A couple of times a year, I get a call from my hematologist’s office. The friendly researcher asks the same set of questions:
Any new pain or swelling in either leg?
Any trouble with breathing or chest pain?
Have you had any testing done during the past six months to check for blood clots?
Yesterday, as I cheerfully answered every question in the negative, it dawned on me that it was eight years to the day since I was admitted to hospital with what turned out to be DVT and a pulmonary embolism.
While eight years of living with chronic pain/discomfort and the knowledge that there is this hostile thing in your body just lurking around, making it hard to walk and impossible to run while it apparently waits for another opportunity to try and kill you is not something I would wish on anyone else, it does give you a certain amount of perspective.
Because while it’s eight years since the most terrifying and painful experience of my life, it’s also eight years since I was really, really lucky.
Eight years, and (knock on wood) I get to answer no to all of the hematologist’s questions.
And maybe, most importantly, eight years of no matter what is going on in my life at the time, being able to look back at that day and say to myself:
You’ve survived worse. You’ll survive this too.