The flu

I avoided it as long as I could, but I could not hold my own against one sneaky flu germ.  I thought I had protected myself well enough with hand sanitizer, soap and water, and hundreds of Lysol wipes. But, I am a victim of weeks of exposure to students who sneezed, coughed, and blew their noses all over my desk and even me personally.  The flu had found its mark.

Lisa at the doctor's office

Covering my nose because a couple of other patients brought the stench of Marlboro on their clothes.

I’d like to say that I handled my flu misery with grace and maturity, but the truth is, I was MAD about it!  I told my dear husband that if I were to die before he does, and he gives my eulogy, he can’t be that husband who says, “My dear wife suffered so much, but she never complained.”  No. He can’t honestly say that. I’ll give him some other ideas of things he can say –  in about 50 years.

It’s not complaining if it’s the truth.

I reminded him several times a day of how miserable I was, “Honey, have I mentioned lately just how pitiful I am? Do you feel sorry for me?  This is awful!  I hate it.  I AM drinking enough.”  That man had the nerve to tell me that I hadn’t complained this much when I was on chemo! The nerve! It’s not complaining, if it’s the truth. I made that up myself, but l believe it’s profound.

He drove me to the doctor on Saturday morning.  I had hoped to recover on my own – I’m not convinced of the virtues of Tamiflu, but I coughed so hard on Friday night that I was afraid I was losing chunks of my lungs. Lovely way to spend a Saturday morning – with all the other sick people, and mentally assessing what order we should all be seen in.

My diagnosis of myself included flu, pneumonia, and possibly strep throat.  The doctor’s diagnosis (after testing) was flu, not strep, and maybe pneumonia.  This is where is gets weird for a cancer survivor. She felt my neck and told me that I had swollen lymph nodes on the left side.  Well of course I flinched, and the first thing I thought was, “Oh no!  I have neck cancer!”  I immediately pulled back from her, and told her that I was a little freaked out by that. That sweet doctor apologized to me, and assured me that swollen lymph nodes are expected when one has the flu. Whew.  Ok.  Then she suggested a chest x-ray to look for possible pneumonia. I thought that was an excellent idea because what if I didn’t have pneumonia, or even the flu?  What if I had lung cancer?!  Oh, and my back hurts too!  Could it be bone cancer??

Hypocandriac – a cancer survivor who is abnormally anxious about her health (It’s not really a word, but it should be.)

Ok, so now you probably think I’m deranged, or at the least a hypochondriac, unless you have also had a medical close call – then you would understand my bizarre reasoning. Surviving cancer is a blessing, but that near death experience and the resulting treatments cause a loss of innocence in a way. Nothing is ever again “just a cough” or “a little out of breath” or a “cramp.”  It takes mental determination to put negative thoughts aside and realize that it could indeed be “just a cough” like everyone gets occasionally, and it’s going to be alright. There’s a balance between staying vigilant and aware of changes in your health, and obsessing over it.

Happy day!!!  I’ts just the flu!

By the way, my chest x-ray was clear, so the good news is that I don’t have pneumonia, or even lung cancer! It’s “just a cough” that goes along with the flu.  That’s a relief, but I’m still pitiful!

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