three-sixty

It always strikes me as amazing, the way God brings things full-circle. Almost 20 years ago, when my dad hadn’t been diagnosed with liver cancer yet and I was looking forward to my first year in college with a nervous mixture of excitement, dread, and anticipation, I went to get a routine physical exam and lab tests done for school, and the world changed. Results on my lab tests that doctors could not figure out or explain, other than projections, hypotheses, and assumptions, led me to getting my blood drawn once a month while at Smith, going to different doctors for more tests, an ultra-sound, a bone marrow biopsy. Conjectures that I may have leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus. Ongoing tests and exams proved inconclusive, and eventually a specialist stated I probably had something called leukopenia and I had a genetic predisposition for lupus, which could flare up at any time.

Here I sit, fifteen years later, after another routine blood test, and again the same pattern emerges. Spiked globulin levels, unequal protein levels, low white and red blood cell counts. Something, maybe my proteins, eating away at my blood cells. My doctor told me he was ‘obligated’ to send me to a hemato-oncologist for a bone marrow biopsy and more tests, to rule out anything concerning. I tried to tell him this had been the same pattern 15 years ago. He apologized.

I broke down to my parents on the telephone several minutes later. I was triggered by past memories of that uncertain, scary, shaky, physically painful period of my life – a period I thought was forever behind me. Another bone marrow biopsy? Drilling into my back to extract the bone marrow – I don’t remember crying, but I remember a tiny smidge of the level of pain. And what if they do find I have some strange rare autoimmune disease? Or what if I don’t? The dark cloud hanging over my head. The high costs for all the services.

I have to be well. I want to be well. God make me well. It’s all I can ask for at this point.