That was one wicked virus that hit me on Sunday. I ran a fever and was pretty much down flat for two days. That's not long, I know. But I always think of myself as having such great immunity, so two days of aches and congestion seemed hard to bear. I took stupid Dayquil, which did nothing for me. Last night I took two ibuprofen before bed. Slept well, and sometime in the middle of the night the fever broke and I awoke feeling so much better. Today I will finally be able to get back to my normal routine.
When I'm sick, I try to remember what it must be like for a friend of mine who has been living with stage 4 cancer for six years. Yes, that's right, he has beat the odds in longevity. But he has paid a terrible toll in the ravages both the treatments and the disease have had on his body. He is a young husband and father of two children. An amazingly strong, articulate and humorous person, he has devoted these years to not only documenting his experiences, but also speaking openly and honestly about it and about facing death. He writes profound poetry and prose, sometimes ethereal and sometimes brutally real describing the suffering, pain and emotion he feels. He provides much help and support for other patients. Regularly organizes large events to entertain hospitalized patients bringing treats and hilarious costumed friends. He has participated in various runs and athletic competitions, even right after chemo treatments. He is a much sought after public speaker. He recently told us new tumors had formed and were not responding to treatment. There is little chance he will survive this episode more than a few months, and he and his family are preparing.
I thought about my friend while I was sick and wondered how it would be to suffer like that day in and day out for the majority of the time over a period of years. It puts my own little cold and fever in perspective. I tried not to whine. Not even to myself. And when I felt that great relief after the fever broke, I again remembered my friend, and thousands of others, who never get that relief. They learn to live with suffering.
I am lucky, I know. And grateful. And I'm glad to be feeling much, much better.