So I decided that I wanted something really heart felt, especially since I am just about wrapping up Re-Hitched and I had this idea twirling in my head for a while. So after some research (yes, I actually did some research for this story, shocking isn't it?) I decided to post this story...It's different from my other stories so…enjoy.
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Lessons of the Heart
By Nollie Marie
At first, I thought I was just getting a little cold. I had a slight fever for a few days and have been having some chills and night sweats for awhile. I wasn't sleeping well and I had a headache, probably from the lack of sleep I was getting. It took a lot of energy just to get up in the morning and go to school. My father just thought that I was being a normal teenager and hated going to school. Sure I hated school, but it was because I already knew the lectures, being way more advanced than all the others in the classroom—teachers excluded. I wasn't really eating a lot, and sometimes the thought of food made me want to run to the bathroom…or the sink, considering I wasn't entirely sure if I could run upstairs at with the fatigue that I had was having. And since I wasn't really eating, I was losing a lot of weight, looking thinner than ever.
Finally, after about three weeks of this "cold" not going away, I decided to go to see a doctor. The only doctor in town was Dr. Carter. He was an elderly guy, who had probably seen every Forks resident since the early 1950s, so he wasn't entirely a stranger to me as I wasn't a stranger to him either. I had on many occasions had to visit Dr. Carter since I was born, mostly because of me being clumsy and hurting myself frequently. Would you be surprised if I said I had my own seat in the waiting room? Well, I do, since Mrs. Carter, Dr. Carter's wife, had decided to label one of the plastic chairs I always occupied.
There wasn't anyone in Dr. Carter's waiting room the day I decided to visit the doctor, so I didn't have to wait very long to see the good doctor. He took vital signs: my weight, temperature, pulse, and counted the breaths I breathed, which were shallow and slow. I told him that I had been sick for awhile when he asked me why I was there.
"Hmm," he said, and continued to ask me questions as he went to start a physical.
He palpated my lymph nodes at arm pits and frowned slightly. He continued the physical, palpating my stomach. I flinched at some of the pain I felt when Dr. Carter raised my leg and bent the knee.
"Pain?" he asked.
"Sort of," I said.
"Hmm," he said before he rolled up my jean legging. "Bella, where did you get these bruises?"
I raised my head slightly and saw that there were a few bruises on my leg. It was fairly common for me to have bruises since I was clumsy, but normally I would remember getting them.
"I don't know," I said. "I have always had bruises, Doc. You know me, can't walk across a flat surface without making contact with it outside my shoes."
"Hmm," went the doctor. Did I forget to mention that Dr. Carter was a man of many little words? And that he liked to go "hmm" when he was thinking? Yeah, after awhile the "hmms" do get on people's nerves.
He continued the physical before sitting back down on the swivel chair.
"So, doc, can you tell me what's up?"
"No," he said, writing quickly within my file. "Bella, I'm going to ask that you have some blood work done."
I groaned. Dr. Carter looked up from writing, a sad smile playing around his lips.
"I know that you say you pass out at the smell of blood, but you need these tests done, Bella," he said. "Just bring clothes pins or something when you get the blood work done so you won't have to smell your blood."
Needless to say, I still managed to pass out when Mrs. Carter did my blood work the following day. A week later, with my aching, mild fever, and all the other signs and symptoms remaining, I got a call from Dr. Carter to come into his office…and to bring my father.
I was nervous about what Dr. Carter found in my blood that he had me bring my busy father in with me. I was sitting on the exam table, the paper sheet crinkling under my butt when Dr. Carter came in with my file.
He took my vitals again before saying as he sat down in the swivel chair before me.
"Bella, I had your father come in today because we received your blood results, and since you are still a minor," Dr. Carter said.
"Doc, can we get on with this?" Charlie said. He had other things to worry about, it seemed. "Bella has been coming to you on her own since she was able to drive, so what am I needed here for?"
"It seems Bella has a high level of white blood cells," Dr. Carter said.
I sat up straighter.
"That means I'm sick, right?" I said. "I'm taking biology and I know that white blood cells are needed to fight an infection."
"Yes, Bella, their main purpose is to fight off foreign bodies in you, only…there is nothing else within your blood work that suggested that you have an infection which would cause your white blood cells to be so high and the low amount of platelets and red blood cells."
I felt a chill go through my body.
"Doc, are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?" Charlie said, leaning off the wall.
"Wait, what is he suggesting, Dad?" I said, looking at Charlie.
