Well, I've told you folks about that which is becoming a nightly ritual. Becky and I have cuddle sessions each night, usually around the time we're tired enough to shut down all other activities, but still too awake to simply drift off to sleep. I'd been dreading last nights forthcoming session, but knew it was inevitable. And when it happened, I opened fire with all guns a'blazin'.
"We need to talk about what the test today showed in my lungs." It would have been nice to ignore such things. Wait for some doctor to say, "Ummm...Rob? We kind of need to get you into the hospital; an ambulance is on its way." It's almost 24 hours later, and there's been no call. The doctor reading the test has probably checked off a little box somewhere labeled "smoker." Still, Becky and I needed to discuss what to do if the very worst should occur.
The worst, of course, would be cancer. What do we do if it's cancer? Well, I told Becky that I was fairly confident that it wasn't. For starters, my family genetics isn't tagged for it. Cancer, my friends, is a genetic disorder. The only cancer my family seems to be tagged for is leukemia. My brother had it. My Uncle Jimmy had it. And so it would seem that it runs on my biological mother's side of the family, leaving me one more thing for which I can thank her.
Another thing involving a cancer verdict is the fact that no one, absolutely no one, has picked up any signs of it thus far. There was nothing detected back in February, when I had a chest x-ray prior to surgery. My PCP, who listens to my lungs and heart during every visit, has said each time that everything sounds clear. The only part of my blood work to come back abnormal has been a slightly elevated white count, pointing toward infection...
...which is EXACTLY what the test I had yesterday was supposed to reveal. A White Blood Cell Scan using Ceretec is only designed to seek out and light up infection. From the look of it, I have an infection in my lungs and, from what Becky tells me, my gall bladder...not my uterus.
Still, I have policies by which I now live, and screwing around with the serious stuff isn't in me any more. Be open and honest. Prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. These are the things that, without them, I'd probably be a bigger mess than I actually am. I broached the subject as gently as possible, but I didn't hold back. And that means there was one of my dramatic monologues during our discussion.
"If it turns out to be something like cancer, then...well, you've changed my game plan. There was a time when I thought, 'If I ever end up with the likes of lung cancer, I'd simply ask to be kept as comfortable as possible.' I wasn't going to fight it, because I don't have much fight left in me. I've fought with diabetes my entire life. Then my fight was carried on to the complications of diabetes....I was just going to ask for comfort...and then you came along and gave me more reasons to fight. You keep telling me that I'm the best...Well, you make me the best. So I'll fight for you."
With only a lit candle and my voice set to that soft, soothing tone she loves so much, such words brought tears to her eyes. They weren't said to be poetic. They were said because they're true.
So what would I do with a serious diagnosis? My lungs lit up like trees on Christmas, and I'm still smoking?!? Do I need G-d to throw a building on top of me to give me a clue?
No...But look above. You can see where most of my willpower has gone. I'm not superhuman. And if something that serious comes along, I'm going to ask for extreme treatment, starting with the only method I can think of to kill my addiction to cigarettes: I'm going to ask I be put in a chemically induced coma for a few days. Something that serious is going to land me in a hospital anyway. Surely such a hospitalization can be used to help me kick something that has a profound physical and psychological grip on me. "Use a nicotine patch." The patch gives me a rash. "Try the gum." I have a bad habit of swallowing any - and I mean ANY - piece of gum that enters my mouth. "There are pills." Yeah...with side effects that make smoking look like a healthy habit. A few days without cigarettes, with them filtering all poisons from my blood, will help me. And while I'm in the hospital, Becky would be at home, spraying the stench of stale smoke out of everything. I don't care if it takes $30 of Lysol to do it; get the smell out of our home.
And you can bet that I'll be trying to beg my doctor for something like the above on my next visit.
Meanwhile, I'll tell you what I think the test showed. I have a relatively mild case of chronic bronchitis. So mild, in fact, that it doesn't show up clearly in the most common of chest x-rays, and it can't be heard clearly when a doctor is listening for it. And what kicks it into higher gear is my mold induced asthma. Yeah, I don't talk about this one often, as it isn't much of a bother. Give me air that's thick with humidity and THAT'S when I have difficulty breathing. A couple of puffs off on an inhaler and I'm in great shape. I haven't even been hospitalized for my asthma...that's how inconsequential it's been.
As for my gall bladder...I'm starting to think that the gall bladder is going the way of the dodo and the appendix. Many people are losing them, although I don't know what they do without them. Perhaps it's a little bladder infection. Perhaps it'll need to come out. Whatever the case, I'm not concerned with it, either.
Finally, to my sweet, beautiful Becky: You think I'm crazy for loving you and wanting to marry you? Well, there might be prettier models of female out there that are "built for speed." But none could possibly be as loving and understanding as the woman who is at my side right now. Many other fish in the sea? You are that rare catch; the one that makes me boast on a constant basis, telling the world I was the lucky one that to have caught you. There will never be anyone else. I love you!
Happy birthday, my love.
Everyone else...Be well and DFTBA!
Because this post is somewhat serious and scary, I thought I'd end it on a funnier note. Becky and I have run into this, and we can't stop watching it! Enjoy!