It’s Time To Bloom

My story begins in late November of 2016. I had a bladder infection that became antibiotic-resistant and traveled to my kidneys. My amazing OBGYN, who has since retired, found some discrepancies in my blood tests and sent me to an equally fantastic urologist, who sent me to an outstanding nephrologist (kidney doctor). To say I was lucky to find these kind, down-to-earth physicians—people I could feel comfortable enough to open up to, feeling at ease and comfortable with—is very rare.

My nephrologist thought that it would be of great importance to have a kidney biopsy. I agreed. So, I had the biopsy and spent a night in the hospital.

Receiving the Diagnosis

In just a few days, the nephrologist called me. I remember it was midday, and I received a phone call from him. I think he wanted to set up an appointment for him to go over the results with me. I remember my heart beating so hard that I thought I might pass out. I told him that I wanted to know right then and there what the biopsy results were. This kind man agreed. However, knowing how anxious I was, he put things into easy wording for someone sweating and hyperventilating—into words that a layperson could handle and grasp.

He said, “I’m so sorry to say that I see some chemotherapy in your future.” I then asked, “Are you saying that my biopsy shows that I have cancer?” After a silence that felt like hours, he replied, “I’m so sorry, but yes.” “What kind of cancer?” I asked. “Leukemia” was his reply. It turned out to be Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia, T cell lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Sadly, the multiple myeloma has resurfaced. Stunned, I called my husband at work, and being the loving, kind man that he is, he rushed home, making a 45-minute drive seem like 10 minutes. We couldn’t talk or even move; we were both paralyzed with fear. He would prove to be the most diligent, loving, involved caregiver a cancer patient could ever ask for.

Meeting My Oncologist

On the day I was to meet my oncologist, it was very early December of 2016. I was 57 years old but felt a few decades younger. After all, I was a power yoga practitioner, and I had a wonderful career with a thriving clientele. It was my intention to actually open a power yoga studio, but the chemo I had to endure (almost 40 rounds) left me, to this day, fatigued and exhausted. When my husband and I met with the oncologist, I pulled what I can only call a Charlie Brown. It was the first snow in Boston of the winter of 2016-2017. The oncologist, who I ran from, not walked from, began speaking methodically and rehearsed.

I turned my gaze to the wall-to-floor window. It began to snow, and the flakes were larger than I’ve ever seen, flowing so, I can only say, “ethereally,” like angel feathers, and the doctor’s voice was what we all remember from Charlie Brown: “wha wha wha wha!” He knew I wasn’t listening; it was just too surreal, so he spoke to my husband instead. I then got up from my chair; nobody else existed at this time, and with childlike wonder, I put the palms of my hands on the cold window. It felt good, as I was so stressfully hot. ANGEL FEATHERS was all I could think of.

The impact of chemotherapy

I ended up with copious amounts of chemo, from which I still struggle. My legs and arms have lost their power. I’m now back to beginner-level yoga, but I’m doing it.

As all cancer survivors have in common, the debilitating fatigue. I could sleep until 10 or 11 am, but now I try each morning to set my alarm to 7–7:30. I might have my coffee or tea and honey in bed while I watch a few cooking shows, but at least I’m up, I shower, I get dressed, and I plan out my day. We live near many beaches and marinas, and you can be sure to find me at one with a cup of coffee, sharing my breakfast with the seagulls. It’s a magnificent life.

Blooming: A new perspective on life

It was a horrendous winter. I had pneumonia from November through March. In 2023-2024, I’m changing my way of thinking, and I have developed a beautiful hobby of gardening (strawberries, tomatoes, cukes, lettuce, and so much more). And as I dig my hands into the Earth to create life and watch each life form bloom, I realize that it’s actually me that is blooming. Life is difficult, but it’s also amazing, beautiful, and worth every embrace that you can muster.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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