Blessings in disguise

When Jake and I were driving home after he withdrew from college, he was lamenting, why couldn’t this have happened when I was a freshman in high school? I didn’t disagree. The few documented cases like Jake had leukemia in their 30’s. I was so thankful he wasn’t older- with a family, kids, career, a mortgage… That was a blessing in disguise. It took me a minute, but then I had an answer. “Jake, the NK deficiency wasn’t even diagnosed until 2012. If you would have had leukemia earlier, they would have gotten you into remission, and we would have been happy for awhile, but the leukemia would have returned. It probably would have been a different, harder to treat kind. They wouldn’t have known that your only chance for a cure was a bone marrow transplant. Today I was thinking about the long holiday back when he was being treated for the leukemia. Everything took longer. We didn’t know Molly was his perfect match until the day before the bone marrow registries. I worried that people would think the Be The Match drives were a waste of time. They were careful to let us know that the registry was in honor of Jake, but it was likely they wouldn’t produce his match. I hoped the participants understood. The morning we received our wonderful news, my friend stopped by. She too was in the middle of a mysterious illness that had plagued her since elementary school. It would be months, but she would eventually be diagnosed with Lupus. When my dad also showed up, I asked him if he minded me riding home with my friend so I could shower. We left, and she wanted to take me out to lunch. We settled in at the bar of her favorite Italian restaurant with a waiter she seemed to know. We visited. We were almost giddy. She told the waiter a little of my story. He seemed surprised that I seemed so happy. “Yes! There’s a lot more to the story. Do you want the short version, or shall I go back to the first grade?” We were the only ones there so I had plenty of time.  I looked at my friend. “We have an announcement we are going to make at the Be the Match drive tomorrow night. We just found out Molly is his perfect match!”  I looked back at the waiter. “So you see, leukemia was a ‘Blessing in Disguise’. Jake has a chance to be cured of everything. He will have a whole new immune system!” We all agreed it was cause for celebration. At that time, I was oblivious to all the things that could have gone wrong. I’m thankful I did not know. I only had hope. There were many times that people expressed sympathy for Jake’s cancer, and many times I explained how the leukemia was a Blessing in Disguise…

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