesn't occur to me now.  

I am glad I survived.  

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51-55, F
Sep 25, 2010