Of course, I have known this truth for a long time, but I never really knew it until Hudson died. And the world grew so very dark. And we were surrounded and uplifted by so much love and light from literally all corners of the earth. And then Jackson was born. And the world grew brighter again. And all those corners of the world celebrated with us.
Today, life showed me once again how terribly cruel and terribly beautiful it can be.
This afternoon, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I discovered some swollen lymph nodes back in the beginning of February, and after getting them looked at and waiting them out and trying to treat them with antibiotics, I ultimately went for a CT scan last week and a biopsy today. The pathologist told me within minutes of looking at the slides that it appeared to be Hodgkin’s. They still have to do confirmatory tests, but it is all but certain that they will show what we already know, what I have been preparing myself for since I first felt the lump in my neck several weeks ago.
Life is cruel.
Last night, we went under contract on a house in Carrboro that we plan to renovate into our dream home, complete with a 1-acre yard for Easter egg hunts and hide-and-seek and maybe even an at-home wedding for one of our kids one day. Today, I have cancer. This morning, I swam a mile as part of my triathlon training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This afternoon, I became a lymphoma patient myself. The irony is almost surreal. I can still barely believe I am even writing these words right now.
There is still so much we don’t know. We suspect, and hope, for a variety of clinical reasons, that the cancer is still in a very early stage. Given that we are moving to North Carolina in a few weeks anyway, our plan is just to meet with an oncologist at UNC early next week and go from there. Hodgkin’s is very curable, even in advanced stages—cure rates are as high as 80-90% depending on the type and other factors. Despite my lack of faith in odds based on our experience with Hudson (the survival rate of her type of meningitis was also around 80-90%), I am obviously going to start from the proposition that I am going to be one of the lucky ones in that 80-90%. I am trying desperately not to even entertain an alternative. I am trying desperately not to think about all that this means for the rest of my life—whether I’ll be able to have more children, whether I’ll get to watch Jackson grow up, whether I’ll get to tend the garden I plan to plant for Hudson at our new home, whether I’ll get to spend many more decades with my dear Ed like I have planned and dreamed of doing.
No. I will not think about those things. Not today.
Because life is also beautiful.
Ed is unwavering in his love, his support, and his resolve that we will survive this. We. All of us. Will survive. He and Jackson and Hudson are my very reasons for being, and they are the most stunning, perfect, incredible reasons any person could ever ask for. I have amazing family and friends who will be there for us for whatever we need for as long as we need. I remain surrounded by love and light from all corners of the world (and thank you all for continuing to check in and read and think of us even during my long periods of silence). I have health insurance. I will get world-class treatment. I have a dream home just waiting to be uncovered and lived in and loved by us for many decades with our children who will grow up in it and forever return to it whenever they need an anchor. I swam a mile this morning. With cancer.
One Good Thing about this diagnosis is that I am reminded, once again, that in spite of the ridiculously rotten luck that just refuses to leave me alone, I am still astoundingly fortunate.
Life is both cruel and beautiful. I choose to focus on the beautiful. If there’s even a choice.