Lymph Soup

Christmas Eve brought a surprise doorbell ring in the middle of our advent candle songs, and we got this:

IMG_7093We don’t know who brought it, but it was amazing, and we are still thinking and praying and talking about how to spend it well or what to save it for, but we wanted to say thank you.

It is extra special good timing, as I have been very sick this week and in great pain. The money may help with some of my treatments.  My insurance will pay for the doctors, and my flex card cover actual medicines, but this will help with additional treatments or supplies not covered.  We are so grateful, thank you.

My lymph nodes are swollen, huge like rocks, and it is very painful so much that on Christmas morning I actually could not even move much and had to just sit in my sick chair and watch.  I am grateful so many loved ones were here to help, and I don’t think the kids noticed anything.  But I could not move for the last three days, and it has been really hard and scary.

My cell counts are off, but they don’t know if it is because something is wrong somewhere or just because I have this head cold, or if the head cold and respiratory problems are because of the lymph nodes.  They really want to do an MRI, but we cannot because of my cochlear implants.  Sigh.

For now, my team has put me on ACV, which turns out is the hip name for shots of apple cider vinegar, and also twice daily massages – which I like much better than the the ACV – to try and get my lymph nodes unblocked.  It may just be they are having problems because some were removed in my surgery, and so my system isn’t working as well trying to move infection through.  That’s way better news than more cancer, but it’s still scary because I won’t get better if my body can’t beat a little infection.

So I got a blessing, and am Nathan is massaging my arms and legs trying to keep my lymphatic system online, and I am taking shots of ACV, which is nasty, and the most burn I have swallowed since getting baptized, and leaves my teeth set on edge and my jaw tight.  It’s terrible.

The good news is that if that’s what is causing the pain and the swelling, then it will go away with this extra help and as my infection clears up.

The bad news is that if that’s what is causing the pain and the swelling, then that means it will happen every time I get even a small cold.

That is really frustrating.  And daunting.  And oppressive.

It makes me want to cry, because the pain is so terrible, and cancer is such a long term thing.

Except cranky lymph nodes, even if super painful, is better than cancer (even if because of it).

All this is also consistent with my blessing, which continued to promise complete healing, but with ongoing pain and related medical struggles.

So there you go: my assigned path is not an easy one, but we knew that already.

I also know that it is exactly right for me, as the two life lessons I struggle with most continue to be pacing myself and asking for help, and these seem to be the two lessons cancer is determined to teach me.

I am trying, I promise.

And Nathan is a saint.  Today he packed up Jessica to take her home, and carried boxes for me as I gathered the belongings of Three and Sister, who leave soon.  He massaged my arms and legs and hands and feet even though he has his own violin-hand-pain, and he made me soup and a sandwich.  He somehow got his work finished, and helped me, reminding me that I need to rest while I have days off work anyway.  So that’s another thing we are thankful for, that this relapse happened while I was already off work, and also the piece about having so much help pulling off the holidays for the children.  I am so, so grateful.

And I do feel some better since the blessing.  I can walk again, though I am still limping a bit and very slow, and the swelling is down in my neck and under my arms, leaving just two really bad spots left to keep healing up.

And I can breathe through my nose, momentarily.

And I got soup from my husband, and life doesn’t get better than that, right?

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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