I remember the conversation I had with my big sister Barb, sometime in 2017. She was telling me about her upcoming hip replacement surgery and making me laugh by mocking the voice of the medical assistant who called to give her a list of dos and don’ts pre-surgery.
In a high-pitched nasal twang achieved, I’m sure, by pinching her nostrils shut, and even imagining how dumb she looked doing that made me know I was about to crack up laughing, she related what the medical assistant had said.
“Now, you can’t have any foods after midnight but you can drink some waaaaater up to two hours prior to surgery,” my sister twanged, drawing out the “a” in water ever so nasally. So many conversations with her resulted in belly aches and sore facial muscles from laughing.
“Oh, yeah and I also have CLL,” she said casually. “It’s some kind of leukemia or something.”
After battling breast cancer that turned out to be secondary to previously-undiagnosed lymphoma into whimpering remission, my sister liked to brag, usually in funny accents, that she held the title belt in made-up championships like the “2017 Remission Rumble,” or the “Worldwide Cancer-Kickin’ Showdown Rodeo” and other such nonsense.
I loved the mental pictures I conjured up, though: My sister in sparkly tights and a Lucha Libre wrestling mask, throwing herself against the ropes to rebound, hitting cancer with a chokeslam and a quick trip to the canvas. My sister, hair teased into fluffy poufs and hairsprayed crispy, holding cancer in a figure-four-leg-lock, followed by a scorpion deathlock, a lightning-quick Boston crab and a match-ending vertical suplex.
Yeah, my imagination is kind-of out there, but she started it, not me.
After we hung up, it was Google time. I knew nothing about “some kind of leukemia or something,” and she appeared to know less and to be very unconcerned about it.
I opened my notes app and got to learning.
I learned CLL stands for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, a rare type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It’s not nothing, but it’s a slow-progressing cancer that develops in the white blood cells. It generally is symptomless for years and is frequently diagnosed by accident, when blood work is done for other medical reasons.
Which is how I found out I have it, too.
Sigh. Back to Google, I have some learning to do.
Patti is Editor of the Greene County Daily World. She loves to laugh and also loves kitties and wishes they could laugh, too. Wouldn’t that be fun? She’s kind of weird (you may have noticed,) but has a heart of gold (probably gold-plated). She wonders if anybody actually reads the stuff down here or if they are tired of reading her baloney much earlier than this. Hmm. Maybe she doesn’t actually want to know...If you would like to share a story, give away some cookies (Hi, Barb!) or just make a friend, she can be reached at email@example.com.