*Milky Way image courtesy of NOVA (PBS).
Six years ago today, at about 2:45 in the afternoon, I learned I had myeloma, which is an incurable bone marrow cancer. My amazing friend and doctor, Pat Hubbell, had been honing in on what was "wrong" with me, and she called to say that, from everything she saw, the diagnosis had just changed from "might be" cancer to "it looks definitely like" myeloma.
I was sitting in my law office when we talked. I remember watching with a sort of shocked detachment my hands shake as I hung up the phone.
My life changed irrevocably in one phone call. It has never been the same.
I've blogged some about how cancer changed my life and what it's like to live with one that will never go away. Just look at the labels on the right: "cancer" pops up 20 times (and that's just all the times I remembered to tag it).
I continue to be grateful and amazed for the support and care my friends and the community immediately, unhesitatingly, and freely gave me from that moment on, starting with Pat. Family, friends, and even strangers stepped forward, wrapped their arms around me, and never let go.
Six years ago today, I wasn't sure I would even make it to the first anniversary, let alone any more beyond that. It has been an amazing journey.
I just today started corresponding electronically with a young woman who just a few weeks ago received a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma, stage 2. We were connected through a mutual friend. In my reply to her initial email to me, I told her: You are at the start of a long journey, Loise. I'm here on the path too. We can travel it together.
Thank you to all of you who have kept me company on my own travels in Cancerland. Whether you dropped off a meal, sent me a note, gave me a hug, made me laugh, slipped me some money, commented in support on my blog, or even went so far as to marry me (thank you, dear Warren), you are the stars in the heavens overhead, lighting the path over which I still journey.