Reason to celebrate (No, really!)

Tulips in a vase

   Aren’t these gorgeous?

Last night a dear friend dropped by with these beautiful tulips. Initially, I thought she had brought them because I had been fawning over her three vases of fresh flowers the previous weekend. But then she congratulated me on my news for the day. Let me explain.

Since the millennium, when others were worried about clocks stopping, I was diagnosed with an ugly blood clot outside my liver that impairs its functioning. Hence the blood thinners and diuretics and two more of my daily medications. (Cancer is really the least of my worries.) Every year or two my devoted and adored liver specialist peeks inside me to make sure everything looks okay. Yesterday morning I underwent this long-scheduled procedure at the hospital.

You should know that I love going for this procedure. For someone who is chronically exhausted, there is nothing better than an excuse to sleep soundly for a good 15 minutes during the day, and the mild sedation ensures that. The sedation also helps me forget the inane things I say as I’m waking up afterward, like the time I told the doctor how handsome he was. (I was just stating a fact.)

But if you recall, a few weeks ago, I learned I was anemic. I hadn’t mentioned that my cancer team was worried I might have an infection. We were hoping yesterday’s procedure might provide some insight on the source of the bleed.

So when the doctor caught J. in the hall immediately following the procedure–I was still sleeping like a baby at the time–he said: “I’ve got great news!” He went on to tell J. that I had multiple stomach ulcers. ( I could post the pictures but I thought the tulips were much prettier.) And we all know that ulcers can bleed.

Now, why is that good news? Because there are a lot worse, and less easily treatable, reasons for blood loss. Most ulcers are a result of infection and are easily cleared with antibiotics. Within a week, I will know whether that is the case with mine. If I get anemic again once the ulcers are treated further investigation may be warranted, but most likely I’ll be fine. If the specialist thinks multiple ulcers are great news, why shouldn’t I?

As an aside, updated testing also revealed that those two pints of donated blood I was blessed with a few weeks ago have done their job. I may not yet have as many red blood cells as you, but I’m back to my usual below-normal range. Yes, everything is moving in the right direction.

My friend clearly understood that, even though the doctor revealed a problem, we had reason to celebrate. As she noted, she had never before congratulated someone for having ulcers. Now I have lovely tulips that will hopefully grace our counter for the week as I await further instruction. Everything is going to be fine.

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2 thoughts on “Reason to celebrate (No, really!)

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