The following is the 40th poem in Valley of Blue Hope: Poems Before and After Diagnosis of Cancer. https://www.createspace.com/4598960
On July 1, 2013, my wife found me feverish and chilled in the sun on our deck couch. She had me climb into our car, and she drove me to Urgent Care at the hospital. Urgent Care sent me to the emergency room, for a cat scan and other tests. I was then hospitalized and eventually diagnosed with a blood disorder called myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative syndrome.
In early September, with our son-in-law’s help Joan and I flew to St. Louis, where were we lived with our eldest daughter and her husband and I entered the Siteman Cancer Treatment Center for a second opinion. The diagnosis was confirmed but the doctors found that what was initially thought to be pneumonia was a serious infection called empyema. Tubes were inserted into my swollen spleen and my pleural space to drain the pus. Then the infection was treated for several months with an antibiotic administered through an infusion pump. The empyema complicated the treatment of my blood disorder. For months, all through my various treatments my eldest daughter, a certified dietetic technician, was an uncomplaining soldier driving me to and from appointments at the Barnes Jewish Hospital in which the Siteman Cancer Treatment Center was housed and making sure I maintained my nutrition.
It happens to the best and worst of us.
Not in my darkest dreams did I foresee
calling myself: emaciated, gaunt, shriveled,
wizened and wasted. I’ve lost thirty pounds
and at a weight my daughter calls healthy,
where I should have been all along. I don’t feel
reassured or healthy, but push my walker
along the gravel and watch sparrows among
fall leaves, hunkering their small bodies down,
yet alive, for the incoming weather. One more
block to go before the flakes appear, before I
see God again, then another, and another,
for my long journey home.