Last week, I had one heckuva crazy day. Thursday was going along swimmingly, until it wasn’t. Driving home from a patient visit, I was overcome with an extraordinary, fully drenching and dizzying hot flash and nausea the likes of which I hadn’t encountered since my chemo-daze (pun not actually intended, but it works).
On the 101 Freeway, I thought: I’m going to have to f-bomb throw up. Where on EARTH is this going to happen (wondering Why wasn’t even on the radar)? I prayed with all my might to moooooove the traffic fast enough to get me onto an off-ramp. The Silver Lining was that I made the off-ramp; however, I barely got the car door open and didn’t even get my car into park before, well, you know.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the worst thrower-upper. First of all, I DESPISE it. When I have a stomach flu, I will lay in bed for days rather than toss my cookies. I’m NOT one of those people who thinks that retching is cathartic, who feels “better” after. Secondly, I am so unattractive when I heave. I moan, cry and laugh. Yes, laugh. That nervous, twitchy laughter. Kind of like people sometimes do at funerals. Ever seen that? I feel so sorry for those people, as I do for myself when I upchuck.
As I was doing a face plant in the dirt, I heard a car door behind me. I thought: WTF? Can’t I vomitus in peace? The only thing worse than heaving is being watched by someone while I barf. The next thing I knew, I look up and it was the HOTY. Yes, the Husband Of The Year showed up at the precise moment when I needed him the most. Talk about the penultimate Silver Lining.
After what felt like 3 hours, but was really more like 15 minutes, I pulled myself together (with the help of the HOTY) and got myself home…to the couch. I was incredibly weak, parched, headachy and for the first time wondered WTF was going on with me. Food poisoning? Sinus infection? FBC? That’s the thing about having had FBC: when something mind (or rather stomach) blowing like this happens, thoughts inevitably go to: could it be back? is it possible?
The next day, my doctor sent me for blood tests to figure out the answer to that WTF question (though he’s way too polite to swear). When I asked the phlebotomist what tests were ordered she said: CBC (complete blood count), Chem Panel (test that gives important information about the status of your kidneys, blood sugar, and electrolyte and acid/base balance), and CA 27.29.
CA, I wondered. CA stands for cancer. Are we testing for f-bomb cancer? Uh huh. That’s what it was. The antigen CA 27.29 is found in the blood of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. If CA 27.29 levels rise, it may be an indication of an early FBC recurrence.
In an minute, I was back at that place of: Do I or Don’t I Have FBC?
Fast forward (at a snail’s pace) to late that evening. My doctor called to tell me that the CA 27.29 test was all clear (MAJOR Silver Lining!!!!). He said that I probably had some big, bad virus that went through me like a mack truck.
This situation so vividly and clearly reminded me how life can change in just one minute. Literally, an instant. One minute we are healthy. The next minute we are not.
What an incredible opportunity and yet another wake up call for me to celebrate every moment of health, which was the Silver Lining of being a vomitus rex on the side of the freeway.