I am off to the NIH tomorrow! A group of doctors studying virology, chronic-active EBV, and the genetic defects associated with prolonged infections, have accepted my case. My dad will take me to my appointment on Monday at their facility outside of DC. This could be the first time in nearly eighteen months of illness when I won’t be told we have not seen this before. It’s a tremendous opportunity. Truthfully, I’m feeling surprisingly numb to the whole situation. Maybe I am avoiding the anxiety of imagining an actual cure. Maybe I am protecting myself from the depression that might follow if this is another dead-end. Still, I have moments where I am exploding with hopefulness! I am anything but cool.
On Thursday I turned twenty-seven. My birthday was an ordinary day. I felt pretty ill so I just took it easy and tried (with reasonable success) to keep away from that irksome self-reflection and life-progress type of thinking. I moved a chair under the window where I used to keep it, so that I can kick back to some music and watch the clouds and trees. I went for a short walk and accidentally stopped to rest on a fire-ant mound, which was a new experience. The ants swarmed my sneakers and socks. Before I realized what was happening and managed to strip down to bare feet, the little monsters got in about fifteen bites, which remain surprisingly swollen and itchy. Mega mutant fire ants. My lovely Grandma Anne sent me a crystal angel ornament, which I hung in the window so that it catches the morning light and casts rainbows across the walls. Heard on the radio that Nelson Mandela died. My dad took me to an early dinner at a restaurant down the street. We sat outside (yes, it is still summer here) where we could watch the commotion of downtown. The park across the street from the restaurant is decorated for the holidays, with colorful lights dripping from the wide canopies of oaks and banyans. Towering palm trees line the sidewalk, and strings of white lights wrap their trunks like barbershop poles.
Maybe the end of all of this is just around the corner, right? Remember: anything is possible! I should probably just pray for grace and a sense of humor along the way. Eeeeeeeeeep! Emily Dickinson writes, Hope is the thing with feathers- that perches in the soul- and sings the tune without the words- and never stop- at all.