Thanks, I'm Healing!

It took me over 25 minutes to land my first Ling Cod. His giant monster face became visible in the cold murky water, his mouth gaped open in exhaustion, reflecting my personal fatigue.  My son hooked the Ling Cod in the side as we landed our first deep sea fish.  
That was the last moment I felt even a glimmer of who I had known as my body to be.  
Fatigue set in, mild fevers strained my body, I fell asleep every moment I could, I began typing backwards, then I noticed it hurt to breathe.  In the Urgent Care examine room I joked with the nurse.  In the lab I smiled as the vampire concerned herself with afixing the labels correctly on the multiple blood vials.  During the x-ray, I thought next year is 40, that means a mammogram.  Waiting for the results was faster than expected, the doctor informed me that the x-ray showed something.  The CT was ordered and completed.  The doctor teared up as he handed me the card referring to Onocology.  He asked if somebody could pick me up, I called my brother.
My mom was next to get called, followed by the call to the babysitter (I was going to be late).   
Two days later, July 18th, I was told I would have a series of seven different procedure to see what was going on. 
The doctor asked a series of questions: "Do you smoke?" -"No, never have."
"Do you drink?"
-"At most one glass of red wine a month. I eat organinc. In the past I was vegetarian, currently I eat organic meat.  I even know the farmer who raises the beef I eat. I exercise regularly.  I sail on the weekends.  I am really healthy."
"Do you have kids?"
-"Yes, two. A son he is 13 and a daughter she is 4 and a half."
"Who do you live with?"
-"My kids and I are on summer vacation, we bought a trailer and are camping.  I just got prequalified to buy a home."
 "It is just you and the kids? You are camping?"
-"Well, yes! I did not want to rent a place for less than six months. Besides it saves money."
"I am going to put six months on your disability paperwork."
I froze, denial set in, "We don't even know what I have, yet. I mean, I can still work until we at least know, right?"
 "You are going to be very busy with different procedures. I will put one month, then we can adjust the dates as needed."
That was four months and two weeks ago.  That was before I was given three amazing scars.  That was before all of my hair fell out.  That was when I was able to sail boats, cook food for my family, read stories to my children.  That was when I could follow conversations. That was when I had a job, private insurance, a prequalifing letter to buy a home.  That was when I had a savings account (for the house).  That was when I could dance, swim, and be awake.  That was when my dreams could come true every day.
Now, I arrive at the infusion center to talk to the doctor, have my blood screened to see if I am strong enough for a modified round of chemotherapy.  If I am well enough, I come back the following day to fill my body with ABVD chemotherapy and other pre medications.  On the third day, I sit down to have injections which will force my bone marrow into making new blood.  Then I rest, completely dependent on my mother and brothers for every aspect of my life.
The disability papers have been adjusted, they now read Hodgkin's Lymphoma resulting in my disability.  The projected date of remission is March 16th, 2015.
My disability pay was denied, due to in 2013, I completed a Master's degree and did not work.  I gragduated in January 2014, I was hired as a Early Start Service Coordinator in March 2014.  I have appealed the denial and was awared disability pay beginning October 1, 2014. I am thankful I had saving to carry us. 
My medical insurance went until the end of my job.  I did not qualify for Covered California because the income I had qualified me for Medi-Cal.  I don't qualify for Medi-cal because I have too many assests.  I own a home (which due to relocating for a job, I rent out).  I have a trailer (the one we are living in).  I also have a retirement package.  I have been advised to sell all of my assests and live off of the money generated by this. I do not want to jeopardize my future plans and goals by selling all I have worked hard for.  Especially when I can return to work in March, 2015.
Chemotherapy has demanded that I shed so much of who I thought I was; I do not want to have it take my future away from me as well.

Since that deep sea fishing trip, I snuck out on a whale watching trip, it was amazing to experience the pleasure they share in eating and being.  During this trip we followed hundreds of common dolphins and delighted at the organized fishing the sea lions did with the whales.  I am amzed at the beauty life holds for all of us and at the gifts we are given if we are open to receive. 

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Cerelia Barbato 
Santa Cruz, CA
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