Rick told me about the slip but didn't make much of it. We were both experiencing the aches and pains that come with being over 40. Things don't heal as fast. The gray hairs keep coming and those little creases are called wrinkles.
A few days later, Rick was limping quite a bit. I even called him "Hop Along Cassidy." In a week, he was using crutches to walk and went to the urgent care facility where they took x-rays that were later lost. In another week, the man who was never sick, never missed work, had a 103 fever and was begging me to come home from work and take him to the doctor.
We went to the doctor who had just examined him the day before. The day before it was nothing; the day before they told him to rest and stay off the leg. Today, it was pneumonia and x-rays that finally showed up that revealed lesions in his femur and hip. Today was very serious with talk of oncologists, orthopedic surgeons and full body scans and appointments all over Northern Virginia. Today our life changed forever.
The funny thing about the appointment was they failed to mention "the C-word." They would leave that for someone else. Rick was in a lot of pain and of course, was reeling from all the commotion over his condition. We somehow managed to go to sleep that night.
The phone rang at 7:05 a.m. The nurse on the other end had an urgency and an edge in her voice. "The blood work has come back and you need to get your husband in here as soon as possible!" There is so much that can be read in tone. My anxiety went through the ceiling. I turned and looked at Rick and said, "They want you to come in right away. Something's wrong. Something's very wrong."
It was Valentine's Day that the Grim Reaper told us that it was bone cancer, multiple myeloma to be exact but only a bone marrow biopsy would confirm that. Rick's calcium levels were sky high. They needed to pump him full of IV fluids to help his kidneys which were almost failing. We spent more than 12 hours there and then went home with our hearts and our heads full of fear.