Putting one foot in front of the other seems to be getting harder and harder each day. I stretch to ease the pain that is etched into my joints, but it gives no release. I look in the mirror and I can see the rings under my eyes. I quickly grab the concealer and cover them up so my children won’t see.
“Mommie, the bus is here!” yelled my 8 year-old daughter.
“O.k baby, have a great day and Mommie loves you” I yell as a sharp pain hits me in the top of my head.
“Cierra, walk your sister to the bus. I am in the bathroom,” I call to my oldest daughter.
“Mom are you alright?” Cierra calls on the other side of the door.
“I am fine. My stomach is a litte upset,” I say through clenched teeth.
“O.k, Mom. If you say so.”
I know my daughter sensed something was wrong because ever since she was a small child she could feel my pain anytime I got sick. So I don’t doubt she knew I was lying. Rinsing my mouth out from the vomit that just came up, I said a silent pray asking God to please heal my body from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. I still wasn’t quite sure what was wrong, but I did know that something wasn’t right. It seemed like my body was weighing me down. My head was hurting everyday with no relief and I noticed I was swelling in my hands and feet. As I came out of the bathroom, I came face to face with Cierra. She was sitting on my bed with a strange look on her face.
“Mom, you don’t look too good. Are you sure you are alright? Maybe you need to stay home from work today and rest. I can get Keisha to pick me up for school that way you don’t have to drop me off,” she with tears sparkling in her eyes.
“No, CeCe. I will be o.k Just go grab your bag.”
Even though the idea of staying home was tempting, I didn’t give it another thought because my bills are going to come rather I go to work or not. Plus, I have a family to take care of. Grabbing my purse and car keys, I headed to the garage and climbed into my car. I literally had to pull my legs in the car. I glanced over at Cierra and she just stared back at me. I turned on my radio and listened to The Steve Harvey Morning Show because it always picks up my spirit. Pulling up at my daughter’s school, I gave her a hug and told her not to worry about me because I’d be fine. But as I drove on the expressway my vision kept getting blurry, but I shook it off as being tired because actually I was really tired. As I pulled up at my job I saw my best friend Sandra.
Hi Sandra… wait up!” I yelled getting out of the car.
“Hey, girl! You don’t look so good. You’re not coming down with anything are you?” she asked, staring at the bags under my eyes.
“To be honest San, I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel really bad. However, I have to work so let’s go…” I said trying to laugh off the pain although my feet felt like they were going to break.
Sitting in my cubicle, I relaxed and took a deep breath. I got kind of scared because I struggled to take that breath. Yet, my day was going extremely well until I went to the break room to get something to drink. As I started coming around the corner I stumbled and grabbed the wall then everything went black. I yelled out for Sandra and that’s all I remember until I woke up at the hospital.
When I finally came to, a doctor was standing over me and Sandra was crying like I was dead or something.
“What happened?” I asked, scanning the hospital room, wondering why I was there. Dr. Bradshaw introduced himself and went on to tell me that I had collapsed and that they ran a series of tests on me.
“You have a tumor pressing on your frontal lobe and I’m waiting on your blood work to get back.”
“Sandra, did I just hear the doctor right? Did he say I have a brain tumor?” I asked through tears.
“Yes, Michelle,” she sobbed, “But please don’t worry. God is in control. You know that.”
“ I know, but…,” I mumbled. Then it hit me: “Where my children? Sandra where are my babies?? I asked, trying to raise up off the bed.
“Calm down, Michelle. The kids are with my mom.”
Lying back on the bed, I shook my head trying to get a grasp of what just happen. Sandra grabbed my hand as tears ran down her face. “Michelle, how long have you been having problems?”
“Sandra, I’m not sure it has been awhile, but I have been so busy taking care of the kids I thought it was just stress.”
“Michelle you should have said something, we could have got you seen before now.”
“ I know Sandra but I was, I actually said I was going to call them today,” I said as I looked down at my hands. Sandra embraced me and we hugged for what seem like forever. Dr. Bradshaw walked in as we were embracing.
“Well, ladies,” he said clearing his throat. I looked in his face to see if I could read what he was going to tell me. But being a doctor I couldn’t get a read on him.
“O.k , Dr. Bradshaw. Tell me what is going on,” I said trying to feel optimistic.
“Well, Ms. Anderson. Your test came back positive for Lupus.”
“What!” Sandra and I yelled in unison. We both knew the complications that come with Lupus and that it is a terminal disease.
“So how bad as it?” I asked.
“ Well, Ms.Anderson, you have two different types of Lupus: Systemic and Anticogulant. The latter causes your blood to clot so you are at risk of producing Blood Clots.
“Oh no! Why is this happening to me?” I asked looking at Dr. Bradshaw.
“Well Ms. Anderson this disease is treatable, but unfortunately the tumor needs to be removed as soon as possible.”
“So are you trying to tell me I have to have brain surgery?”
“Yes, that is exactly what I am saying, refusing to do the surgery will lead to you going blind.”
It was at that moment I broke down and cried like a baby. I will give you to a moment to think, but please don’t take too long.
“Sandra, I need to call my mom,” I cried, watching Dr. Bradshaw leave the room. Calling my mother was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I relayed the diagnosis through tears. My mother cried and encouraged me to go ahead with the surgery. She promised me that she’d be there in the morning. She also told me to thank God for his protection because it was his grace that has kept me this long. Sandra told the doctor that I was going to have the surgery and asked if he could schedule it for the morning. I called Cierra and told her what was happening. She cried, but promised me that she’d take care of her sister. She also told me that she loved me and that she’d see me tomorrow morning.
After Sandra left and I signed what seemed like one thousand forms, I was finally left alone with my thoughts.
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