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how I almost died.

It’s the strangest thing to say.  And something I thought I would never have to say.  I look at the title of this post and suspect I am being dramatic, and yet, I have the blood test results sitting on my desk right in front of me.  All I can do is shake my head because of how fast it happened.

How do I feel about that?  Well, physically, I feel amazing.

On Friday, I had a bladder infection.  I got in to see the Doctor and started on antibiotics right away, but on Saturday something was wrong.  My head was pounding and I couldn’t stay awake.  My fever gradually climbed until it was 39.3 degrees Celsius in the early afternoon.  I just couldn’t keep it down.  I had phoned a nurse earlier that day, and she had said to wait until it hit 40.  At that moment, I knew if I waited, I would be going to the hospital by ambulance.

I will skip the Emergency Room experience because it mostly includes me getting 4 full bags of IV fluid, broad spectrum antibiotics, and a CT scan.  They sent me home with an IV in my hand and instructions for coming back every night to get IV antibiotics at the hospital until they said I was done.

By day two, I woke up for the first time without a headache, I felt like a MILLION dollars.  I walked the dog around the block and simply felt amazed.  How does one go from being completely unable to function and in the hospital to happily walking her dog around the block in the sunshine in two days?  Is that even possible?  Thank God for antibiotics!

Follow-up day is today.  This morning I saw my GP and he revealed the contents of my blood tests that the ER Doctor didn’t tell me:  I was septic. It was E.Coli. I knew my blood pressure was low (53/38) but I thought it was kind of funny because the nurse kept trying different arms and saying she didn’t believe the machine.  (She even tried a child’s cuff on me to try to get a better number.) (Then she made me stand up.)  Clearly, my blood pressure couldn’t be that low.

But hearing that news now after the fact, honestly makes me tremble a little bit.  I almost missed that.  I wasn’t thinking I was at the end.  Or nearing it.  Or even right around the corner from it.  I’m totally fine.

And I suppose in some ways, I’m still in the middle of treatment.  So I wonder if this will make me different.

I will be re-assessed in the ER again tonight, and I expect to hear good news.  Of course.  It’s always good news, right?  I’ve already dodged a bullet.

POW.

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cancer is a life sentence.

Sept 2013 iphone 709

When my mom found out she had stage four metastatic breast cancer, my dad would always tell people, “We have cancer.”

Little did he know that he actually did. Today my dad received his full diagnosis. Stage four small B-cell Follicular Lymphoma. Is empathy a carcinogen?

He stayed by her side through surgery, chemo, more surgery and more treatments, guarding her against pushing herself too hard (the feisty redhead needed that) and reminding her that it was going to be worth it.

How did he know it would be?

Something inside of him just said they were in this together.

And I’ve been watching. Honestly, there is something FIERCE happening here. So I have come to the conclusion that even though I don’t have cancer, my parents both now have the benefit of something I do not: PERSPECTIVE.

I want to live like I know I’m dying.

Cancer can’t take everything away. It will alter your family, it will change your body, but it cannot force you to surrender your will.

And so, I think…perhaps I can live in a new way. Every day AWARE. Present moments ENGAGED. Fully given before I am TAKEN.

 

“You prepare a table before me IN THE PRESENCE OF my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
[Psalm 23:5]

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“Fighter”

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This painting is an emotional one for me…like a war on canvas.  I used only a palette knife because it was the only thing that seemed appropriate.

I needed to express the fight that happens between cancer and the will to live, which is an emotional one for anyone who is familiar.  Not only is my mother and grandmother dealing with cancer right now, but a friend’s sister is as well.  I painted this as a contribution to a fundraising auction that she will be hosting next week.

It is not normal for me to sit back after painting something and weep.  This one hit home for me.

Here is a closer up shot of the right side.

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Acrylic on Canvas
by Misty Bedwell

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