I spent several hours in the hospital yesterday. It wasn’t business; it was personal. Stomach and colon pain swallowed my life a little after noon. I could barely breathe, sit, lay down, or walk. Sweat rolled down my face and soaked my clothes. The strange part, I drove myself to the hospital. Afterward, I drove back home. I must be crazy.

Abdominal pain is a common symptom in emergency departments, and I could see clinicians’ eyes roll as if to say, “Another one.” Abdominal pain usually gets classified into one of three categories: visceral, parietal, and referred. The differentiation of these pains is critical for diagnosing abdominal pain. Referred pain is challenging to diagnose because it can occur in various locations due to various diseases. In my case, the eye roll evaporated when I informed the clinicians that I have Multiple Myeloma. When asked who would take me home, I responded, “Me, myself, and I.” Driving myself home was a ridiculous idea clinicians uniformly repeated.

As mentioned previously, I’m a private person. And I chose to make my illness as private as possible. It is so personal that I have not shared much with family members. When ill in my younger days, I was instructed to shut up, suck it up, and don’t tell people anything private.

All the while, appetite loss, weight loss, night sweats, joint pain, and back pain are my daily companions. Each goes everywhere with me, and I never leave home without them. An MRI showed a new mass near the spinal cord, probably cancer or at least a plasmacytoma. After a few hours of medication, I was up and off to home. I crashed at 9:30 and was up by 6:00 AM.

There are intuitive feelings that my time in this world is limited. I have become more open about cancer, though I have yet to tell my mother. I’ve never beaten around the bush and referred to cancer as the “C-Word”. I am clear, “It’s cancer,” or “I have Multiple Myeloma.” I follow this proclamation with, “So, what’s the ‘agenda’ for this meeting?” Everyone has their coping mechanism. Mine is probably not ideal, but it seems to work, and I don’t believe I give this disease any more power by internalizing it. I received a dosage of anti-nausea medication and some opioids, and I was ready to depart. I was wheeled out by an orderly. He asked, “Where’s your driver?” I smiled, “You’re looking at him.” Frowning for a bit, “Really? Are you sure? That’s crazy.”

This form of solitude isn’t for everyone. And watching the last few minutes of the Chicago Bears, I looked around my apartment and realized that I could not accomplish everything. Post-life, people will have to clean up after me. There will be bills to pay and life insurance collection, far too many unreconcilable sins, and far too many people I hurt that I will be unable to receive personal forgiveness.

In the early morning hours, I experienced a moment of consciousness. A subtle voice, “There is no need to seek forgiveness, for you are forgiven.” And a little while later, “There is no need to seek redemption; for you are redeemed.” A sense of peace embraced me.

And that’s God’s message for everyone. You are forgiveable. You are redeemable. And that is not crazy.