I sat criss-cross apple sauce in the infusion chair in a private space that must have been bigger than my kitchen.
With my laptop open on the small table provided and piping hot hospital coffee in hand, I was determined to use work as a distraction over the following six-hour treatment.
Ready to start my new chemotherapy to attack all of my B-cells, Nurse Shirley started the drip with the push of a few buttons, explaining the process and signs to watch out for.
The taper had begun and within the hour I began to feel my face flush with heat and my throat scratchy and sore.
Alone in the large room and in the midst of a business call with my dear friend and senior executive, I began to feel my chest tighten.
Breathing felt like a chore as each inhale was labored with a loud wheeze and exhale with wheezing even louder. My throat began to close to the point that it felt I was breathing through a tiny cocktail straw.
I ended my conversation abruptly with an apology and pushed the CALL button on my remote.
“Hello, how can I help?” Answered a CNA on the end of the line.
“I–can’t–breathe,” I choked.
Within moments my large room was crammed with nurses and assistants, squeezing syringes of Benadryl and Methylprednisolone into my IV, forcing a nebulizer in my mouth and albuterol into my lungs.
What seemed like an eternity fighting for air turned into a dizzying spiral of darkness. The floor lead reclined my chair and positioned my head on a newly covered pillow as another placed two heated blankets over my lap that comforted me like warm angel wings.
“Get some rest. Don’t fight it.” She whispered.
I closed my eyes to wake to the beeping of the new drip and three ladies in blue watching over me with concern. I was horrified but with an alarming sense of positivity and contentment.
The drive home was a haze as I’d have to tell my family what happened, knowing how hurt they would be that they aren’t able to be at the hospital for support.
Greeted with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, fuzzy Christmas socks and a new sparkly cup to lift my spirits, I had never been happier to see the faces of my husband, son, and loyal beasts in the form of a Siberian Husky and German Shepherd.
I stayed awake the entire evening, paranoid that the Benadryl and steroids would wear off in my sleep… leaning into work. With laptop open and projects in the midst of planning, work had the magic to soften fears and fill a void with purpose and passion.
Gratitude & Career
Be grateful for your health.
People are literally dying to have what you have.
So let me ask you this… is your career your cure?
I hope that in sharing my story in the fight against chronic illness that you embrace your gifts of health and share a better understanding of the importance of gratitude and strength. If you are living in a career that drives you crazy each day, make the change. Life is too short and far too beautiful to be miserable.
I’m blessed to have an amazing care team and a career that I consider my cure… a distraction of fun and creativity where my mind can run wild while settling illness anxiety. The following treatments went extremely well and I have been accompanied by my mom who set up a knitting station in the corner of the room to keep me company and be my best advocate… because yes, even when you are a mom yourself, you still need your parents.
I’m certain I have guardian Angels and you are likely one of them as this community has been such a platform of strength and inspiration.
Is your career your cancer or you cure? Are you ready to take control and live a life of ultimate gratitude and fulfillment? What do you do to stay mindful, aware, and thankful?