Saturday, July 21, 2018

Flash backs to summer of 1995 and 1997

07/20/2018 (Friday)
I received my new Medicare card. "COVERAGE SINCE 11-97" it says on the front. The new cards don't have our social security number on them.
23 years of MM, 30 years breast cancer, lifetime of running from fear.
July 28, 1995, was my official and first consult with Dr. Vandermolen and Dr. Barth, following my first bone marrow biopsy. This time of year is always an emotional time for me.
Two young and handsome men in white med coats and very sad faces explained that 98% of my plasma cells were cancer and they called it multiple myeloma -- terminal -- and I was admitted to Hoag Hospital the next day, surgical tubes in my chest, preparing for high-dose chemo. That hospital became my second home. All I could do was what I had been doing since I was around 11 years of age....alcohol! Fear and loneliness, pretty much the only feelings I knew, ever, and my only escape from those feelings was a bottle. My childhood was riddled with violence and watching my mother get physically abused.
Seven years post breast cancer (1989) for this! No medical insurance. Nobody to talk to that could possible understand me, so I thought. So I kept drinking, and drinking. I don't think I took a sober breath unless I was in the hospital.
07/28/97 - "Cheryl is seen today, in following up for Stage II, IgG multiple myeloma. When she was last seen in June, her liver functions were elevated, and she was drinking excessive amounts of alcohol at that time. She has, since, stopped drinking and is now attending AA faithfully." ???
Well, that was not true. I was fighting something bigger than I and bigger than cancer. 10/31/97, after Hoag admission and alcohol poisoning, I was admitted to rehab. It has been a long battle, some losses and some wins. My mother died when I was six months sober. My sobriety date, by mere coincidence, is on her birthday, August 23, 2009. Thank you, mom, for giving me my life when yours was taken away, but bonding us still with your natal birthday and my sober birthday! The best gift you ever gave me. The gift of life, again. If only one person is proud of me, I want it to be you.
I fought for years in court for medical insurance, so getting my new Medicare card is surely bittersweet. My most important "win" is my Faith today. A Faith that keeps me in the Light. A Faith that does abandon me.
The recurrence of shingles on my forehead last night is a reminder of how sensitive my immune systems is, particularly now that the MM is no longer in remission. I am not sure how long God wants me here, but that is how long I shall stay.
Praying for some much needed pedal time this weekend.
God bless!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.