The first time I faced leukemia I was so dumb I didn't even know what questions to ask. I was frightened, but it wasn't until after my treatments ended that I suffered post traumatic stress syndrome. I could see those cowardly panic attacks sneaking up on me out of the corner of my eye.
At my first relapse, I knew too much about the disease, and what I knew set off an internal flash fire, reducing me to a pile of ashes. I was going to go with the Lot's wife metaphor, but I hold with those who think the world will end in fire.
Three years of accumulated leukemia knowledge have made me realize how little I know about leukemia, or much else. I am strangely calm, and although I smell the fire, I'm not afraid of it. It's like a natural disaster that suddenly turns your world upside down. What can you do? If you're lucky, pick up the mess and go on.
I am clear-eyed and clear-headed. You might say, how brave. It's not courage though; it's training. I know the drill.
Tomorrow I have an appointment at 2:30 pm to have a port put in my arm. I will then be admitted into the hospital, and soon thereafter, the chemical weapon will be deployed. I'll use a portion of your love and support to wring leukemia's neck. The rest I will slowly sip like an ice-cold martini, infusing its power against the assault, storing it in my brain and heart for future strength.