My dad, Alan, was expected to die of metastatic melanoma in 2002-3. All signs pointed to it. Everyone else in the trial he participated in at Sloan-Kettering in NYC passed away. Today he turns 72 and is healthier than me, though we may be equally stiff.
It’s possible that the trial, which followed a horrendous round of Interferon, helped his immune system repair itself. I also like to think that the fates and furies granted us a pass. My mom, Eve, lost her life to breast cancer when I was a teenager; was I to be a parentless only child at 23? Gratefully, no.
A few years ago when I was in the throes of pelvic pain (pre-hysterectomy and fibro), after so many years of healthy checkups, Alan had an extreme health scare. The worry was nauseating, kept me up at night, and sent me into a tailspin of grief for both of my parents. It also gave me adrenaline. During the week that we waited for his life or death test results, I had so much adrenaline surging that I felt little to no pelvic pain. His test came back OK. My pain returned.
A few weeks ago our family of four was knocked down like dominoes with a stomach virus and fever. Lack of sleep is my biggest fibro trigger but the adrenaline of my daughters and husband needing my care, even though I was barely recovered, once again helped me through. I’m still “catching up” on rest (ha, as if fibro fatigue allows that!), but didn’t experience a drop of neck or right wrist pain during that time.
Pain. The brain. Pain in the brain. It’s the 9th Wonder of the World. Maybe, like Alan being the only survivor of his melanoma drug trial, it’s never meant to be understood in full. Happy Birthday, Dad. Let’s keep growing old together.