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Bloody Update

I got an unexpected phone call at work today. A nurse from Blue Cross, Blue Shield (the insurance company) called. She said, "Oh, hello. I didn't realize this was your work number. Sorry. Usually we try to call people at home."

I said, "No problem. How can I help you?" Inside, I suddenly panicked. I was afraid she'd say, "We're sorry but you're condition is too weird. You don't get coverage anymore." Or, "The IVIG treatments are no longer going to be covered." My heart raced.

Instead, she said, "I'm a nurse who works for Blue Cross, Blue Shield. We periodically call our clients who have the most severe medical conditions to make sure they have the resources they need to deal with their situation."

"That's nice," I said, "I'm doing just fine. Thank you for asking."

Inside, I was thinking about how much I disliked being labeled in some insurance company's computer system as having a "severe medical condition." I wanted to say, "Oh, actually, I'm totally normal; something in your files must be wrong."

Instead, I did decide to share, "I'm really a very healthy person except for this little problem with my blood."

She said, "Yes, I see you have ITP. And you're having IVIG on a regular basis. How is that going for you?"

"It's going well. I wouldn't say it's my "favorite thing" about life but it isn't so bad. I'm adapting. And I definitely have a new compassion for people who have to have various treatments and infusions."

We chatted for about 10 minutes. She said"Well, it really sounds like you have it all together. You've learned a lot of lessons in your young life."

"Thank you," I said. "It isn't what I wanted or expected. But it's okay. It really is okay. And I'm going to be cured pretty soon. I am going to be in remission for a long time, maybe for forever."

We said our goodbyes. It was a friendly call. And it reminded me how far I've come this year. I remember the week after I was diagnosed, my friend was over. I should've been hanging out with my friend, but instead I was obsessing about everything I ate and drank and brainstorming ways to cure myself. I was going through my refrigerator and throwing everything away. "I hate it all. I hate this food. I hate my blood. I hate my garden!" I remember crumbling into a sobbing mess on the floor. I remember looking at my bruises and wanting to peel my skin off and start over. "Why is this happening?" I cried. And I cried and cried and cried.

And now, when I reflect on that moment, I still cry.

I have a blood test tomorrow morning. I've been trying a handful of new vitamins and supplements lately. They are probably working. I think tomorrow my real nurse from Mayo, Linda, is going to call with great news. I think she's going to say, "Your platelet count is looking great, Emily. It looks like you're in remission!"

And if not, it WILL be okay. I'll just have a treatment and hang out with my friends at the Infusion Therapy Center. The world will keep spinning.

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