"Bella," Dr. Carter said. I looked at him. "I'm afraid that you may have…well, that you may have leukemia, Bella."
I felt my entire world pull to a slow, agonizing stop.
"I want to run one more test just to be 100 percent positive of my diagnoses, but the results may turn up the same," Dr. Carter said to me before turning to my father. "Mr. Swan, you'll need to bring Bella to Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center as soon as you can. They'll be able to give the final diagnoses and start the treatment for Bella."
Leukemia? My mind wasn't processing it as Dr. Carter told Charlie that he was forwarding my entire file to the oncology physician at the cancer center in Seattle.
Cancer? Oh God! I was only seventeen! I was supposed to go to college in a year! I was supposed to…supposed to…
"Thank you, Dr. Carter," Charlie said, shaking hands with the doctor I knew all my life.
"I'm so sorry," Dr. Carter whispered.
I slowly got off the table, shaky on my weak knees.
"Good luck, Bella," Dr. Carter said, giving me a smile that was as weak as my knees.
I nodded and headed out to the cruiser. As soon as I was in the front seat, Charlie started making plans right away. The he was going to bring me to the cancer center Dr. Carter told us about and that he needed to call my mother.
But my mind was still focused on one thing: I was dying from cancer.
- . - . - . - . - A week later - . - . - . - . -
I felt so alone here in Seattle. My father was of course here, but I felt so…I wasn't entirely sure. The fact that I had cancer still hadn't sunk in. Maybe that was why I was feeling so strange, like everything was a horrible dream. The nurse, Jennifer, was a nice lady, showing me, Charlie and Renee—my mother—around the Center.
My mother was a trooper, constantly telling me whenever she got the chance that I was going to fight this cancer, but I could tell that it was taking a toll on her normally happy, childish demeanor. My father was as emotionless as he always was so I couldn't tell what he was thinking.
We had just rounded the corner of their leukemia section when I got to meet physician, Dr. Julia Harper. She was smiling when she greeted me by first name. She started with an introduction of what she specialized in, which was pediatric oncology and hematology. After giving some background, Dr. Harper started to tell Charlie, Renee and I about the treatments I was to go through. It all started with biopsy of my bone marrow from my hip bone to help diagnose each type of leukemia I had, and then the start my chemotherapy sessions. If the chemotherapy didn't work, there were other treatments of which included bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants. Normally they do the stem cell transplant as a last resort if the cancer didn't go into remission.
"Any questions?" Dr. Harper asked.
"Where am I going to be staying?" I asked bluntly. "There aren't really rooms here."
"Considering that your defense system is going to be basically stripped, we can't have you exposed to viruses and germs, so we have special rooms here at the center for the few times we do chemotherapy. A few days afterward, we'll transport you to the local hospital where you'll be staying in a sterile environment," Dr. Harper said. "If your cancer goes into remission and we say that your immune system is able to defend yourself, then you can go home."
I frowned at the part of having to stay at the hospital. I hated hospitals.
"Oh, Bella, we'll decorate your room so that it doesn't look like a hospital," Renee said, being optimistic as always.
"Yeah, sure," I said, doubting that even with my mother's touches the hospital room would always remain looking like a hospital room instead of my bed room.
Dr. Harper was about to say something when there was a loud "HEY, DOCTOR H!" yelled from behind us.
I turned to see a girl smiling and waving as she ran towards us.
"Mary Alice Brandon, what are you doing here?" Dr. Harper said, smiling as she welcomed the new girl with a hug.
I raised an eyebrow as I looked around. The nurse, Jennifer, was smiling at the two hugging people, while my parents were looking thoughtful.
"I'm doing one of my charity tours of local hospitals, and I decided to stop by and see my godmother," the girl said.
"Alice, I want you to meet my new patient, Bella Swan," Dr. Harper said, looking at me. "Bella, I want you to meet my god-daughter, Alice. You'll see her around a lot here."
"Hi," I said.
The girl smiled. "Hi Bella," she greeted me before saying, "I have a feeling we're going to be good friends."
Right, I thought. Meanwhile, I had no idea what I was feeling. My life was suddenly upside down and I had no idea what to do.
I'm really looking forward to writing this story. This story isn't at all like my other stories. I'm doing as much research as I can on leukemia. I don't want to make light of the disease, so the more the research, the better. Anyway tell me what you think of what you've read so far. And trust me, this story is going to be a really heart-felt story which I think I'm long over due on.
PS- Special thanks to Project Team Beta for editing this. I owe them a dozen cookies or so. :)